6 Parenting Styles You Are Up Against During Divorce

Different parenting styles can have a huge impact on a marriage and cause a great deal of stress for both you, your partner, and your children. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that different parenting can also wreak havoc on a co-parenting relationship. Wonder what type of parenting characteristics you’re up against in your divorce and how you can deal? Read 6 parenting styles you are up against during divorce to find out.

The Different Types of Parenting Styles

  • Lawnmower parent
  • Helicopter parent
  • Free-range parent
  • Attachment parent
  • Tiger parent
  • Elephant parent

Determining What Type of Parenting Style You’re Up Against

Learning how to co-parent with a different type of parenting style begins with determining what type you’re up against in the first place. When you have this knowledge, you can better navigate how to build a positive co-parenting relationship. Each parenting style has some tell-tale signs, so if you aren’t sure which one, you’re former spouse is, see if any of these characteristics fit them:

  • Lawnmower parent: Like the machine they’re named after, a lawnmower parent tends to mow down any challenge, discomfort, or struggle their child may face. They immediately intervene whenever their child is inconvenienced or dealing with a problem.
  • Helicopter parent: A helicopter parent is overly involved in their child’s life. They tend to hover, even into adulthood, and pay very close attention to every aspect of their child’s life.
  • Free-range parent: Those who practice free-range parenting have a “let them be” approach. They encourage their child to be as independent as possible, allowing them to do things other parents may deem unsafe, like walking to school on their own or playing at a park unsupervised.
  • Attachment parent: An attachment parent is focused on creating a close bond with their child naturally by meeting their every emotional need, especially at the beginning of their life. They practice physical closeness as well, often wearing their baby for a long period of time and co-sleeping with them until the child is ready to sleep on their own.
  • Tiger parent: Tiger parents are strict and place a strong emphasis on academics and the importance of excelling in school and extracurricular activities. Some may see this type of parenting as harsh, demanding, and emotionally unsupportive.
  • Elephant parent: The elephant parent is virtually the opposite of a tiger parent. They are very nurturing and protective and focus more on the emotional needs of their child over the academic needs.

Coping When You Have Different Parenting Styles

Opposites may attract, but when it comes to co-parenting with different parenting objectives, it can be anything but appealing. Not only can different parenting styles cause conflict between you and your co-parent, it can also create a lot of confusion for your child who has already endured a lot of change with the divorce. Despite living in separate homes, it’s ideal if you and your co-parent can present a united front for your child. It can help reduce behavior problems that often appear in children of divorce. A few strategies that may help you do this:

  • See how your different parenting styles may complement each other. For example, maybe your former spouse is a tiger parent who demands that your child always get good grades, but you are an elephant parent who can see how the constant pressure to exceed academically is negatively impacting your child. You can gently remind your co-parent that academics aren’t everything and that your child’s mental and emotional health should come first.
  • Set consistent rules. Living in separate households doesn’t mean you can’t have consistency, especially when it comes to rules and discipline. Children thrive on routine and setting rules that both households practice can be very beneficial to children of divorce.
  • Don’t sabotage your co-parent. It can be very tempting to undermine your co-parent when you don’t agree with a parenting decision they’ve made, but pitting yourself against them, and allowing your child to witness that, can greatly damage your child’s relationship with their parent. If you don’t agree with something your co-parent has done, speak to them privately.
  • Consider a co-parenting class or coach. There is plenty of support out there for co-parents, whether you have different parenting styles or not. Take advantage of those offerings and help create a more peaceful environment for the entire family.

Still not sure how to deal with a co-parent who is completely different from you? We’re here to support you. Our weekly support offerings are a great place to go whenever you are struggling with your co-parenting relationship. We also encourage you to check out these other resources.

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