Friday, October 23, 2015

The democratic family

I often try to involve my son in our family decisions: What do you want to do this weekend?, What do you think we should do about dinner tonight? and even What do you like about this piece of furniture? are all questions that I have asked him within the past week. I ask him about what he wants to eat for lunch while grocery shopping, and I haven't been allowed to choose his clothes since he was three and started to do that on his own.

This may seem crazy to some parents, who have a different parenting style that may teach their child that Mom and Dad are the Law. And that is great if that works for them.

In our family, I want my son to know that his opinions matter, and that our household is everyone's responsibility. For me, that means he gets a lot of choices. He doesn't get to weigh in an opinion on everything, or when the decision is a tough one (like between two bad choices), but we do include him when we think he'll be affected.

This excellent exploratory piece by Time takes a look at a shift in parenting styles over several generations - from over-scheduled perfection to a democratic, crowd-resourced style. Reviewing my household, I see that I fall somewhere between a Generation Xer and a Millennial, which makes sense, considering that my age falls somewhere between those two generations, depending on the study that you are looking at. 

I think the important part of that article is that we parent in the way that works best for our family. Does this mean that I get push back? Of course I do. (Every parenting style comes with push back.) But it also means that there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to parenting.

How would you describe your parenting style? Tell me in the comments. 

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