Sunday, July 21, 2013

Parenting Styles? Or Just "Parenting"?

I was reading some posts from one of the mommy groups that I follow on FB and saw a reference to "unschooling" their children*.  It got me thinking about all of the different "parenting styles" out there that I was 100% NOT familiar with before I got pregnant/had a child, and now see all over the place in mommy groups, media, social networks, etc. Did previous generations of mothers pay so much attention to documented parenting styles?  Knowing my parents, I highly doubt that Dr. Spock had much to do with our upbringing... my guess is that my parents raised us how their parents raised them (with a few tweaks here and there, I'm sure).  

At first I thought, If generations past didn't follow predetermined "styles", I'm curious what the next generation is going to be like (as I think that my generation turned out pretty good).  But then I started to think, what exactly ARE these "styles" other than a way that someone did something that worked and then they named it and told people about it?  I don't think that my parents followed a "style", and I don't think that Jacob and I do/will either, but I keep running in to things that describe what we have done... without intending to do.

For instance, we used Ferber's "Progressive Waiting" style of sleep training.  When introducing Emily to solid foods, we used a "Baby Led Weaning" approach.  In terms of Emily's independence and personal curiosity, Jacob and I fall into the "Detachment Parenting" style.  None of these were really discussed or planned... they were just what felt/feel right to us and seem to be working out ok.

This post may be a bit of a ramble, it really is just thoughts that I've had today, but again I'm left wondering, is "attachment parenting" a style, or just a way that works for some people?  Is "baby led weaning" something special, or just something that happened when a 10 month old grabbed a piece of bread off your plate and goes to town?  Did these "methods" really start out with all kinds of research and studies?  Or did an exhausted Sue one day stick her crying infant in a crib in order to step outside and count to three, only to discover when she came back he had fallen asleep, and the "Cry it Out" method was born?

I'm curious if methods and styles of parenting were as relevant in previous generations... thoughts?

*Per usual, I had no idea what this one was, but my good ol' friends Google and Wikipedia filled me in.  =)

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