There is no end to the types of parenting styles society has arbitrarily created. I mean, we have helicopter parents, free-range parents, crunchy parents, silky parents, hippie parents, and, well, you get the idea. Now there's another parenting style to add to the list: lighthouse parents. Lighthouse parenting is a balance between free-range and helicopter parenting, and you better believe there are a few tell-tale signs you're actually a lighthouse parent. Parents using the lighthouse approach to parenting offer guidance and more structure, while free-range parenting is completely hands-off and helicopter parenting is entirely hands-on.
In his book, Raising Kids To Thrive, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, a developmental psychologist, professor of pediatrics, and author, claims that "parents should be lighthouses for their children, visible from the shoreline as a stable light or beacon." Dr. Ginsburg continues to explain that lighthouse parents "make sure their children don't crash against the rocks, yet allow them to ride the waves even if they get a little choppy sometimes." I know labels can be annoying and unnecessary in the parenting world (and in the world in general), but I often find it easier to label myself instead of having to explain everything I do as a parent. If someone tells me they consider themselves a free-range parent, I get it and I don't feel the need to ask any more questions. I realize labels oversimplify people into categories, but sometimes the oversimplification also makes our lives easier, which is why we do it. To me, parenting labels aren't offensive but are, instead, here to help us understand each other.
I didn't realize I was a lighthouse parent until very recently. I knew I was definitely not a helicopter parent (too lazy) and I don't consider myself entirely free-range (I'd have a panic attack before I let my 8-year-old daughter ride the bus by herself) either. So when I heard the term "lighthouse," I had to learn more about it. Lighthouse parenting seems like the common sense approach to parenting. I find value in its philosophy and I now have a simple name for my style of parenting. So if the following applies to you, you're probably a lighthouse parent, too: