Parenting styles

Karli Dettman
There are many ways that parents can raise their children. Some parents like to be strict with their children. Others are very involved in their children's lives. Other parents treat their children as friends. Some just use their gut feelings. I spoke with a few Deaf parents. They have different opinions about parenting. They are raising their children in different ways. But there is no right or wrong way. Parenting can be a hard job. Most parents just do the best they can for their children.
Posted by: 
Karli Dettman on 22/06/2012
A child on a man's shoulders. Both are smiling.
child holding mans head riding on his shoulders

Parents use various parenting styles.

Raising children the right way is important to all parents. We love our children as they are from us. When babies grow up into toddlers and beyond, we may adopt particular parenting styles. The most well-known and talked about parenting styles are attachment, helicopter, authoritative, instinctive and permissive. Some parents choose to use one of these styles, others use a combination. I spoke with a few Deaf parents to ask them about their parenting.

Deaf parenting

Are Deaf people predestined to be helicopter parents because they cannot hear their children so watch over them more carefully? Or are they permissive parents because they don't hear or haven't learned enough about the right ways to discipline children? Do Deaf parents not stand up to their hearing children as much as they should?

Sometimes parenting styles are forced onto new parents because they are Deaf. For example, new Deaf parents may feel they have no choice but to let their baby sleep with them if don't have an expensive device to alert them if the baby wakes. These behaviours are likely to create attachment parenting.

Attachment parenting

Attachment parents are known as being very responsive, sensitive and emotionally attached to their children's needs. They like to try anything considered natural. For example, they give birth naturally, feed their children organic food and may avoid vaccinations for their children because they believe they have dangerous chemicals.

Chloe is a married Deaf mother of toddlers aged two and four. She identifies as an attachment mother.

I researched a lot of up-to-date information to find out the best food to feed my children and ideas on how to discipline them. My husband's parents feed our children too many sweets. I only give them treats once a week, she says.

Helicopter parenting

Helicopter parents are very involved and pay close attention to their children's lives. They like to pack and unpack school bags and help their children to solve their problems. They are keen for their children to avoid obstacles in their lives.

Chloe does not consider herself a helicopter parent. But she believes her mother-in-law, who raised one Deaf son, is a helicopter grandparent who gives her grandchildren too much attention.

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative parents are strict with their children and make sure a daily routine is followed. They may even smack their children if they break rules. But this is not to say they are not understanding parents.

Pam is a Deaf single mother of three adults. She admits to smacking her children when they were little. She found raising children very difficult especially as she had little support from her ex-husband. She also worked long hours.

I tried to involve their grandparents but it did not work out. They made more trouble and spread untrue rumours. They did not understand how I felt or didn't give me feedback on how to raise children. It was very sad. Pam says most of the time she just tried to follow her gut like an instinctive parent.

Instinctive parenting

Instinctive parents can be influenced by their own parents so may raise their children in a similar way to how they were raised. They tend to also follow their gut instincts.

Jane and Ben are a Deaf married couple who are very involved in the Deaf community. They say they are emotionally attached to their only eight-year-old hearing daughter's identity needs. They admit they can become suspicious if their hearing friends talk to their daughter for hours. Their concerns are their hearing friends' ideas could influence their daughter.

They are confident they're raising their daughter well by following instinctive and attachment parenting models. They hope their daughter will develop a healthy dual identity in both Deaf and hearing communities.

Permissive parenting

Permissive parents allow their children much freedom and don't seem to mind when home rules are broken. They treat their children as friends.

Mary who is a single Deaf mother of two pre-teen children says, I don't cope well on a bad day. I have trouble deciding what's the best way to raise them. So she thinks she is both an authoritative and permissive parent. She sometimes allows her children to make their own decisions including things like what to wear.


So is there a best way to raise children? I think there is no right or wrong way to parent a child. Most parents do the best they can, with what they know and what they have learned to guide their child on the path to adulthood.

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