Four Types of Parents! Eight Types of Parents! Hut, Hut, Hike!

by doodaddy on May 28, 2007

Clearly in homage to MetroDad’s most excellent rundown of the Eight Types of Playground Parents, Cox News recently syndicated a piece citing actual psychological research (pshaw!) into the Four Types of Parents (article, requires registration; original paper). It’s a 2×2 matrix based on how much love you’re showing and how many limits you set. As a public service, á la Indexed, here’s my drawing of their conclusions:

Guess who the “good” parents are! Give up?

Apart from cutting MetroDad’s total in half — clearly, psychologists are a lot less rigorous than bloggers — they reach essentially the same conclusion: that parents somehow lend themselves to categorization like this. (To be fair, MetroDad had his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek by this point, not to mention acknowledging a whole lot of mixing in all of us.)

By MetroDad’s list, I’m totally the Peter Pan dad — I even called myself that once, although I used the term Pied Piper, since toddlers follow me around a lot. But I chafe at the idea that I am any one of these things all the time — I don’t even want to be painted with one of the “good” labels, if that means I’m not allowed to change it. Heck, I think being passive or permissive at times is important for both parent and kid — does that really mean that I am showing “low love” right then? What the heck?

There are many conscientious, aware parents who feel the need to divide themselves — and other parents — into tiny clique groups with fixed labels. But “parenting style” isn’t a filing system. It’s more like driving a car: it takes a constant stream of tiny adjustments, a few major course corrections, and a never-ending state of vigilance to get yourself safely to a destination.

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in oddparents,parenting ·

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

aimee/greeblemonkey May 30, 2007 at 10:14 am

That’s like that political compass web site thingee where it maps you in similar coordinates. I wonder if I would map in similar quadrants!


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