Life is a constant pursuit of balance to achieve health and happiness. And with fatherhood, maintaining balance is significant, from caring for a newborn to raising a teenager. It's a tough job, but "Goldilocks" parents, in particular, know how to do the parenting thing just right.
The Goldilocks Method focuses on a parenting style created to strike a healthy, happy balance between being overly involved or too under-involved. It's about finding balanced parenting techniques that are "just right" for your family. Finding a middle ground isn't always easy, but the following Goldilocks tips for different scenarios and phases of parenting can help, starting with the newborn stage.
For many new fathers, caring for baby is an entirely new concept. Sleep time temperature awareness is crucial. When preparing baby for sleep, SwaddleDesigns recommends using The Goldilocks Guide® and states that a baby should not be too hot or too cold, but just right—comfortably warm.
Lynette Damir, RN and founder of SwaddleDesigns created the Goldilocks Guide to make it easy for parents to remember that it is important to not underdress or overbundle baby for sleep. SwaddleDesigns follows the AAP guideline to dress your baby in no more than one layer more than you would wear in the same environment. For sleep time, your little one's head should be uncovered and hands and feet should be pink and warm. The SwaddleDesigns Safe Sleep Program offers more tips about thermal comfort and temperature regulation to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
The Helicopter Parent
Babies are needy, delicate creatures. But now your baby has now grown into a miniature human walking around exercising free will and curiosity. It's hard to not hover over their every move and put "no" on auto-repeat. Be cautious though, as you may cross over into "helicopter parenting" territory.
Helicopter parents overly protect their children, which can prevent them from gaining confidence and self-reliance. Failure and disappointment teaches resilience and helps develop self-esteem. Tim Sullivan shares on KC Parent that helicopter parents also often sign their kids up for activities without room for them to play or pursue their own interests. Practice the Goldilocks rule—support and encourage children, rather than control them. Help your children when they fall, rather than keep them from the experience of falling. Provide guidance, rather than lay down a path they should follow.
Discipline & Engagement
Balanced parenting can help little ones find their own way, and also foster healthy discipline as they grow into their teens. Discipline is an essential part of parenting that can teeter on being too lenient and detached or overly restrictive. The right amount of discipline protects kids from danger and teaches responsibility, values and self-control. Excessively strict and rigid rules can repress children and inhibit decision-making skills. Eventually, they'll turn defensive and even rebellious. On the other hand, a "no-rules" environment can create even more defiance. Kids inherently want structure and order. They may lash out as a cry for more parental involvement.
Rachel Young, M.D. recommends a Goldilocks strategy on Patch that provides your child with reasonable, limited choices. Allow kids to make decisions under clear and consistent limitations, depending on their age. Explain the consequences and follow through. Make sure to praise your child for good behavior and set a good example by behaving how you expect your child to behave. By the time your kids enter their teens, you'll have mastered the art of Goldilocks parenting. Balanced engagement allows teens to have positive teenage experiences (without distrust, resentment and even entitlement) as they enter adulthood.