There’s been a huge kerfuffle in certain areas of social media lately about the way that parents and children play at the park… I know, right? Some mums get annoyed at the so-called helicopter mums who are on the playground “hovering” over their children. Said “helicopter” mums get annoyed at the mums on the bench sipping coffee and playing on the phones. As I have said before, I have no issue with you parenting the way you want to parent – and in whichever way works best for your kids. It did get me thinking though as to what type of mother I am.
I’m a manners parent
CJ is only 14 months old but he already knows “please” and “thank you” – well, peas and giggoo, but same difference. We have books that we read that explain the concept of Sorry and Excuse Me. We talk about when his behavior is rude and about how to be respectful to others. Manners are very important to us and while I know he’s not always going to get it right, it doesn’t stop us trying.
I’m a literacy is important parent
Books are the one thing this house positively hoards. As a high school teacher I’ve seen the negative effects of entering high school with little to no basic literacy skills so having books in this house (and modeling reading behavior) is so important. One of my most recent parenting highlights was CJ “reading” his bed time book back to me after I read it to him. I’m always going to drop whatever I’m doing (well, almost anything) if CJ wants me to read him a book.
I’m a get-outside parent
Us kids were very much free-range as kids roaming in and out of houses on our street, walking about a kilometer away to the local dairy and staying out til dark. While the world has changed a bit, and we’re all in favor of a little screen time, CJ is not going to be one of these kids cooped up inside, in front of the TV all day. No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices – I love coming home, opening the back door wide and letting him blow off some steam before dinner.
I’m a playful parent
And that might be partially because I have an adventurous kid. More often than not lately I find myself two storeys up on a playground because CJ wants to go down the big kid’s slide and he needs my help getting there. That boy is a thrill-seeker, that’s for sure. I’m sure I look like a total moron squeezing my way up through kiddie tunnels but I really don’t care – the look on his face as he zooms down the slide is reward enough. Likewise, I always get a laugh out of our wrestling matches, even when he misjudges and gives me a fat lip.
I’m a let’s see what happens parent
That sounds horrendously cavalier, but I’m all for letting CJ do things within reason so that he can see the outcome. Most often this is with food – he always wants what we are eating, even if it’s a little spicier than what I would think he would like. Sometimes he surprises me – like by how much he loved the cajun hushpuppies at Miss Clawdy’s. We’ve also let him take wee “low-stakes” tumbles so that he learns the consequences before he manages to catapult himself off the top of a playground, aged three. We’re all for being adventurous in this house, within reason.
I’m an experiences over stuff parent
I can literally remember maybe three toys my parents bought me growing up, but I remember loads of things that we did together as a family. The one item that got the most use in our house was the playhouse that my parents made out of a massive box. It’s been something to bear in mind as we raise CJ; he may not always be the kid with the coolest gears but he’ll be the kid that gets to travel, the kid that gets to go wild at the zoo or eat his way through a food festival. Memories to us are way more important than things and I’m hoping that we teach him that too.
I know our parenting choices aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (as evidenced by the lady at the cafe yesterday who commented that her 1 year old grandchild wouldn’t even know what a fluffy drink was) but they work well for us and our family. Our family values good food, good books, great experiences and exploring the world and I think our “types” of parenting reflect this. What type of parent are you?