So long Helicopter, now it’s all about the Koala mum… the new parenting tribes revealed

MOVE over helicopter mums, there’s now a whole new generation of parent tribes around – from the koalas to the drones…

If you have heard of ‘helicopter parenting’, where mums and dads hover over their child’s every move, this latest label takes parenting one step further.

The Koala mums



Pink supports attachment style parenting where children like to be held – and don’t like to be apart from their mums.Credit: Getty

Koala mums’ parenting promotes a close attachment between parents and babies – earning its name from the similarity between a mum koala with her young joeys hanging off her back.

It’s a form of attachment parenting where children like to be held – and don’t like to be apart from their mums.

The phrase attachment parenting was coined by British psychologist John Bowlby.

His research “showed that a secure attachment in infancy and early childhood ultimately allows people to become independent and form good relationships with others.”

It suggests that a baby who is held lots – like a koala – will feel more secure and be more independent as they get older.

Pop superstar Pink, who is mum to 10-year-old Willow and four-year-old Jameson, looks like she follows a koala mum version of attachment parenting.

In an interview with Essential Baby, Pink, now 42, said: “I support attachment parenting 100 percent and have a very happy and healthy little girl to show for it.”

Founder of Guide Education, Leon Hady said: “Koala parenting is also known as attachment parenting; it’s when you start to form a particularly close bond from birth.

“So think skin on skin immediately from the womb, breastfeeding as long as possible, sleeping with your baby close by and co/sleeping when it’s safe to do so, babywearing, believing in the language of a baby’s cry and reacting immediately.”

The Drone

If you’ve never heard of drone parenting before, it’s essentially a version of helicopter parenting that is magnified a whole lot.

Drone parents are obsessively involved in the lives of their children and are able to manage their child’s behaviour and lifestyle from a distance.

Drone parents are able to intercept their child’s life and interfere with their decision making without physically hovering over their every move.

Suze Patel, Co-Founder of Nini Baby said: “Drone parents are said to be ‘obsessively involved’ in their children’s lives. This is thought to be a highly-focused form of parenting and can appear overbearing.

“Although, I would like to emphasise that this is an assumption and whilst every parent is different, so is each individual circumstance.

“In some situations, more hands-on parenting may be required; this should be left to the discretion of the parent.”

Free Range

Free range parenting is a philosophy by Lenore Skenazy, who became known as ‘America’s Worst Mum’ after she revealed her nine-year-old son was allowed to catch the subway alone.

The free range tribe of parenting teaches kids to find their own way and roam freely.

Ms Skenazy believes that children ought to learn responsibility and independence early.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are thought to have adopted the free range parenting style with their kids Jaden and Willow.

In an interview in 2013, Will revealed: “We don’t do punishment. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives.

“Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been—it has a little too much of a negative quality.

WIll and Jada teach their kids to find their own way and roam freely


WIll and Jada teach their kids to find their own way and roam freelyCredit: Getty

“So when they do things—and you know, Jaden, he’s done things—you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life.”

Expert Suze from Nini Baby added: “Free range parenting, as its name would suggest, encourages children to live independently and with minimal parental supervision (in accordance with their age, developmental stage and personal capabilities).

“This is thought to be the exact opposite of helicopter parenting.

“Free range parenting examples include allowing your child to walk to school alone and use public transportation independently.”

The Lighthouse

Lighthouse parenting is a style coined by the US paediatrician, Dr Kenneth Ginsburg.

According to Mr Ginsburg, parents should be “beacons of light on a stable shoreline from which children can safely navigate the world.

“We must make certain they don’t crash against the rocks, but trust they have the capacity to learn to ride the waves on their own.”

A lighthouse mum acts as a ‘lighthouse’ to her children – always guiding them in the right direction and watching them from the sidelines.

An example of a celebrity lighthouse mum could be Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

George, Charlotte and Louis are always so well-behaved in public and it’s thanks to their mum.

Kate always guides her children in the right direction


Kate always guides her children in the right directionCredit: Splash

Broadcaster Sue Atkins previously told Fabulous: “Lighthouse parents provide a strong place of certainty in the storm for their children – a light that guides them, to make sure that they don’t hit the rocks.

“They are parents who set guidelines for their children while giving them enough freedom to be themselves.

“The Duke and Duchess have talked about disciplining their children by means of a ‘sofa chat’ which is a typical ‘lighthouse’ style of guiding, and nurturing the children towards acceptable behaviour.”

Expert Leon Hady added: “Lighthouse parenting was a term coined by Dr Kenneth Ginsbury in his book raising kids to thrive.

“Being a lighthouse parent is about trust, and understanding, never shouting if a mistake has been made but discussing it in a calm and sensible manner.

“Key points are setting limits with good boundaries, reasoning in a calm manner, supporting your child if it’s needed and responding to their emotional needs.”

Meanwhile expert Suze commented: “Lighthouse parenting examples include open communication, not being overprotective, loving unconditionally and showing clear trust.”

The Lawnmower

The lawnmower style of parenting is when mums and dads remove any difficulty from their child’s path – similar to pushing snow out of a path or mowing the grass away.

Some parents adopt this style as they want to ensure their child succeeds.

The term ‘lawnmower mum’ was coined by the We Are Teachers blog, and is defined as “parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure.

They are described as: “Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.”

A prime example of lawnmower parenting is the recent celebrity-college acceptance scandal involving Full House’s Lori Loughlin and Lynette of Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman.

Felicity Huffman was accused of paying to have her kids’ SAT scores doctored


Felicity Huffman was accused of paying to have her kids’ SAT scores doctoredCredit: Getty

Loughlin and Huffman were accused of doing things like paying to have their kids’ SAT scores doctored or athletic accomplishments fabricated to help get their kids into top colleges.

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