06/02/2015 04:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Modern Parenting Styles

Everyone talks about the rise of the modern family... the diverse mix of shapes, sizes, and flavors that make up our family from single to mixed-race to same-sex and everything in between.

We've got that topic covered, thankfully, and it's inspiring to see how we are evolving as a culture. As a divorced, single, gay, and then coupled dad who now lives in an empty nest, I embrace the evolving cultural acceptance of any kind of family. All families.

But let's not talk about that here... let's talk about changing parenting styles.

I don't "parent" like my parents did. Yes, it's a verb!

And I don't think I parent like anything from a textbook either. I do it my way with all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I'm not alone in this behavior as we are now starting to see that reflected in pop culture as well, not just in movies and television but also brand marketing.


Last year's HelloFlo "First Moon Party" is a great example. I never saw a mom like that when I was growing up!

HelloFlo is representative of a modern parenting style that doesn't make your child your best friend, or your peer either, but is about relating to her on a bit of a equal level. It's an "I've been there" so let me help you "not take this all quite so seriously" approach. There's also a little "you can't fool me because I know what's really going on" attitude as well.

I love the irreverence; the one-to-one relationship yet "I'm still the boss feel" to it all.

I am that way with my children too... they know I'm the dad but I try to interact with them on an equal level. We have open and honest conversations together, and sometimes there's some sarcasm thrown in the mix.

There's also a new piece of marketing from Volkswagen that has a similar tonality in that "I know what's really going on" and "let me do what I can to help" parenting approach.


In the Volkswagen video, the dad is witnessing the struggles of teen life, and actively lends a hand... for his daughter and her prom date.

Now back in my day, dads were the ones to be afraid of but clearly in modern parenting this dad is right along side his daughter, guiding her every step of the way in her emotional development.

I like that style.

Which is why I also totally relate to a new Whirlpool video titled "Dad and Andy" that shows the wonderful nurturing side of parenting, again surprisingly coming from a dad of all places!


We have seen dads rise in stature in brand marketing the last year or so, and this Whirlpool spot is a perfect example.

Gone is the bumbly-fumbly, aloof, career-obsessed fool that we once thought of about dad. He's the active caregiver, not just for the photo ops but also for every day life.

Yes, families have changed, gender roles have merged, and our parenting styles have evolved. We are a mashup of every cultural nuance that now exists and thrives...and we are raising what I hope will be the greatest generation this world has ever seen as a result.

And I'm hoping that my two young adult children are shining examples of I hope yours are too.