Dolphin Parenting 101: Don’t be a Tiger (Or a Jellyfish), Parent

As a parent, one's methodology to upbringing a child can be multifaceted. Though a lot of how one inculcates learning and growth in their child depends on their own development. There are a few standardised approaches, that are known to be common amongst parents across the board.

According to experts, three types of parenting exist. These styles of parenting come with various names but are commonly analogised with certain animals. The nature of these animals aims to define the nature of their respective parenting styles.

The Tiger Parent

Out of the three known parenting types, one is the Tiger parent. The Tiger parent is controlling and an authoritarian. It is a strict or demanding style of parenting. Tiger parents push and pressure their children to attain high levels of academic achievement or success in high-status extra-curricular activities using dictatorial parenting methods. They are parents who set up rules that may even overstep conventional parental boundaries. Tiger parents prioritize academics above all else. They may even go as far as to only allow children to participate in activities in order to potentially win awards which they believe will increase the chance of the child's acceptance to elite universities. The tiger parent approach aims to constantly propel children towards a commitment to excellence.

Pros & Cons
Experts suggest that this type of parenting yields a high-risk high reward scenario. This approach may lead to exceptionally high performance from the child. A display of academic excellence across the board with great musical ability and professional success later in life. Yet, on the other hand, children raised under a strict and controlling tiger parent will suffer a chronic social and psychological toll. Children raised with a less supportive type of parenting develop chronic mental health and psychiatric problems such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. These mental health and psychiatric problems may create psychological problems that make these children feel like "failures".


The Jellyfish Parent

A Jellyfish parent is permissive and indulging. They have few rules or expectations, yet they often overindulge their children. Children of jellyfish parents tend to lack impulse control. Jellyfish parents often prioritise love and connection (which are great values to have as a parent) over boundaries, consequences and following through. The expectations of the child are very low, and there is little discipline. Permissive parents also allow children to make their own decisions, giving them advice as a friend would. This type of parenting is very lax, with few punishments or rules.

Pros & Cons
Children of permissive parents may tend to be more impulsive and as adolescents may be prone to misconduct. Yet, on the other hand, they are emotionally secure, independent and are willing to learn and accept defeat. They mature quickly and are able to adjust to an independent lifestyle.


The Dolphin Parent

Although both parenting styles come with their sets of pros and cons, experts argue that the Dolphin parent is the ideal parenting style. They are collaborative and authoritative. If the jellyfish and the tiger are two extremes, the Dolphin sits perfectly in the middle. A Dolphin parent may prioritize long-term goals of living a healthy, balanced life with connection and purpose over short-term goals of medals and test scores. A Dolphin parent has rules and expectations, including expecting academics performance and discipline. But they also value autonomy, individual passions, and independent choices.

Pros & Cons
Dolphin children are able to follow appropriate rules and guidance and are better able to establish healthy independence. Research shows that children of dolphin parenting have better social skills, increased self-confidence and creativity, better academic performance and enhanced self-motivation.

We as human beings are highly capable parents, perhaps even better parents than most species out there due to the complex nature of our brain and behaviors. All that is needed, is a balanced approach towards children, providing them guidance and direction. Through experience, children must develop a sense of self-motivation, allowing them to develop their own intuition. Intuition is knowledge provided by nature itself, and an essential ingredient for the one trait consistently needed for lifelong success for parents and children of any species—the ability to adapt.

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