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Kids' Phone Safety Blog

5 Worst Parenting Styles Ever

July 20, 2017
5 worst approaches to parenting

Each year in May we have a special day to celebrate our mothers, and in June we congratulate fathers. Both these wonderful holidays are followed by a day in July when we can bring all our parents together – National Parents’ Day (celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July). This holiday is a good reason for children to think of how vital the role of parents in their life is, while moms and dads can ponder on their parenting methods and the relationships with their kids.

Have you ever heard a proverb: “No one gives you a manual for parenting”? In the world of modern technologies, these words start to lose their veracity. The results of a simple online search will provide you with hundreds of columns, articles, blog posts, studies, and books suggesting the best ways to bring up your children. While some of this advice is given by experienced and dependable experts and can be of a real practical help to the parents, the others are written by the laymen and should better never be followed.

Teen girl on leash


Parenting Typology

To understand the difference between the parenting styles, we should know that they are generally divided into four main types:

  • Authoritarian – parents are highly demanding and repressive;
  • Permissive – parents set no strict rules or standards and have no big expectations;
  • Neglectful – parents are uninterested and not willing to take an active part in their child’s life;
  • Authoritative – parents are both highly demanding and highly responsive to their kids.

Guess, it’s pretty much evident, which types should be avoided. But let’s get more specific to the point of particular parenting manners. If you wonder what is the best parenting style that you could rely upon in bringing up your kid, you should never consider one of the five bad parenting techniques described below.

Helicopter Parenting

The name of this parenting method speaks for itself: just try to imagine a helicopter (or a modern smart device – a drone) hovering above the head of a child 24/7 wherever he or she goes. Parents who choose this style of kids’ uprising are overinvolved into every aspect of their child’s life, be it a daily routine, leisure time or academic progress. No wonder that the synonym of the helicopter parenting style is “overparenting.” Moms and dads seem to just not trust their kids in the ability to discover this world and face its challenges without their assistance.

The term “helicopter parenting” was first coined in 1990 by a psychologist F. Cline and an education consultant J. Fay. Since then, it has gained wide popularity as it perfectly described a phenomenon of the whole new generation of children who grew up being dependant on their parents’ care and supervision to that extent that they appear to be totally unprepared for their adult life.

Why is this method bad for children? Kids of the helicopter parents grow up with the confidence of having a back up whenever they fail or cannot handle something. This may lead to them lacking independence, adaptivity and emotional resilience in the adult life.

What’s bad for parents? When trying to follow their children on every step, parents don’t have enough time for themselves. It often results in stress and poor health.

Snowplow (or Bulldozer) Parenting

Snowplow parents set a goal to remove any obstacles and hardships from the way of their child. Why? Because they are absolutely sure that their offspring is unique and exceptional, and thus nothing should stay in his/her way to future success. Much like helicopter moms and dads, the snowplow parents are both demanding and permissive to their child.

The term snowplow parenting appeared relatively not so long ago – a former high school teacher D. McCullough was the first to introduce it in his 2015 book “You Are Not Special.” In a short span of time, this term gained huge popularity on the media.

Why is this method bad for children? Kids get the false sense of security and stop worrying about their future. Besides, the traits of narcissism may develop in their character.

What’s bad for parents? Being absorbed into excessive care, snowplow parents forget that they won’t always be there to push any difficulties out of their child’s way.

Tiger Parenting

Tiger parents are those of the authoritarian type: they are highly demanding to their children in every aspect of life – from home chores to educational achievements. They expect their children to be perfectly disciplined, follow every their rule and never talk back.

The tiger parenting term was first introduced in 2011 by Amy Chua in her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” The author explains that this parenting style can often be seen in Chinese families, where parents may assume that their children owe them, and thus expect youngsters to always be obedient and make them proud. Being quite common in the Oriental countries, tiger parenting style may though be unconcerned to the Western parents.

Why is this method bad for children? Depending on the cultural background, Tiger parenting style may not be all bad for the children, and teach them to be responsible, motivated and productive. However, it can also cause difficulties in a child’s being self-reliant and adapting to the new society, which in its turn may lead to anxiety and teen depression.

What’s bad for parents? Tiger parenting is one of the dubious teenager parenting techniques because mothers and fathers who follow it often forget that their child is a personality, and can’t always follow someone else’s command.

Bubble-Wrap Parenting

As the name of this style implies, parents who support it, tend to “wrap” their children in total care and protect them from any dangers and risks ever possible. They would never want their kids to get physically or emotionally hurt. While a reasonable level of protection is the base of healthy parent-teenager relationship, some moms and dads may go extreme, and figuratively enclose their little ones in some sort of a safe cocoon.

The hyper-protective and constantly worried parents may not let their kids take part in any extra-curriculum activities, hang out with their friends outside of the home, walk alone in the street, use public transport, etc.

Why is this method bad for children? Bad parenting habits such as bubble-wrap style make children unprepared for the adult life because they get no experience of making mistakes. Moreover, they often may have poor social skills.

What’s bad for parents? Not only exclude such parents their children from the normal social life but also do they keep themselves constantly busy and worried about insignificant things.

Free-Range Parenting

Parents who choose this style prefer “to trust” their children in all aspects. Once the kid has adopted a set of safety skills, free-range parents would just back off. In reality, all such parents want is to enjoy their own lives and be engaged in the life and problems of their child as little as possible.

The term became famous due to the case of Lenore Skenazy, a former journalist who let her 9 y.o. son use the NY subway on his own. The woman was commonly blamed by society and got the title of “America’s worst mother.”

Free-range parenting is a graphic example of a neglectful parenting type.

Why is this method bad for children? Kids raised by free-range parents may grow into more independent, responsible and resilient adults. However, when they would face some serious problems, they may not get enough of support and help from their parents which they desperately need.

What’s bad for parents? The main problem of the free-range style is its legal aspect. For example, in Queensland, it is illegal for parents to leave their children alone for an “unreasonable” time.

Mom, dad,, and teen daughter


Over-parenting, total surveillance or excessive care will make neither children nor parents happy. The best thing to do is to give kids enough freedom and let them discover this world while being by their side any moment they need some help or advice. Caring moms and dads should keep in mind that a reliable parental monitoring app can be of great service in keeping an eye on kids without ruining the relationships with them.

Have you noticed using bad parenting styles yourself?


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