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Beyond Tiger Moms and Attachment Dads

7 Seattle-area parents share how their stories shape their parenting style

Kristin Leong headshot
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Published on: May 29, 2024

Local Instagram Influencer ash Haynes stands for a portrait with her family in Tacoma, WA
Photo:
The Haynes family stands for a portrait in front of a mural on the corner of 12th and MLK in Tacoma, Wash. Mom Tash Haynes (far left) is a local Instagram influencer, balancing family life with the perks and challenges of social media. Credit: Tash and Ike Haynes

Simple categories, complex reality

Does reading bedtime stories to your toddler make you an attachment parent? Does saying no to SnapChat on your teen’s cell phone make you a helicopter parent? Is there a Tacoma parenting style that’s distinctly different from how families are raising children on the Eastside?

For most of us, our parenting approaches defy easy categorization and change over time as our kids get older and family needs shift.

From four parenting styles to infant influencers

For nearly 60 years, four main child rearing styles have been emphasized in parenting discourse: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful.

These first three styles were initially defined in the mid-1960s by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind. Following the work of Stanford researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin on parent-child interaction in the 1980s, Baumrind added the fourth category to account for homes where parents were largely uninvolved with the care of their children.

Putting aside the anti-Asian implications of the term “Tiger Mom” for a moment, many of the parenting labels currently flooding family discourse — from gentle parenting to lighthouse parenting — seem to be new names for approaches that are variations on Baumrind’s original four categories. The discourse may be spiraling, but the direction towards one heavy question is clear: What kind of parent are you?

In today’s world of Instagram infant influencers and Bean Dad controversy, pressure on parents is high to appear to get the answer right. Whether you’re a new parent or grand one, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

Real Puget Sound parents share their stories

I spoke with parents from across our Puget Sound region, and this is what a few of them had to say about what baby care and teen wrangling looks like in their real lives, no simple or correct responses required.

Meet all seven of our Seattle-area families: 

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