segmentation Family

Pragmatically Parsing Parents


Throughout a typical day, we constantly classify the people and objects around us. For instance, when driving in traffic many of us play label that driver where we categorize drivers into #%&@^, $*%!, and for the really inept, we reserve the title of 🤬.


With Mother’s and Father’s Day in the rearview mirror, we’ve decided to stereotype parents using a segmentation analysis. While all parents are united by an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that makes life feel like a fever dream directed by David Lynch, there are a-parent-ly five types of parents out there:


Autonomy Advocates 🆓 (14%) prioritize trust and autonomy in their children, oppose punishment, and express confidence in their kids' decision-making abilities. They maintain a hands-off approach to parenting, valuing the growth that comes from exposure to the real world and risks. While Autonomy Advocates trust their instincts as parents, they also believe society should provide more support for parents. What, zero guaranteed weeks of parental leave isn’t enough all of a sudden? Jeez, nobody wants to work these days.


Second Guessers 😕 (18%) are preoccupied with their children's well-being and struggle to feel that they are doing enough to support their children. They seek parenting advice but are made to feel even more overwhelmed by what they see as conflicting information. With all the time they spend researching parenting best practices, Second Guessers struggle to balance parenting with their other responsibilities. This group also feels less-than-supported by society at large. Child support definitely needs a rebranding.


Confident Caretakers 💪 (19%) exude confidence in their parenting abilities, holding the belief that being a parent is not as challenging as others claim, especially after the newborn phase. Their confidence stems from what they believe is an innate understanding of how to parent. And with that confidence comes a rejection of the “it takes a village” mentality, as Confident Caretakers assert that parents should be solely responsible for their child's well-being. This segment opposes punishment, firmly believing that spanking is always wrong. Although not measured, this segment is clearly the least liked at PTA meetings.


Discipliners ✋ (22%) believe punishment and spanking are acceptable (even necessary) disciplinary methods. They believe parents should have the primary responsibility for their children's well-being, likely because they value the support of their family and personal social networks. Discipliners view themselves as good parents and trust their own instincts rather than seeking guidance from experts (who may not be on board with using a board for discipline) about their parenting approach.


Clock Counters ⏱️ (27%) eagerly anticipate the day their kids will become independent and move out. They express feelings of uncertainty, lacking confidence in their ability to be good parents. Moreover, they have concerns about exposing their children to the real world, believing it can cause harm. Although Clock Counters believe life gets easier after the newborn phase, parenting often leaves them mentally and emotionally drained. Moving their clocks forward during daylight saving time is likely their favorite holiday.


Which segment do your parents belong to? Be sure to share the results with your therapist. If you’re a parent, share your own segment with your kid’s therapist.