As promised, here are my concept definitions (and very unPC stereotypes):
- Parent-centered: focus more on the parents’ needs, inconvenience the parents as little as possible and return to prebaby life ASAP. These are the parents who are back working 60 hours a week as soon as they can find a nanny. In their more candid moments, they admit their children are “speed bumps.” Their children are like any other accessories, toys or pets.
- Child-centered: focus more on the child’s needs. While the child-led camp may vociferously disagree, the child-centered school of thought believes (or fervently hopes!) that children can come first without parents coming dead last. Most parents, I think, fall in here.
- Child-led: Baby knows best. He’ll do everything when he’s ready and not a moment sooner. Anything else is cruel and bordering on child abuse. Oh, and selfish. Maybe you shouldn’t have had a child if you weren’t ready to come dead last.
- Parent-led: Mom & Dad know best (at the very least, they know what will drive them crazy the slowest). They guide the child’s nurturing and make the decisions. The more middle-of-the-road parent-led parents do this very gently. This area can overlap with the child-centered group. Yes, to the astonishment of some child-led parents, it’s possible for parents to guide a child’s upbringing while still focusing primarily on his needs. In fact, some parents believe that it’s imperative to guide a child to best fulfill his needs, such as shaping sleep habits so he can nap well and sleep through the night and get the rest that he needs. On the other end of the parent-led spectrum, there’s an overlap with parent-centered parenting.
Of course, some kids don’t respond to “parent-led” parenting. Or anything else, for that matter. So each of those four terms is a spectrum of its own, varying with the individual parents and children.
It’s a little obvious where I think I fall—in the areas without the ugly stereotypes.
As for me, I think I’ll start seeing things soon if I don’t get a full night’s sleep. But at least I don’t dread nights like I did when he was just a few weeks old. I guess that’s an improvement.