There are three distinct styles of parenting: paper, rock and tree. Whānau should be encouraged to incorporate the tree style – being firm and fair – into their parenting as much as possible.

We’ve learned about 3 styles of parenting from the booklets: the rock, the paper and the tree.

Open a discussion by inviting whānau to look at Te Māhuri, pages 30 and 31 with you. It’s titled ‘Parenting is easy… yeah right!’

Ask whānau:

  • Why do you think it’s called that?
    • Acknowledge that being a parent isn’t always the easiest job.
  • Where do you think we learn how to be a parent?

What sort of parents are there in the world?

Which style?

Invite whānau to read the descriptions about each type of parenting with you and discuss how kids are likely to respond to each.

The rock

  • Can you tell me what you’ve noticed about how ‘rock’ parents treat their kids?
  • Do you know any parents who parent in this way?
  • What have you heard them say or seen them do?
  • Why do you think the rock parent’s tamaiti is afraid and might learn to be a bully?

The paper

  • What about ‘paper’ parenting – do you know anyone who parents like this?
  • What have you noticed about how they treat their kids? How might the tamariki behave?
  • Why do you think that happens?
  • Why do you think the child of a ‘paper’ parent may give up easily when they have a problem or may have less respect for other people’s rights or feelings?
  • Where’s the happy medium?

The tree

The tree or rākau is a type that is firm and fair. This parenting is strong and flexible and not too extreme in either way.

It's unlikely that parents use just one type of parenting. Most of us are mixtures. But when we become aware of the three types, we can work towards becoming more like the tree than the rock or paper.

  • What parenting types were your parents?
  • Can you think of something that happened recently with your tamaiti and how you responded?
    • Which sort of parenting type would you say you were using?
    • Could you do it any differently?
    • How would you like to do it?

If it’s appropriate, you might introduce the 'Thinking about Parenting' booklet to the whānau. You could use it as a workbook with them.

Handout for whānau

Parenting style quiz

Share this printable quiz with whānau to discover the parenting style they use most often – the rock, the paper or the tree.

pdf 4.6 MB

Helpful resources for whānau