The Trend Toward
First-time parents are oh-so gentle and careful in everything they do for their new-born. They hold their baby as if it were made of porcelain capable of breaking if they do it wrong. They speak in whispers while baby is sleeping, walk around on tip toe so as not to startle it, and monitor every breath, bowel movement, and coo as if each had great portent. Each milestone, like the first time baby rolls over, is a cause for celebration and warrants immediate recording in baby’s book. The temperature of baby’s room is monitored, and pacifiers that touch any surface are immediately washed and disinfected. By the time the third child comes along, however, they’ve relaxed, understanding their baby won’t break and germs are inevitable.
Some millennials have decided to drop the helicopter-style of parenting with their first child and go right to the more relaxed “third-child” style. This doesn’t mean they are any less concerned for their child’s well-being, it only means they are doing away with micromanaging their child’s life, and, in the long run, encouraging greater independence.
Here are a few reasons some parents give for adopting third-child-style parenting from the outset:
Life Is an Adventure You Share
When a lot of time is spent worrying, planning, and scheduling, there isn’t much time left, in a household where both parents work, to just enjoy life together. When you stop being obsessive about your children’s lives, you have more time to spend living life with them. Instead of tailoring their lives to look a certain way, you let them develop and share the adventure with them.
You Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
All parents worry about their children. They want them to be happy well-rounded human beings who will become active productive members of society and live life to the fullest. Third-child-style parents are no different. However, they believe parents can’t account for all the variables in life that will impact their children. They might go crazy doing so. That understanding is liberating for them and allows them to concentrate more on the present and the bigger picture.
You Have Happier More Independent Children
Because they are not hovering over their children or catering to them, third-child-style parents believe they are giving children the ability to be more independent by allowing them to make some of their own decisions and encouraging them to do some things for themselves. Third-child-style parents also believe they aren’t responsible for every minute of their child’s daily entertainment. Free play, which is endorsed by many experts, is encouraged. By giving their children time to themselves to play, create, and have fun, they believe their children are happier and more content. They also feel more relaxed when joining their children in play, understanding they don’t have to make each moment magical for them. Instead, they allow things to play out naturally.
You Are the Captain of the Ship
Third-child-style parents believe that when they let go of obsessing and micromanaging they gain power and step up as leaders of the household. Rules and boundaries are part of their parenting style, and they have no problem enforcing them. As a matter of fact, they see this practice as a plus for their children. Because the children know who’s in command, they feel more secure. Children also need to learn consequences because there are always consequences in life. Consistency is as important in this style of parenting as it is in others.
A less hands-on approach than helicopter parenting, but a no less caring one, third-child-style parenting encourages parents to give children more time to themselves, let them create their own entertainment, allow them to figure out for themselves what their interests are, and let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. It also gives parents confidence to set rules and boundaries within that framework so children feel secure knowing their parents are in charge.