What is “casual parenting”?

What is “casual parenting”?

AKA: lazy parenting or laissez faire parenting. Basically, it’s the “sit back and watch” approach to raising little people.

When I was a kid, my parents weren’t exactly “helicopter parents” but they could easily be described as overprotective, and even then, it was always more my mom than my dad. We only watched the Disney channel or PBS for many, many years. In the car, it was always oldies (50s) music or very selective country. My parents have always been the type to try and protect us from ever making a mistake, which is admirable, but also (in my opinion) anti-productive.

I was the kid that needed to screw up to really learn a lesson. I rebelled every chance I could. I needed to know exactly what would happen if I did [insert bad decision], rather than just trusting my parents when they said it would end badly. I put myself in a lot of…less than ideal situations because I needed to see for myself that it wasn’t going to work. I truly believe that my parenting style is a direct result of that of my parents.

I don’t stop my son (2) from doing risky things. I want him to learn what he is and isn’t capable of through experience. Yes, he is often bumped or bruised, but he is also incredibly confident, inventive and an amazing problem solver. Now, before you call CPS, let me explain a little more.

I’m always right there, watching and making sure he’s not going to get seriously injured, but I’m also not going to help him out of the corner he backed himself into (both literally and figuratively) unless I think he really can’t get out of it. I want him to find his limitations and feel free to explore and learn what he is and isn’t able to do.

For example, he’s been climbing the stairs of our house since he was 9.5 months old. It was incredibly stressful for me, and he did fall or roll down a step or two every now and then, but we were always right behind him, so if he fell, we could catch him right away. He’s 2 now and insists on walking up and down the stairs by himself. Yes, he uses the banister. We aren’t crazy people.

We are setting up the house for our second son’s arrival on the 7th. The crib is currently in the middle of our bedroom although it will eventually move to my side of the bed so I can breastfeed in the middle of the night and not have to get out of bed. Connor (our firstborn) decided he wanted to play in it while I was organizing the diapers in the baby’s room.

All of a sudden, I hear crying, real crying, like he was upset but not injured. When I walked into the room, my first thought was “What the hell…? HOW?” I had to take a picture, because it was too funny not to and he wasn’t hurt, just stuck. He now knows he can climb into the crib, all by himself, and he knows what not to do while he’s in there. I think that’s probably a mom win. Probably.

Learning first hand how not to climb into a crib

Learning first hand how not to climb into a crib

I understand that this style of raising kids isn’t for everyone; my sister, sister-in-law, friends, etc. all do it very differently, and guess what? All of their kids are alive and well. It has always been my belief that everyone is different and should only do what works for them, without worrying about what others say or think. Trust me; I get a lot of grief from both sides of our family for our parenting style.

My parents think we’re way too laid back while his family thinks I’m too uptight. You can’t please everyone, so I simply don’t try. I’m a grown ass woman. The only person whose opinion matters when it comes to how I raise my boys is their father, and he’s usually more laid back than I am.

I disagree with the way some people we know raise their kids. That’s cool. They probably disagree with how we’re doing it. The important thing is that we all love our kids and we aren’t assholes about it.

Parenting is a very personal experience. I will happily offer advice, if asked, but I hate when people give me unsolicited advice, so I make a point not to do that to others. You “do you” and I’ll “do me” and we’ll all have happy, healthy children in the end. The ultimate goal is to raise self-sufficient, respectful, productive members of society. The road you take getting there shouldn’t matter, as long as there’s no abuse involved.

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