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The top 10 parenting questions you Googled in 2017—answered

7. What is authoritative parenting?

The top 10 parenting questions you Googled in 2017—answered

Let’s face it—no matter how much we trust our pediatricians, love our mothers and value our friends, Dr. Google is still our go-to resource for all the things—especially when it comes to parenting.


So we scoured the web and found the 10 most frequently asked parenting questions you asked Google... and answered them:

1. What is attachment parenting?

Attachment Parenting International defines attachment parenting as “an approach to childrearing that promotes a secure attachment bond between parents and their children. Attachment is a scientific term for the emotional bond in a relationship.

“How parents develop a secure attachment with their child lies in the parent's ability to fulfill that child's need for trust, empathy, and affection by providing consistent, loving, and responsive care. By demonstrating healthy and positive relationship skills, the parent Provides critical emotional scaffolding for the child to learn essential self-regulatory skills.”

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Here are some of our favorite articles about attachment parenting:

You can’t love too much: How secure attachment helps kids thrive
The good news about infant attachment—you’re probably already doing it
It’s science: Having a secure attachment with your kids helps make them smarter

2. What is a custodial parent?

The custodial parent is the parent with whom a child lives most of the time. This is usually determined in court with the help of a child custody attorney.

Custodial parents are generally the ones responsible for more of the day-to-day care of the child (getting them off to school, homework, doctor appointment, etc), but certainly this varies by family.

Check out Single mamas are raising awesome kids—and research confirms it

3. What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is also called joint or shared parenting. It refers to parents who are both involved in the parenting responsibilities of raising a child, but are not in a romantic relationship together, and usually not living together. Co-parenting usually occurs when parents are divorced or separated (but not always, it depends on the family).

Franziska Foerster writes that “sharing custody means sharing a child. It means sharing a child’s life.”

To learn tips about how to co-parent, read The 4 co-parenting secrets that made my whole family happy.

4. What is a Godparent?

A Godparent is someone chosen by a child’s parents to accept an extra level of responsibility and involvement in raising the child. The term is often used in Christianity and refers to someone who is present at a child’s Baptism, but it can also be used to describe people who will become guardians of a child should something happen to the parents.

Many parents choose their own siblings or close friends to be their children’s Godparents.

If you have a sister who’s super involved in your child’s life, you’ll love To my sister, you’ve guided my way through motherhood.

5. What is helicopter parenting?

Helicopter parenting is when a parent "hovers” over a child’s life, often to the point of over-involvement and over-protectiveness.

Certainly this comes from a place of love, though research has found that the children of “helicopter parents” are more likely to be anxious and have learning difficulties, especially as they get older and the parents are no longer as involved in their lives.

To learn more about what it’s like, read I’m the helicopter mom I ‘never’ wanted to be. And it isn’t so bad, after all.

6. What is a narcissistic parent?

Preston Ni of Psychology Today reports that “a narcissistic parent can be defined as someone who lives through, is possessive of, and/or engages in marginalizing competition with the offspring.”

They may have an inflated self-ego, be very concerned about appearances, and have an inflexible and controlling style of parenting.

This style of parenting can have consequences for children, so professional mental health therapy is strongly recommended for everyone involved.

7. What is authoritative parenting?

Amy Webb writes, “In the research world, this label encompasses the ‘ideal’ parent. Of course, in the real world, there are no perfect parents, but the philosophy underlying this approach is helpful because it is all about balance.

“Authoritative parents are not too strict, but not too permissive. They provide boundaries, but are also open to some (age-appropriate) negotiation with kids. The classic definition includes a balance between being high demanding and being highly responsive. This balance helps kids feel safe but also gives them room to grow and develop a sense of independence.”

To learn more about parenting styles, check out From hummingbird to helicopter—what’s your parenting style?

8. What is a foster parent?

Foster parents care for children when their biological parents become unable to do so. This can be an informal arrangement made by the families involved, or a legal one arranged by social services and courts. Children can live with foster families for a range of time, for just a few days to long-term.

Want to learn how to best support foster parents? Read 7 phrases not to say to a foster parent—and why.

9. At what age can a child decide which parent to live with?

In the event of a divorce or separation, one parent often becomes the custodial parent (the one with whom a child lives with most of the time). The age at which a child can decide which parent to live with varies by state—but in many cases there is no “magic number” at all.

For example, in California, the age is 14—however a younger child may be listened to, and an older child’s wishes may not be granted if it’s determine not to be in their best interest.

Attorney Eric S. Solotoff of New Jersey writes that “a child’s preference is only one factor a court must consider when deciding custody.  Why is the child’s preference not absolutely determinative?  Because it is not always reliable and may not be in their best interests.”

This is of course a very complicated issue that attorneys and counselors can help with.

You might be interested in Adjusting my heart and my life to my new role–single mom.

10. What is a surrogate parent?

A surrogate mother is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another family. She relinquishes her rights of the child after birth.

For more on surrogacy, read Kim Kardashian West accidentally reveals baby #3’s gender.

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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

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    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

    Thank you for understanding. ❤️

    In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

    Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

    Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

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    I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

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