5 Millennial Parenting Styles as Told Through GIFs

Know a helicopter or a lawnmower parent in your life? See which parenting styles are hitting a chord (or a nerve) with today’s moms and dads.
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profile picture of Ashlee Neuman
Content Director
September 11, 2017
Marge Simpson with Bart, Lisa, and Maggie
Image: Courtesy of Fox

When it comes to parenting styles, the saying “different strokes for different folks” definitely applies. And while no two parents parent alike, certain child-rearing trends gain popularity with each generation of moms and dads. Authoritarian vs. absentee parenting styles? That’s so last generation. Here’s a guide to what today’s parenting styles look like, as illustrated through GIFs.

Helicopter Parenting

No doubt about it, it’s a dangerous, dog-eat-dog world out there. Kids could bump their heads on the playground, get their feelings hurt during a playdate, or—nightmares of nightmares—not get into the right daycare, which ruins their shot at a decent preschool, which means you can forget about a good middle school or competitive high school, which means a top college is a no-go, and basically their entire future is ruined. To make sure their children stay safe—and on the path to success—helicopter parents are known to closely hover and constantly intervene. Because if you want something done right, you’ve got to do everything yourself—right?

Lawnmower Parenting

Why hover from above when you can be on the ground, clearing the path for your kid? Considered the next-gen of helicopter parents, these moms are set on weed-whacking all obstacles in their child’s path to success. Play date fights aren’t happening on her watch—not when she’s hand-selected the right kind of friends for her kid. And that teacher who didn’t see the brilliance of her child’s classwork? He’s already had a talking to.


While some parents like to be on top of everything, others hang way (way) back. Under-parenting is free-range parenting—as in raising independent kids with little parental supervision—taken to the extreme. Wielding the argument that today’s kids need more freedom, they prefer to stay uninvolved in their children’s lives. Let kids be kids and do what they want—who has the time (or inclination) to say otherwise? Not under-parents, that’s for sure.

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Tiger Parenting

It’s the modern-day version of authoritarian parenting, where mom rules by strict decree, demanding nothing but the best from her children. Keeping her eye on the prize of academic achievement, she’s all about rigorous routines and outstanding results. Whether she’s calling for her kids to double down on homework or practice that cello piece for the 45th time, you better believe you’re gonna hear her roar if her kid isn’t following the prescribed schedule.

Outsource Parenting

When you don’t feel like doing something yourself, hire someone to do it for you. Don’t feel like cooking or dialing for food delivery? Seamless to the rescue. Can’t deal with your closet clutter? A personal organizer will sort it out for you. Not up for coaxing your toddler to use the toilet? Call a potty trainer. From night nurses to babyproofers and sleep trainers to discipline coaches, outsourcer parents have tapped into the web’s deep digital rolodex of professional services so they barely have to lift a finger. Who knew raising kids could be so easy?

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