Are you a he­li­copter par­ent or a yes par­ent? A not-there par­ent or the per­fect one? Chris­tine Field­house helps you fig­ure it out

Friday - - Psychology -

hen Leah’s two-year-old son Fred­die starts a fight on a bouncy cas­tle or at a play park, she looks the other way or smiles sweetly at an­other child, pre­tend­ing he’s not hers. Her sis­ter Jemima is usu­ally there, hov­er­ing over her own daugh­ter in case she trips, hears a swear word or needs to blow her nose. Not far away, their mu­tual friend Kate is send­ing out work emails – she hasn’t seen her chil­dren for at least half an hour, but she hasn’t heard any screams so she as­sumes they’re safe enough.

We all have our own style of rais­ing chil­dren. Some par­ents play by the rule book, with ev­ery­thing from meal­times, screen time, play dates and home­work set in stone, while oth­ers are so laid-back, some days they just about man­age to get out of bed and their chil­dren look af­ter them­selves.

Many of us are in be­tween, with par­ent­ing tips we picked up from our own par­ents. We even say some of the same things. “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” and, “If you don’t brush your teeth, you won’t have any by the time you’re 40,” we re­peat two or three decades af­ter we first heard our par­ents say­ing those ex­act words.

Ex­perts say par­ent­ing is usu­ally a learned be­hav­iour. If we re­mem­ber our par­ents as fair, we copy their tech­niques, but if we ques­tion the way we were par­ented, we of­ten do ex­actly the op­po­site.

“Most of us are in­flu­enced by our own par­ents,” says par­ent­ing ex­pert Sue Atkins, au­thor of Rais­ing Happy Chil­dren (Wi­ley). “That’s fine if it works for you, but if your par­ent was very strict and you have mem­o­ries of be­ing shouted at or hu­mil­i­ated, you’re more likely to be a pushover with your own chil­dren.

“We even re­mem­ber and re­peat the things our par­ents told us, even though we live in a dif­fer­ent world to the one we were brought up in.”

Coaches be­lieve there are five types of par­ents – here they an­a­lyse each one and give ad­vice on how to tone down that style of par­ent­ing if it isn’t work­ing for you or your chil­dren...

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