Obviously, it’s not easy being a parent — but having a strategy can sometimes help. Which strategy works best for you? Which model might you be following without even realizing it?

Asbury Park Press broke down the four major parenting models, which include attachment parenting, tiger moms, free­-range parenting and helicopter parents.

Each parenting style has its inherent advantages and disadvantages — and there are no right or wrong options. Typically, the correct answer for your family — and your children — can fall somewhere in the middle of all four.

Helicopter parents

A relatively common phrase that has been around for years, helicopter parenting occurs when parents take an extremely active (perhaps too active) role in managing their teenager or young adult’s life. The idea is that a parent will bring more experience and wisdom to the table and help the child make better decisions at a young age. But, in some cases, the concept can backfire.

The biggest downside: It can stunt a child’s development when it comes to making their own decisions and not allow them to learn from their mistakes. It’s great to be involved, but children and teens need freedom to make some decisions on their own.

The hard part is finding that balance.

Free­-range parents

This is an arguably opposite approach to helicopter parenting. Free­-range parents allow their children to explore and play with minimal supervision — though rules are typically put in place to keep children safe. An example: allowing children to walk alone to a nearby park (but making sure they know exactly where to go and how to get there safely).

Attachment parenting

This philosophy applies more to infants and tracks with the psychological concept that children benefit from a strong parental bond, which is forged by physical closeness (co-sleeping, breastfeeding, immediate response when a child cries, etc.) at a young age.

Ideally, that closeness will lead to a trusting child who feels loved and will grow into a well­-balanced adult.

Tiger parenting

This parenting style advocates strict rules and extremely high expectations in everything from academic work to chores. The thesis aims to push children to be successful, in hopes those traits will be instilled in them as an adult.

The philosophy is based on Amy Chua’s novel The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

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