Parenting – in particular parenting in public – is hard for any parent. For Kate Middleton, however, she has an added challenge. As a royal, she is expected to be poised and perfect while in public at all times. So are her children. Her children, however, are kids just like any others. Amazingly, she seems to achieve this lofty goal of having well-behaved children all the time. This is how she does it.
Kate Middleton’s Parenting Style
Kate Middleton has to be one of the most famous mothers in the world. She is also praised for appearing to be one of the best. She is warm, loving, and hands-on with her children. Finally, she also always seems to keep them in-line during public appearances. According to parenting expert Dr. Rebecca Chicot, this is because Kate uses what’s called an “authoritative style” of parenting. (1)
What Is Authoritative Style Parenting?
Authoritative parenting is when parents are nurturing, responsive and supportive of their children. At the same time, they set firm limits for them. These parents always listen to their child’s point of view, but they don’t always accept it. They control their children’s behavior by explaining rules, discussing, and reasoning. (2)
In return, they typically end up raising, frankly, really great kids. These children tend to be friendly and energetic, cheerful and self-reliant. They are curious and cooperative and are often achievement-oriented. This parenting style allows them to feel heard and understood, but still with a firm understanding of boundaries and how they are expected to behave in certain situations. Typically, this results in good behavior in public.
Kate is the first to admit that handling tantrums is tough. She even said that she’d rather refer to the experts than give out her own advice. One thing she does do, however, is use codewords to help get her kids to calm down. Kate uses the phrase “Let’s take a break” to encourage the child to take the space they need to calm themselves. At home, she’ll usually give them a puzzle or a book to help them relax.
In public, she either crouches down to their level or picks them up. Then, she talks with them in a calm manner. Often she’ll try to get them to put their feelings into words. She comforts them and lets them know they are supported and will be okay. Really, she doesn’t have many other options when out in public. Whether they’re at an event or simply at the park, eyes, ears, and cameras are constantly on their family. If Kate gets upset or angry, pictures of her yelling at her kids will be all over the tabloids.
Another thing Kate Middleton has been photographed doing to keep her kids inline is by giving them a light pat on the top of the head. This is what’s called a “warm contact”. The light touch to the head while giving her child calm but firm instruction helps to calm the child and get their attention so that they will listen to her.
She’s also been pictured both gently shushing the children by putting her finger to her mouth and using her finger to show her kids that she is serious. Photographers have captured her kneeling down so that she is at eye level with her children when scolding them. In the photos, she has her pointer finger raised, letting her children know that their mom is serious. Finally, as already mentioned, she does not raise her voice. Rather, she speaks to them in a calm, controlled, firm voice.
“It’s very hard for any parent to have to parent in public,” said Dr. Chicot. “She seems to be good at making warm contact ‘touch to the head’ which is a nice connection.”
Kate Middleton Lets Her Kids Be Kids
Royal or not, kids will always be kids. This means they will sometimes be silly. As they learn and grow, they naturally will test limits and push boundaries to see what they can get away with. Kate seems to have figured out pretty well which situations merit discipline and which are okay to laugh off.
For example, at the 2019 charity regatta, Kate encouraged Princess Charlotte to wave at the crowds. The young princess was then famously photographed cheekily sticking her tongue out at the onlookers. Kate can be seen with her in the photos laughing at the incident rather than getting mad. The public absolutely loved her response to the whole thing.
“Just a normal child! You can’t control their every move. Kate’s response was fantastic!” one viewer commented.
She encourages a lot of outdoor play and learning. She explains that this is what she had as a child and thinks that it is crucial to proper growth and development. Despite who they are, Kate tries to give them as “normal” of a childhood as they possibly can.
“We grow our own vegetables. We’ve got carrots, beans, beetroot – a massive favourite – Louis absolutely loves beetroot. I think being outside and being in nature is such a great environment for [children] to learn lifelong skills, really. Physical, emotional and cognitive skills. Whether it’s digging, running, boulder-hopping…” she said in an interview with ITV.
Lastly, she says that she reads a lot of parenting books. After all, even mom extraordinaire Kate Middleton needs help from the experts. Her favorites are reportedly Positive Parenting: The First Three Years and The Happiest Toddler On The Block.
So far, Kate Middleton seems to be doing a great job as a mother. We will certainly all be watching as she handles puberty and the teenage years, too!
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- “GOING DUCH Code words, head taps and tantrum breaks, how Kate Middleton keeps the Cambridge kids in check.” The Sun. Rebekah Pemberton. July 15, 2021.
- “Parenting Styles.” APA.