Have you ever thought how conventional, or rather, unconventional your own parenting method is? Upbringing is a challenging thing for every parent with no book or guide to tell you exactly what is right or wrong for your child. It’s a path with no directions and you, as a parent, is the only one who can intuitively or empirically decide what is best for your kid.
It is also difficult to define conventional and unconventional upbringing methods. The thing is very subjective. However, these methods are now considered unconventional and sometimes even questionably useful, but you will be surprised to know that every now and then you use some of these parenting techniques, while absolutely unaware of their “unconventional” nature.
Methods of Unconventional Upbringing
There is no way you can refer to the Attachment Parenting method as a new kind of parenting philosophy. The method was originally proposed in 1951 by psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, though some of the ideas that make the key principles of this method have been known for over a century and were first mentioned by Zigmund Freud.
Attachment Parenting suggests forming a strong emotional bond between a child and a parent/caregiver during the childhood. This kind of bond positively influences the child’s socio-emotional development and well-being. The key principles of AP are the so called 7 Baby B’s:
- Baby-wearing (Think front-facing slings)
- Bedding close to baby (Some parents choose “co-sleeping” – sleeping in the same room with the child, while others go even further and choose “bed-sharing”)
- Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry (Proponents of the AP method are convinced that responding to your child’s cry builds trust between the parents and the baby as well as helps parents eventually learn how to meet the baby’s needs)
- Beware of baby trainers (The AP method suggests that parents should be attentive to the child’s signals to know whether the child is hungry, sleepy, etc rather than follow a schedule and watch a clock)
- Balance (The principle suggests finding time for mommy-daddy time and do not neglect your marriage, as well as being able to ask for help from family members, nannies, babysitters, etc, when needed)
“Attachment Parenting is not a passive parenting style,” says celebrity proponent of the method Mayim Bialik. “And you don’t have to be an at-home parent to be at attachment parent.”
This method is undoubtedly less common (if not rare) in modern societies, though it’s said to be widely used in more traditional cultures. Some time ago everybody started talking about this method again since Hollywood actress Alicia Silverstone confessed she used it to feed her then 11 month-old son.
The main idea of the method is that a parent/caregiver pre-chews food before giving it to a child. This method is used to feed children who are yet unable to masticate food themselves.
Though the method has a lot of opponents who say kiss-feeding is not safe for a baby due to bacteria that can be in mom’s saliva, the method’s advocates claim premastication teaches the importance of teamwork and makes trying new food fun.
I am not a kiss-feeder and I will never be one, for sure.
Extreme Parenting (“Tiger Mom”)
This method of parenting was proposed by Amy Chua aka Tiger Mom in her book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). In this book Yale Law School professor and mother of two said she severely restricted her daughters’ activities (no sleepovers, TV, school plays, etc) to let them pursue academic goals and focus on career-making.
Not all parents share Ms Chua’s point of view, though psychologists say there is nothing really bad about extreme parenting as long as children understand the ultimate purpose of such strict rules.
“Both of my girls have very high self-esteem because they were both able to master certain things. I should think that’s good for their confidence,” Amy Chua said. “[While] kids raised to be pampered and spoilt don’t end up being good leaders. Leaders need to be independent minded and confident.”
Founder of this approach Bryan Caplan advocates for un-parenting or, in other words, listening to and addressing your kid’s desires and needs instead of making authoritative decisions about their well-being. No pressure, no guidance as it’s all useless anyway, says Caplan.
“Right now, parents are “overcharging” themselves for each kid. Parents can sharply improve their lives without hurting their kids. Nature, not nurture, explains most family resemblance. Quit fretting over how much TV your kids watch. Don’t force them to do a million activities they hate. Accept that your children’s lives are shaped mostly by their genes and their own choices, not by the sacrifices you make in hopes of turning them into successful adults,” Caplan wrote in his book.
Just like Caplan, founder of this approach Carl Honoré speaks against over-parenting and advocates for giving kids something they most desperately want – free time. Forget extracurricular activities and use this time to get to know your child better, he says.
It’s up to you as a parent to choose what method, approach or theory is most appropriate for your kid. My recipe is simple – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a lot of love atop of it all.