There’s been a lot of talk recently about different types of mums and their impact on their children as they grow up. I’d read an article in the latest Mother & Baby magazine about laid back mums having more independent children, being more willing to take risks and learning for themselves faster ending up with more well balanced children. There was an article today suggesting we need to ‘underparent’ to get the best out of our children.
Polls have suggested that second time mums in particular tend to be more relaxed in parenting style with number two compared to their first born. Obviously because they’ve less time and two to look after and tend to, but also because they’re more relaxed and more confident about how much ‘close’ attention and care a baby really needs. Common sense says a little letting them play for themselves is good for children rather than always playing with them.
The alternatives can include Tiger mums, examples of these in the media are often Chinese parents who structure their children’s time with academic activities and lessons to get them ahead faster than their peers. Helicopter mums (a fairly new term I’ve only recently heard of) where the parent is always hovering over everything their child does.
I think everyone has a bit of each type of parent in them. I’ve tried to be laid back with N. We’re lucky as he’s a fairly independent, happy chap, who’s happy to both play on his own and decide what he wants to do. But he also asks for ‘hand’ to drag us to what he wants us to do if he wants someone with him.
I do try and give him some encouragement to try things that potentially genes may have passed down to him. I’m musical and also dance, and he seems so far to be a lover of both of these. Impressively (or flukily), he’s already pretty good at stepping or tapping in time to music – not sure if this is innate, or helped by a year of Rhythm Time classes plus music sessions they do at nursery in getting him to hear and listen to music and enjoy it. Hopefully he’ll continue as he gets older. He’s not really showing much aptitude for balls at the moment – only just getting the whole throwing thing, although he does (accidentally) dribble a ball quite well. But the coordination with his mini golf club hitting a ball is pretty good (his golf loving uncle will be pleased) – hopefully that’s a sign of my racquet sport coordination coming through.
I’m very competitive myself, so I’m hoping I don’t turn into one of those parents who’s always shouting about their child and pushing them ridiculously. But I also hope that he finds some activities that he wants to do and sticks with them so he can get early achievements to encourage him and give him confidence in taking on new things. I think having worked for and gained lots of dancing, music and sporting achievements when I was younger really gave me confidence in knowing I was good at something and also giving me something to aim for.
The article in the Telegraph did give some good ideas for stretching and challenging your children…not sure that I would have wanted to do the train thing on my own at 13, but I was fairly shy, plus kids these days seem a lot more streetwise than we did at their age.
So what type of mum are you or would you want to be?