I’ve been labeled by some as a hands-off parent. I don’t get too worried if my daughter misses one meal or sleeps past her bedtime on occasion. I am not constantly hovering over her, marking her every move.  At the park, I sit on a bench, watching her climb on the slide that is a little too high for her, but I don’t immediately get on my feet and run towards her, because I  know she will get down on her own when she realizes it may be too much for her four year old limbs. I even forget to apply the sunscreen sometimes or forget the water bottle at home. In other instances, my daughter eats microwave macaroni, sips some of my soda, and watches cartoons for a couple of hours.

At this point, some parents might be appalled at some of my choices in raising my child. Before you stop reading, please consider some of my other parenting skills. I drive my daughter to school every morning and pick her up in the afternoon. I volunteer at her school for her craft projects and set up playdates so she can mingle with children her own age. I gave up my career as a lawyer so I would ensure that I would available for her at all times, whether at school or at home.  Every week, she eats fresh veggies, fruits, and homemade Indian food. Some would call this hands-on parenting or being too involved in my daughter’s upbringing.

I offer this comparison because labeling parenting styles is a dangerous business. Which way is right? Hands-on or hands off? I don’t know. I think raising children is a a little bit of a risky and uncertain venture, much like getting married. There is a certain amount of luck involved in these relationships. You may do everything you deem is correct or the right way, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee an outcome. So passing judgment on a parent based on his or her parenting style is antiquated thinking.  I know I have been guilty in participating in this type of thinking too. I’ve realized one important thing. I may not be parenting the “right” way according to one parent, but does that make it wrong? Unless it is common sense wrongs, like neglect, starvation, and abuse, I don’t think so. There is so much grey area when it comes to parenting,not any one way ensures optimal success.

I am trying to figure things out much like every other parent. The next time you think a parent is doing something “wrong”,  remember we are all hoping that our  parental moves will guide our children into becoming an ideal adult. But whose ideal?  Do you see the dilemma?