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What's Your Parenting Style?


Are you a hippo mom or a panda dad? Parenting takes a look at the newest parenting styles and where they originated. Which one fits you?

Hippo parent: One who (metaphorically) sits on her child until he complies. In a letter to the editor published by the Boston Globe last spring, a reader gave advice for getting kids to obey: “For heaven's sake, sit on them!”

Panda dad: The soft male counterpart to Amy Chua's “tiger mother,” a parent who raises her kids “the Chinese way” (über-strict, with high expectations). In a Wall Street Journal blog posted in March 2011, Alan Paul, who spent three-plus years living with his family in Beijing, says he opts for “controlled chaos,” adding, “It works for us, even if it has sent weak-kneed babysitters scurrying for the door.”

Hot-tub parent: A mom or dad who fosters conversation by creating a comfortable environment. “Sitting down with a child for no other reason than to have a ‘talk’ isn't nearly as effective as having that talk while doing some other activity,” Julie Knight wrote on “Some of my most interesting conversations with my kids occur in our hot tub.”

Wishbone parent: A pushover who wishes her children would behave better. Blogging for Psychology Today's website, Maureen Healy wrote, “These parents have the ‘best of intentions’ but don't do the things, like applying consistent discipline, that are necessary.”

How would you describe your parenting style?

This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Parenting magazine.