Conscious parenting

Have you ever stopped to think about your parenting style? Or do you just do it without giving it too much thought?

Parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness without pausing to think about how you are actually parenting.

Conscious parenting is when a parent or caregiver makes intentional decisions about how they want to parent their child.

Parents and caregivers often parent the way they were parented – good and bad – without realising they are doing it.

Conscious parenting is about thinking about your style of parenting and making changes if and where needed.

What different parenting styles are there?

The SKIP resource Conscious Parenting: Module One identifies three styles of parenting and some examples of a child’s likely behaviour as a result of that style. Many parents use more than one style, depending on their circumstances or situation.

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1. The rock

The rock style of parenting (also known as brick wall) has strict rules that are rigidly enforced with unquestioning obedience expected. It emphasises respect for authority without giving reasons or understanding.

Child’s likely behaviour: Doubts own abilities, slow in building self-confidence and resilience. 

2. The tree

The tree style (also known as backbone) has a firm setting of and sticking to limits. Children are allowed freedom while clear standards for behaviour are set. Children’s views are listened to and reason is used.

Child’s likely behaviour: Self-motivated, good self-esteem, respectful of others.

3. The paper

The paper style (also known as jellyfish) lacks boundaries or limits. Conflict is avoided at all costs, especially if the child is getting upset. Parents tend to rescue their child so the child avoids failure and disappointment.

Child’s likely behaviour: Insecure and overly dependent, less able to tolerate frustrations, unaware of how their actions affect others.

Find out your parenting style: take the SKIP parenting style quiz

So how do you become a conscious parent?

Research has identified five stages of becoming a conscious parent. They are:

Stage 1: Unaware
Stage 2: Becoming aware
Stage 3: Ready to change
Stage 4: Taking action
Stage 5: Maintaining change.

The key is to identify areas in your parenting you haven’t been aware of and to make changes if needed.

For more information on conscious parenting, visit SKIP NZ 


  1. Thinking about parenting Parenting Resource, NZ
  2. Conscious parenting SKIP, NZ
  3. Thinking about parenting SKIP, NZ