As the world grows more connected, parents are discovering a wealth of new ways to look at themselves and their children. New terms are emerging to describe parenting philosophies, include all demographics, and connect struggling parents to resources. This is all positive, but it can be confusing for people who aren't sure what these words mean or why they're needed.


Co-parenting is when two people who are not in a romantic relationship work together to raise their child. Co-parents may be two people who have divorced, had an unexpected pregnancy, or even chose to raise a child together despite never being romantic partners.

When co-parents are respectful, cooperative, and supportive, their children gain the same vital sense of security and love they would from romantically involved parents.

mom and dad teaching little daughter to draw fizkes / Getty Images


Perinatal Ward

Mental health conditions like postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, and postpartum anxiety are perinatal mood disorders, and they can affect parents of every gender. Untreated, these disorders can slow bonding with one's new child, cause serious distress, and even pose safety risks.

A perinatal ward is a place where parents with serious postpartum disorders can receive care and treatment.

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Baby Signs

Babies tend to master control of the muscles in their hands before they master speech. Many babies can start learning sign language between six and nine months old, long before they can talk clearly.

Sign language can help babies develop language skills, allow those with developmental delays to communicate, and reduce frustrating communication barriers. Parents may use the sign language most common in their country or simplified baby signs, many of which are shared throughout multiple cultures and countries.

Father teaching son sign language Huntstock / Getty Images



19% of transgender people in the U.S. are parents. Many parenting organizations and healthcare providers are using the term "chestfeeding" to describe the process of feeding a baby with milk produced by one's body.

Other related terms include parent's milk, pregnant people, and such inclusive language that does not assume the person who gave birth to or is feeding a child identifies as a woman or as a "mother." These terms refer to broad groups of people and to parents who want to use them: an individual mother may still refer to feeding her child as breastfeeding.

woman chestfeeding baby PeopleImages / Getty Images



Gender stereotypes in childhood can limit children's ambitions and affect their confidence. There are many ways parents address this issue. One rare but rising option is raising a "theybie". This may include referring to the child as "they" rather than "he" or "she", using a neutral name, and refusing to answer questions about the child's assigned sex. Supporters of this method feel that this allows the child to choose their own gender as they grow.

baby laying down Catherine Delahaye / Getty Images



A free birth is a birth with no medical intervention. There is no doctor or certified midwife present and birth may take place in a location far from any hospital. Supporters of freebirthing often point to cruelty and mistreatment in maternity wards, an issue which research confirms does exist. Freebirthing, however, comes with significant risks of maternal or infant death. In some places, it is illegal to give birth without medical assistance. Loved ones of those considering a free birth should discuss concerns and alternatives respectfully.

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Transracial Adoption

A transracial adoptee is a child adopted by parents of a different racial background. While many loving families are formed in this way, transracial adoptees may feel different from both their parents and people of their racial ethnicity. They can experience types of racism that their parents do not fully understand.

It's important that all parents considering adoption research the experiences of adoptees and listen to their children's feelings, especially parents of transracial adoptees.

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Gentle Parenting

Gentle parenting is an emerging philosophy that focuses on allowing children to make decisions and taking a gentler approach to tantrums and misbehavior. While some parents may feel that gentle parenting is too emotional and permissive, research indicates that gentle parenting techniques can lead to better emotional regulation, behavior, and mental health.

Loving daughter embracing mother while sitting on kitchen counter at home Maskot / Getty Images


Intensive Mothering

Intensive mothering is the tendency of mothers to bear the entire weight of their children's development on their shoulders. They may feel responsible for constantly overseeing their children, providing for all or a significant amount of their children's material needs, and sacrificing their own personal development to support their children. The pressure to be "perfect" can leave mothers burned out and unfulfilled.

While this is common for mothers due to gender expectations, parents of any gender can experience this type of pressure and burnout. Community and family support can be invaluable.

woman carrying her sleeping daughter mapodile / Getty Images



Parenting blogs and vlogs have become popular sources of entertainment and information. TTC is an acronym for "trying to conceive," and it is one of several popular shorthands in the blogosphere. Others are FTM (first-time mom), DC (darling child), and SAHM (stay-at-home mom). TTC is a particularly common acronym on IVF and infertility blogs. Infertility affects many parents and hopeful parents, and these blogs offer an opportunity for those struggling to find comfort and support.

Smiling couple looking at each other while sitting in front of laptop at table Westend61 / Getty Images


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