Our Parenting Style and How to Find Yours

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Before we become parents, we all have ideas about the type of parents we’ll be. I thought of my parenting style as being gentle, loving, patient, and always willing to listen to my perfect little angel child… Sorry, give me a minute to finish laughing hysterically!

Our parenting style evolves after we actually have the kids, of course! We realize it’s hard to be as patient, fair, and gentle as we had imagined. It’s difficult to find a way of parenting your kids that is intentional instead of reactionary, and that aligns with your values! Read about how my parenting style has changed as Emma and I have grown, and how to find your own that you can feel good about!

Parenting Emma as a Baby

I felt a pull to attachment parenting when I was pregnant – babywearing and breastfeeding were already things I planned to do, and attachment parenting fit perfectly! And it worked great when Emma was a tiny baby, since it was such a natural match.

But when Emma was 10 months old I realized I was ready to stop breastfeeding. The attachment parenting belief of feeding on Emma’s schedule meant I was getting burnt out. Especially as she became more mobile and adventurous! No longer was I nursing a sweet, sleepy baby, but a wiggly, kicking, wild near-toddler. I was ready to be done, and I felt so much guilt because stopping ‘early’ didn’t line up with that attachment parenting style that I had chosen!

It was time for a parenting style update!

Now that Emma was closer to a toddler, I felt like it was time for my needs to become important again. I had spent almost a year giving of my time, energy, and body and I was so worn out. Stopping nursing was the starting point into her sleeping in her own bed (well, sometimes), playing by herself more, not napping on my lap, and venturing out into independence. I believe that it was the right time for us to have stopped, and my increased energy and patience proved it!

Our Current Parenting Style

Today, my parenting style still leans toward relaxed and child-led. That shows itself in letting her make choices about what she’ll play, letting her make mistakes and messes (and learn to clean them up!), and not worrying too much about screen time. But she also knows that Mommy has needs too, like privacy in the bathroom, or some peace and quiet to work on my blog!

Of course, my parenting style is not perfect. I still find myself slipping and snapping at her because it’s easy and I will get immediate results. But I try to keep the balance equal between her long-term needs and my own: spending energy by staying calm when dealing with Emma, and getting energy back by setting firm boundaries that protect my alone time and sanity!

A parenting style is important because it aligns your values with your actions. That’s so important because your kids can see how your values actually play out in the real world! Some of my values that factor into my parenting style are:
– her issues are real (to her) so they should matter to me,
– try to think long term rather than short term,
– be an example when it comes to conflict and emotional well-being,
– be reasonable and flexible.

How to Find Your Parenting Style

I made a worksheet for you to help you work out your own parenting style! Head over to my Resource Library and get signed up to access it.

Find Your Values for Stability

Like I wrote above, a parenting style is a way of acting out your values in a way that will affect your kids’ lives! It also gives you and your kids predictability and stability. If you react a similar way every time, they know what to expect and can learn from that. When Emma is acting up, I often find myself asking her, “What do you think I’m going to say right now?” And more often than not, she knows the answer! That’s way less work for me! And she is forming strong connections in her little noggin as she repeats the same phrases and answers her own questions.

Have a Foundation

Identifying your parenting values can help you build a parenting style that grows with your child, even when their issues start to get more complicated! Of course, I only have a three-year-old, but this has already held true. Thinking long-term instead of short-term (one of my values listed above!) helped me overcome my discomfort with putting Emma on laxatives when we were going through poop withholding.

As Emma gets older, up to the middle and high school years, I will have these parenting values to come back to when even more complex issues show up. I have a feeling I’ll be using ‘be reasonable’ quite often!

Be Open to Change

Don’t be afraid to let your parenting style evolve as you and your kids grow! You may realize that something that worked is no longer doing the trick. There’s no shame in trying something new! And you can save yourself so much time and energy if you let go of stubbornness! (Can you guess that I’m speaking from experience here?!)

I used to send her to sit on her bed as our version of time out. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment and kept the toys in the living room, so it was a boring, safe place for her to calm down. When we moved to Indiana, Emma got her own bedroom and we keep all her toys in it. So sending her to sit on her bed, with so many toys to distract her and play with, wasn’t going to work anymore! Just a few months ago I finally set up a time-out stool in the living room as a boring place for her to cool off, and her behavior had improved as a result!

Don’t Get Lazy!

It’s easy to find yourself doing what’s easy and gets immediate results – I know I have! Taking the time to listen to why your child is scared takes more time and patience than just telling them to snap out of it. But does acting that way really align with your values? Is that how you want your kids to remember you? My guess is no!

You may realize that the way you’ve been parenting doesn’t line up with your values. It’s okay to change what you’re doing, and your family will benefit in the long run!

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Everyone has a different style when it comes to parenting. If you're struggling to figure out your parenting style, or want to see an example of someone else's in action, you're in the right place! | Fulfill & Thrive



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