Welcome back! Today we are tackling another parenting style known as ‘lazy parenting’. No, this isn’t a parent sitting around eating donuts all day! It’s a bit more nuanced than that 🙂
What are the qualifications of the perfect parent? Is it someone who makes snacks for their kids’ soccer team? Is it the parents that stay up late taking temperatures and making soup when their kids are sick? Is it even possible to be a perfect parent?
The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all parenting technique. Parenting is a challenge despite the method you choose. With the advancements in modern technology and education, there are infinite ways to teach your children important life lessons.
With the large variety of available parenting tools, raising children comes with lots of pressure. Am I observant enough? Are my children learning enough? The overwhelming amount of parenting resources combined with wanting to be a perfect parent can be stressful and discouraging.
There’s been a lot of talk around parenting techniques. A recurring topic among the parenting community is a technique called lazy parenting. Based on its name, it’s a polarizing topic. Once you understand the premise behind being a lazy parent, it may even encourage you to adopt some of its practices.
What is Lazy-Style Parenting?
Lazy-style parenting is a concept that allows parents to be present for children without hovering. Rather than holding their hand through every minute of their lives, you allow your children to make their own decisions and intervene when they need assistance. Lazy-style parenting allows children to create their own identity, gain confidence, and learn problem-solving skills.
Children are naturally curious. In cases where their curiosity becomes harmful, it’s important for parents to get involved. It is, however, necessary for children to have the ability to explore. It’s essential to their overall growth.
When you think of the word lazy, it’s unlikely a positive thought comes to mind. In fact, you probably associate lazy parenting to neglect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Lazy-style parenting works as a healthier alternative to helicopter parenting, which involves watching your child’s every move. This Lazy-style is basically offers a potantially better balance of parenting.
How Exactly Do You “Lazy Parent”?
Some struggle with the concept of lazy parenting. Think of this method like running a restaurant. In every restaurant, there’s a chain of command. The person who oversees the restaurant is the manager.
Typically, the entry-level employees are responsible for handling the everyday store operations. Once they’re trained, the manager allows them to perform their jobs as they tend to higher-level restaurant tasks.
Now, imagine you’re the manager of a fast-food restaurant and a customer calls in a large delivery order. There’s also a line in the store waiting for service. Instead of taking care of managerial tasks, you decide to make the food, take orders, and deliver the food.
That scenario sounds odd, right? Well, that’s what helicopter parenting looks like. As a so-called lazy parent, you’d allow your children, which act as the entry-level employees, to handle the responsibilities of their ‘job’. If at any point your child is struggling or overwhelmed, you can intervene.
Now consider everything on your parenting plate. Of course, you have to feed, bathe, and clothe your children. This is in addition to maintaining your household. Your day-to-day tasks are tiring as it is. When you decide to obligate yourself to completing your responsibilities and hovering over your children, there are a few outcomes.
Either the quality of your tasks will suffer, you’ll try grooming your children into existing around your responsibilities, or even both. Most kids, however, do not enjoy following their parents around for the sake of being monitored.
Helicopter parenting is also a hindrance because your child builds a dependency on your approval. Over time, you’re training your child to wait for your rubber stamp to do tasks you believe to be within their range of development.
What are the Pros and Cons of Lazy Parenting Style?
If you’re still on the fence about utilizing this parenting style, simply weigh the pros and cons. Once you understand both the positive and negative aspects of being a lazy parent, you can make a decision on if it’s for you.
Lazy Parenting Style Pros
1. You can get things done.
One of the many benefits of being a lazy parent is productivity. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually true. Say, for example, you’re in your backyard. If you don’t see any visible threats, you can relax and read a book or write as your child does their own thing.
Of course, you’re constantly checking to make sure everything is okay. You can accomplish this at a distance, though. Once you’re ready to go in and complete another task, your child has already run out a great deal of their energy.
2. Your child will gain confidence.
Think back to the first time you did something on your own. Maybe you went to the bathroom or tied your shoe for the first time. Wasn’t it special because you accomplished something by yourself?
Imagine the confidence your child will build learning to do things on their own. Moreover, their first accomplishment will inspire many more, opposed of forcing their growth and development. When children lack confidence, their development falls behind. Show them you have confidence in them by allowing them to build their own.
3. It helps them tap into their creativity.
Have you ever been in class and gotten an assignment where you had complete creative control? Do you remember the excitement you felt expressing yourself? That’s the way your children feel when they get to be creative. There is nothing like the imagination of a child. When you give them room to express it, they can even teach you something.
Allowing them to express themselves can actually improve your relationship. When you let your children creatively take charge, there’s room for you to participate without taking over. Tag along for their secret missions or their visits to a fairy wonderland. Whatever you do, encourage them to express themselves.
Cons of the Lazy Parenting Style
1. Greater risk of injury.
Sometimes, it can get a bit risky allowing children to call the shots. While allowing them to make their own decisions gives them independence, it also makes them more susceptible to injuries. Even being within earshot can make it difficult to intervene before an injury occurs. Although, for me personally, I see this as not so bad. Your child will learn from their own mistakes. If they break a leg jumping from a tree, they probably will take more care next time. Risk is an inherent part of learning in my view.
2. It can take a bit of time for your children to find their groove.
Depending on how old your kids are, they’ll need a bit of practice being independent before they make good choices. This is normal. It just means you have to supervise for a while before allowing them to take the reins.
3. This style may hurt your reputation.
Although you consider your parenting style productive, other people may see it as, well, laziness. Allowing them to make their own decisions may be a cause of concern, especially for their safety. People who haven’t heard of this parenting technique may consider it irresponsible or even bordering on neglect. Keep this in mind when you’re in public.
Lazy Parenting Examples
Explaining this concept can get tricky. It’s easier to understand through lazy parenting examples.
Say you’re engaged in an important conversation and need to occupy your child until you’re finished. You can either turn on a movie or an interactive learning game. Once you’re finished with your call, you may even have time to complete another task as they’re engaged in the activity.
Another example is meal prep. In the morning, set out some breakfast options for them and allow them to prepare their own breakfast. Be sure to pre-portion each ingredient to control waste. If you plan to step away for a bit, make sure you put away anything that can burn or injure them.
Finally, if you go to a playground, take a seat and observe them from the bench. It’s okay if they venture out, as long as you can see them. Since you’re not following them throughout the park, take a few minutes to inspect the area for any hazardous materials. It’s also wise to develop signals your children understand. For example, to easily tell them to come back to you or that it’s time to leave.
Guide to Lazy Parenting
If you want to try this parenting style but don’t know where to begin, there are some basic rules to get into the swing of things. Follow this guide to lazy parenting and give both you and your children some much-needed freedom.
1. Set boundaries.
Like any successful parenting style, lazy parents must set guidelines. Start by setting boundaries for your children. Over time, grant them more freedoms based on their ability to operate within your rules.
2. Utilize the 3 T’s systems.
In the beginning stages, it’s smart to create a checklist to ensure you hit the basic lazy parent requirements. You can use a popular blueprint called the “3 T’s System”. This stands for teaching problem solving, thinking ahead, and taking your time.
When teaching problem solving, give your child a problem to solve every day. Start with little tasks and increase the difficulty as they get comfortable. Once completed, make sure you praise them for working it out (or if they fail for simply trying).
Thinking ahead involves calculating any potential risks and outcomes. Think about what your child will learn, even if they experience a challenge. For instance, they may catch a cold if they play in the rain without a hat, but next time they’ll use that lesson to remember one.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your parenting techniques. Don’t feel discouraged if your child doesn’t catch on quickly. This parenting style takes time for both you and your child to embrace.
3. Don’t let your fears hinder their independence.
As a parent, it’s your job to protect your children’s wellbeing. It’s unhealthy, however, to raise them based on your fears. Sure, there will be times to proceed with caution, however, put your fears aside and let your children find themselves. Accept the possibility of small injuries and issues that come along with giving your children freedom. A scrape or bruise fades, but their confidence will last.
4. Let them cry.
Kids cry. As a parent, it’s instinctual to comfort them when they’re upset. As they get older, it’s important to let them cry for a little while. This teaches them to self-soothe. If there’s an emergency situation, of course it’s okay to assess the situation and care for them. Otherwise, give them time to calm down on their own.
Find Your Parenting Groove!
Parenting, regardless of age, can be difficult. It’s natural to struggle with finding a parenting style. You don’t want to hover over them or constantly ignore them. A great and healthy way to raise your children is the lazy parent style. With your supervision, this gives your children the space to learn self-sufficiency, confidence, and troubleshooting.
Of course, lazy-style parenting isn’t perfected overnight. It takes time, patience, and confidence in your children to allow them to be a part of their personal development. In addition to giving them a sense of identity, being a lazy parent allows you to accomplish your duties outside of being a parent. Whether you need to make a phone call or do the dishes, this parenting technique allows you to complete necessary tasks without interfering with your children’s activity.
Parenting is a journey, and so is this style. It takes time to perfect anything, so don’t feel discouraged if your child isn’t immediately progressing. Throughout the process, remember to encourage and praise your children. Empowering them to make healthy decisions, strengthens your relationship as they continue to learn about themselves.
And you don’t have to follow one parenting style religiously, you can take elements from different ones that you like and suit your situation.