There are alpha parents (also known as “helicopter parents”) and there are beta parents, as I learned about this weekend when some friends shared The Beta Parent Manifesto.
After reading it and thinking about how I parent, I think I am a hybrid of both … alpha and beta. Call me a “gamma” parent.
I’m definitely guilty of quizzing my daughter endlessly — total markings of an alpha parent. But I also give her plenty of time on her own to play and explore — which has come in handy since Ben came along.
We get together with friends a lot (what the cool kids call “play dates” nowadays) … but we don’t sit with the kids 24/7. We enjoy adult time and let them play, intervening only when truly necessary.
We don’t eat all organic … but she does eat really well. Maybe it’s just dumb luck, but personally I like to think it’s because I don’t cave at mealtime, meaning there have been times where if green beans was all she’d eat on her plate, that was her dinner.
I also think my parenting style has shifted the longer I’ve been a parent.
For example, when Maya was a baby, I panicked if she wasn’t meeting milestones. She didn’t crawl til 11 months; didn’t walk til a year. I worried something was wrong … and instead of focusing on the positives (her awesome fine motor skills, her strong language skills, her fabulous cognitive skills) I zeroed in on those physical milestones she wasn’t meeting, worrying for the sake of worrying. Well guess what? She did them … but when she was ready, on her own accord.
Now with Ben, I don’t even read those weekly emails anymore. I know generally what he should be doing and he is mastering so many skills. He has a couple babble/nonesense words now (da-da, la-la, ba-ba, dee-dah, a-ta), he can sit and play, he has strong legs and can “stand” if you hold him up, tucks his legs under to assume a crawl position (but doesn’t crawl), turns to his name, recognizes our family — even on Skype … he’s doing great. And while he isn’t rolling over the way he “should” be, his doctor isn’t concerned … so why should I be?! Lesson learned with the second kid …
And with Maya, if Rocco knocked her over or she fell or something, I’d come running over, freaking out and probably making the situation far worse than it was … newbie parent, you know how that goes … But now, though I am always concerned if my kid is hurt, I have a little more insight into my reaction to the situation. In other words, not every wound is a 5-alarm fire.
Ultimately, regardless of parenting style, we all want our children to be safe, healthy and happy.
Last night on the drive home from the airport (my mom was visiting–post on that to come!) I had to stop myself from asking Maya so many questions. She does love to talk … but sometimes kids need to just be.
We can all learn from that lesson …
How about you? What kind of parent are you? Alpha, beta, gamma?