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Parenting Styles, Which are You? Lawnmower? Helicopter? Jellyfish?

by | September 23, 2018

Parenting styles, which are you?? Take a look at the many terms and their characteristics including attachment, helicopter, tiger, jellyfish, and dolphin.

The latest parenting term to go viral is “lawnmower parenting.” It’s not a new term, but it has made recent news thanks to a Facebook post from a teacher complaining about that type of parenting, which has been equated to helicopter parenting.

Are you a lawnmower parent? Or something else? Here’s a primer on parent labels to help you decide:

Parenting Styles


Lawnmower Parent


These parents are called lawnmower parents because they “mow down” a path for their children removing all obstacles that may cause discomfort, challenges or struggles. This parent not only helps their child but also does a lot of the work for the child.


Tiger Parent


Tiger parents are strict and demanding. Tiger parents push and pressure their children to attain high levels of scholastic and academic achievement, using authoritarian parenting methods. Even though these children may sometimes appear more “successful,” especially early on, they can’t adapt to life’s ups and downs on their own.


Elephant Parent

The opposite of tiger parenting. Like their namesake in the animal kingdom, an elephant parent is very nurturing and protective of her offspring, especially in the earliest stages of their life, which we’d imagine is the majority of parenting styles.

parenting styles


Jellyfish Parent


Another opposite of the tiger is the jellyfish parent. These parents have few rules and expectations, “give in” to avoid confrontation, lack authority and are generally overly permissive. Since they’re rarely told “no,” children of jellyfish parents may initially seem more confident on the outside. But without rules and direction, they often look to peers for guidance and fail to develop vital impulse control.

Dolphin Parent


Dolphin parents are the balance of these extremes. They’re collaborative and have rules and expectations, but they also encourage independence and creativity. Like the dolphin, they’re firm and flexible and use their community to nurture their child’s nature. This balanced approach results in children who develop a sense of autonomy over their lives but still have impulse control. Dolphin children are able to follow appropriate rules and guidance and are better able to establish healthy independence.

parenting styles

Helicopter Parent


Parents tend to hover, and this can continue through college. Parents who take an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children. Some college officials see all this as the behavior of an overindulged generation, raised by helicopter parents and lacking in resilience.


Attachment Parent


Attachment parents like to have close contact with their baby through babywearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. These parents use natural closeness rather than a schedule to determine their babies’ needs. Parents also emphasize role modeling and positive discipline by using praise and rewards for good behavior and loss of privileges for poor behavior.



Free-range Parent


These parents allow their kids to walk to school or the store alone. Young children may be allowed to ride public transportation or go to the playground unsupervised. Free-range parents believe this freedom promotes independence and self-reliance. But it’s not been without controversy as others have seen it as dangerous and neglectful.

So which of the parenting styles are you? let us know in the comments. 


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via Julie@raisevegan.com

Categories: Parenting

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