'Lighthouse Parenting' the best way to raise your kids?

ByJuju Chang ABCNews logo
Thursday, April 2, 2015
VIDEO: Lighthouse parenting
Now some are saying Lighthouse Parenting could actually be the best way to raise your kids. ABC's Juju Chang has the details.

You've heard of "tiger moms", "helicopter parents", and even "elephant parenting". Now some are saying "lighthouse parenting" could actually be the best way to raise your kids.

They majestically dot the coastlines, guiding ships safely to port. But what can they teach us about raising teens?

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg says, "We want to be beacons of light on a stable shoreline from which they can safely navigate the world."

In his new book "Raising Kids to Thrive", Dr. Ginsburg says it's a strategy teaching kids how to navigate the murky waters of adolescence.

"A lighthouse parent understands that sometimes kids need to learn from failure," he says.

But in the pantheon of parenting techniques, what makes lighthouse parents different from tiger moms or helicopter dads?

Dr. Ginsburg explains, "Extreme models of parenting are not the way to raise your kids. Love, protection, and letting your kids learn from failure - that's how people grow."

To research his book Dr. Ginsburg went to the true experts - teens... even co-writing with his own twin teenaged daughters.

"Kids know what it's gonna take to help them to thrive," he says.

For many parents the teen years can be frightening. But Martie Bernicker says lighthouse parenting has helped guide her and her four sons.

Martie says, "It focuses on the relationship. Not having all the answers with them but problem solving with them as they face things."

So how does a parent become a lighthouse? Start by making sure your children know they are loved unconditionally, then set your expectations on character - not performance.

Dr. Ginsburg says, "You hold them to the expectation of morality and character you know lies within them."

And most importantly, strive to strike a balance between protection and guidance.

"When we raise kids in a balanced way, we're gonna raise kids who are gonna be successful when they're 35," Dr. Ginsberg says.