How My Parenting Philosophies Influence My Photography


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There are certainly lots of parenting philosophies to choose from. I tend to not stick too hard to any one thing - as moderation is often key, but several life experiences feed into my eclectic parenting philosophy. I grew up with more of a helicopter mom. I don’t think she would deny this. Helicopter parents have a viewpoint that their children are fragile and need to be protected. A common expression was, “Be careful!” in my childhood. So, although of course I realize my role as a protector of my children, because of my helicopter experience, I have changed directions when I became a parent.

I’m a bit of a mix between parenting styles, one of which is slow parenting. Slow parents believe that playing is the work of the children and the best place for their discoveries and learning to happen. I think I also tend to gravitate towards this from studying Montessori education in school. Electronic toys are discouraged in slow parenting, as they don’t allow for much exploration. In stricter slow parenting households, parents might not schedule activities for their kids (like sports) because it inhibits free play. I’m not in that zone, as I really want my kids to have a chance to try things and find out what they like, but always with balance in life.

I might also have a bit of “free-range” parenting in my philosophical mix. That might be because of my personal helicopter experiences as a child. It's sort of the opposite. The philosophy of free-range parenting is to encourage independence. I remember being so scared that I would mess up the first time that I used cash to pay for something by myself at a store. I want my kids to be comfortable doing things on their own. I view my role as a bit of a gardener to help them grow into the beautiful creations that God wants them to be. To hold them back and force their naiveté too long would be to put a plant into a container too small for its roots. It could wither in the heat. I want to create optimal conditions under which my children can grow tall and bloom when ready. Finally, I have a bit of an authoritative parenting philosophy thrown into the mix. In authoritative parenting, the parent provides structure and sets limits, but explains reasons for punishments in an effort to encourage independence. I believe that my children should respect that I know what is best for them. I believe that in a way, I know my children better than they know themselves (though that won’t always be the case.) One way for me to encourage their growth and development is to let them experience natural effects from their choices and to see that life is indeed this way.

So how does this affect my photography? When I set up for a session, I provide conditions under which kids can explore. I record their exploration. It's not a studio set-up to record what your child looks like at a certain stage. Your iphone or a portrait studio in the mall can do that actually. I provide the conditions so that you get to see a bit deeper into how your child sees and explores this world. You might already notice this - even better. As your baby girl ages, you’ll remember the look of wonder on her face as she poked a bubble to make it pop in one of my sessions - and you’ll treasure her heart just as much as her features as you look at that moment frozen in time.

Maybe your philosophies are really different than mine. Maybe they are right up my alley. Whatever your parenting philosophies, I encourage you to think about it. Think about what you grew up with too. It is so important to reflect on our own experiences. We carry our past inside of us for sure. Gertrude Stein once said, “What are roots if you can’t take them with you?” After you figure out what your parenting tendencies are, I encourage you to find a photographer who can help you capture the joy in your life that connects with that philosophy. A good connection with your photographer will make you happier with your sessions (even later when your children are grown!).

Want to see where you fit in for your parenting philosophy? Read more here:

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