Parenting in today's world is a struggle.

With instant access to parenting "how to (fill in the blank)" articles, Facebook chat groups and lifestyle blogs aplenty it is at times...overwhelming.

It feels like there is always someone readily available to tell you how to parent your children better or to simply let you know your way is FOR SURE the wrong way.

A debate between two parenting styles is gathering in strength and I thought I'd bring it to you and see what you think.

Helicopter Parenting versus Free Range Parenting.

First, let's be clear about the definitions of both styles. For both terms, I found the best definition on Wikipedia.

Helicopter Parenting: A helicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they "hover overhead", overseeing every aspect of their child's life constantly.

Free-Range Parenting: Free-range parenting is the concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently and with limited parental supervision, in accordance of their age of development and with a reasonable acceptance of realistic personal risks.

I myself am more of a free range type parent. My children spend lots of time wandering around the Wyoming Prairie with air rifles, and have spent hours and hours building forts out of old fence posts, scrap wood and ropes. They also have a multitude of responsibilities including feeding our many animals every day before school.

I actually had someone tell me that I was "taking away my children's childhood" by forcing them to do these chores. This mother also told me that her children had never cleaned any part of their home. She took pride in the fact that they had never been forced to pick up their toys. Her reasoning was that she wanted them to spend their time playing and doing what they wanted...until they were adults and HAD to deal with the drudgery we call daily life.

I'd be a big fat liar if I didn't admit that I was a total helicopter parent with my first child...but as we kept adding to our brood more and more (and I noticed that eating dirt or not wearing shoes when they went outside wasn't hurting anyone) I became increasingly relaxed.

So let us know....are you a helicopter parent, free-range parent or a mixture of both?