Understanding Modern Parenting Trends

Which Popular Parenting Philosophies Are Right for Your Family?

Over the years, I have always been fascinated by the changing landscape of parenting philosophies. What was good for the ’90s baby when we opened our business was no longer relevant in the 2000s, and each decade seems to evolve into more intentional parenting styles. As an agency, we of course want to be informed, but more importantly, we want our nannies to be knowledgeable and prepared to implement what parents have in mind. When you activate a search, it is so helpful to give nannies an idea of what to expect, and while many people use a combination of philosophies, and a good handful overlap in some ways, we wanted to call out the most popular styles for your reference.

  • Gentle parenting: Gentle parenting removes shame, blame, punishment, and threats and instead encourages compassion, empathy, and respect. This method welcomes emotions and helps children improve their self-awareness and understanding. It encourages an adult/child partnership where you are a coach or partner, modeling the behavior and guiding them to learn from their experiences.
  • Peaceful Parenting: This method starts with parents making sure that they are cared for personally (self-care), that they utilize breathwork and calmness, and that they understand where children are coming from, versus taking things personally. Children need unconditional love, and we are to accept their emotions, respond with empathy, and try to see the reasoning behind their reactions. Peaceful Parenting involves lots of communication, with collaboration between the children and adults. Parents again are guides, exchanging ideas, actively listening, and apologizing when needed. There is no control or manipulation.
  • Conscious Parenting: Adults who practice this style of parenting have to be emotionally intelligent, and diligent about their well-being, in order to be effective parents. This means being mindful, in the present, and aware of yourself. You must understand your triggers and be able to emotionally regulate yourself, using pauses and holding space for your emotions. You set boundaries, self-reflect, be self-aware, and use self-control to manage your emotions and remain calm. You understand how your physical and mental health affects your parenting. Adults speak on the children’s level, they are vulnerable, and they practice curiosity.
  • Waldorf: This approach is primarily education-based, and it teaches children about the world around them. It is a nurturing, non-competitive environment, with teamwork, experiential and/or imaginative play, and creative activities. Activities might include exploring nature or digging into how something works. Children learn by doing things, answering their questions by exploring. Children engage their heads, hearts, and hands (thinking, feeling, and doing).
  • Child-Led Learning / Play: This method fosters independence as children work at their own pace and decide when they are ready to begin new lessons, and they can control their own schedule (for the most part). They can take on leadership roles in their own lives, learning how to manage their confidence and gain a positive self-image. Through play and projects, they learn how to break down tasks into manageable sections and decide how much time it will take to complete each. They learn their strengths and weaknesses for themselves, instead of being told what they are by an adult.
  • Parent-Led Baby Schedules: Parents determine the eat, sleep, and play schedule that is repeated regularly throughout the day. Those who practice the routine believe that it helps babies/toddlers develop their internal clocks, and it narrows down what could be wrong if a baby is fussy, because their needs are met on a routine, cyclical basis. Proponents believe that this structure is helpful, while critics argue that parents may not be getting their own needs met in this scenario.
  • RIE Parenting: The RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) method’s goal is for children to be “authentic”, independent, and secure. Parents see that children of all ages deserve dignity and respect, and they treat them as smart and capable, giving them freedom and space. From the earliest age, parents talk to their children as they would adults, explaining everything, welcoming feelings, and giving them individuality – not a one-size fits all parenting approach. You also make sure they have safe spaces to explore on their own. There are boundaries, and children have consequences, rather than punishments.
  • Attachment Parenting: This method is employed to create a secure attachment. It involves constant physical closeness, carrying the baby on your body (using a sling), co-sleeping, immediate responsiveness to cries, and long-term breastfeeding. The goal is to provide the baby with confidence and help them regulate their emotions in the long run.
  • Free-Range Parenting: This practice is about autonomy, not neglect. Parents provide unscheduled activities and unsupervised time to let them “be kids”, particularly in nature. Children have freedom, make choices, solve problems, and have natural consequences. Parents can still be safety-conscious, but they are not fearful. The goal is independence, and ultimately having the skills needed to be a responsible adult.
  • Montessori: When families choose this option, they take a step back, respecting their child, serving as a guide, but giving them space with loose boundaries to explore, imagine, and create. Parents model good behavior but don’t jump in to help with conflicts or solve their problems, because children learn to solve them independently, learning cause and effect, and developing a sense of self. Parents observe what interests and activities children gravitate towards, encourage that curiosity, and provide additional opportunities for children to fuel their desire and develop their abilities.

In the ever-evolving landscape of parenting, understanding various philosophies is crucial for nannies to meet the diverse needs of modern families. By familiarizing themselves with popular parenting styles, nannies can better align their caregiving approaches with the expectations of parents, fostering a harmonious environment for children’s growth and development.