5 "Dadfinitions" for Common Parenting Terms

This Father's Day, get hip to dad's parenting lingo, so you can talk to him in his very own language—mis-communication be gone forever! 

By Chris Illuminati

Authoritative Parenting, the Dadfinition: Authoritative parenting is a middle-of-the-road parenting style that every mother and father hopes to adopt. Parents want to believe they approach parenting with a democratic philosophy, but try as they may, most parents tend to lean either towards authoritarian or permissive parenting. Why? Well, it’s incredibly difficult to approach every situation with a child with a democratic mindset. First off, kids lie like hell. Adults lie! Why wouldn’t a child? Even if you want to treat a kid like an adult, she’s going to do anything to cover her butt. Authoritative parenting gives a kid the benefit of the doubt until the kid screws up for the hundredth time.

Modern Mothering Styles, the Dadfinition: A modern mom is a woman who does what she feels is best for the baby and for her way of life. These three styles are as much a reflection on the way the modern mom feels about the Earth as they are on the way she believes a child should be raised.

It’s easy to figure out what type of mom your partner will be well before the baby arrives. Is she a workaholic who will put as much passion into raising her child as she did climbing the ladder? Does she shop at Ann Taylor? Does she want both a family and a career? She’s silky.

Did you meet your partner at a Phish concert? Did she try to talk you into naming your child after a Phish song? Does she look like the lead singer of Phish? She’s crunchy.

Does your partner work incredibly hard and is on the fast track to management even though she spent every weekend of her twenties ripping bong hits in her Phish 2004 tour shirt while binge watching Bravo marathons? She’s scrunchy.

Co-parenting, the Dadfinition: Co-parenting is a situation where mom and dad pretend to like each other for the sake of the children. Co-parenting, even if mom and dad are just pretending to tolerate one another, is obviously the healthier option when compared to the “every other weekend” parenting style popular in previous decades. With co-parenting there’s no verbally bashing the opposite parent or futilely attempting to become the favorite parent when you have the kid over Christmas break.

You’ll run into far more couples who are co-parenting than you ever imagined, but these couples won’t always seem obvious. If you’re looking for the co-parenting couple in the crowd, just look for the mother and father who really get along and don’t hang out together very often. Basically, look for the parents who seem happy.

Attachment Parenting, the Dadfinition: Attachment parenting is an intense parenting style that can cause even the most patient parents to throw up their hands. It calls for mom and dad to take on a ton of responsibility for the kids without allowing for a support network of friends, family, or just a babysitter to come over so mom and dad can go live a little.

Another difficulty that may arise in attachment parenting is that, while it could be beneficial for the child because of the bond to the parent that it creates, it might actually cause the child to take a little bit longer to venture out on his own. It might take him, well, forever. Attachment parenting might also crush a parent’s will to be an individual with his own personal interests because he’s too busy being everything to his child.

That said, if you can handle it, consider giving attachment parenting a try. If you can’t, it’s fine to take parts of this parenting style and mix and match them into what works for you as you see fit. No parenting style is perfect.

Fictional but Funny off(spring) break: A break you take from your kids where you talk about getting drunk and naked with your partner but really just go to Ikea for four blissful hours and to a restaurant without a children’s menu. It’s almost as good as sex.

Snowplow Parent, the Dadfinition: Snowplow parents are very much like another tool used to remove snow from a specific area. Here’s another hint—both blow very hard. It’s fitting that parents who’ll do anything to remove obstacles from their kid’s path are called snowplow parents because think of the typical snowplow and all of the other work it creates just to remove a pile of snow. Sure, the snow is moved from one spot, but it’s pushed into other areas where it just has to be moved again (like the end of your driveway . . . ).

The same goes for snowplow parents. Sure, they get one issue out of their kid’s way, but more issues just pile up as they go.


Excerpted from The New Dad Dictionary by Chris Illuminati. Copyright © 2015 F+W/Adams Media. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photograph via Flicker: joeandsarah and Creative Commons