First Impressions – Development

“Tiger moms, jellyfish dads, and helicopter parents. These terms all refer to various parenting styles and each has been both promoted as an ideal and criticized as “the problem with kids these days.” We will discuss parenting this week, but I’m curious what you think is the “best” way to parent. By “best” I mean most likely to produce children who grow up to be happy, healthy, and productive members of society. Write your post about the ideal way parents should raise their kids.”

All three parenting styles were very apparent in my upbringing.  My mother was a watered-down “tiger mom”.  She pushed my brothers and I in academics, often threatening to take away luxuries if we did not maintain good grades.  She ruled our house with an iron fist, making sure in elementary school that we sat down at the table immediately upon returning home from school to do our homework.  She relaxed that as we got older and could make our own decisions.  The helped all three of us have a strong work ethic that we all have carried out through college, and for my brothers, into their careers.

Often times there was a “good cop, bad cop” act going on in my house.  The roles were not equally shared, but either one of my parents could be in either role at any time.  When my dad was in the “good cop” role, he would often be a jellyfish parent.  Any time I went to the grocery store with him, I could ask for almost anything and he would buy it for me.  I was able to get away with a lot when I was little because my dad did not want to be seen as strict by his children, when in reality both of my parents were strict enough.

As far as helicopter parents, my parents were in that stage until my senior year of high school.  I went through a personal matter that left me vulnerable and almost unable to make my own decisions.  My parents stayed by my side every day to make sure I was okay and to make sure I would heal properly.  When I did go out, they would ask who I was going with or who would be at the event simply to make sure that I would not be hurt by anyone.  They have since backed off and let me have my own freedom.

I believe the ideal way to raise a child is having a healthy mix of these parenting styles.  Being a “tiger mom” is healthy when wanting your children to succeed in school, but not so much so that your child is stressed so much about school.  A “jellyfish parent” may be good when you are allowing your child to switch between different activities when they are little.  Allowing them to try different things allows them to make their own decision instead of being forced into the sport or activity they do not actually enjoy.

In my opinion, helicopter parents are the most helpful.  As long they are not too protective of their child.  Knowing the basics of where they are going, who they will be with, and an estimate of when they will be home is enough to be helicopter parent to make sure they are okay, but it lets the child have their own freedom.  It helps the child believe that you trust them, but you care enough about them to know where they are.  The child has their own freedom and the trust of their parents, but they know that they can go back to a parent who will ask questions about what happened without prying information out.

Bonus Blog: Theoretical Lenses in Psychology

“Miguel has been struggling with his coursework lately. He has felt very tired in recent weeks and has found it difficult to focus on his studies. Even though he is always tired, he has trouble falling asleep at night, is irritable during the day, and picks fights with his roommates. He is a bit of a perfectionist and gets mad at himself when he makes even tiny mistakes. It’s gotten to the point where he doubts his ability to do anything right.”

From a psychodynamic perspective, Miguel seems to be struggling with an internal conflict.  If you were to ask Freud to do a psychoanalysis, he would say there was some unconscious desire that Miguel was unaware of in his conscious mind.  Freud might also suggest for Miguel to use therapy to help alleviate these wants and desires.

A behaviorist would look at Miguel’s habits outside of his studies.  They would observe things like where Miguel tries to study and how he does.  They would also observe when he studies to see if that has anything to do with him being tired.

The humanistic approach would look at Miguel’s freedom to choose.  They would focus on current environmental factors rather than previous factors.

When looking at it from a cognitive perspective, they would look at how Miguel processes the information he receives.  They would observe his self doubt as well.

Neuroscience would look at Miguel’s behavioral genetics and why he gets so upset when he makes small mistakes.  It would also look at why he is so irritable throughout the day.

Cultural psychology would look at his background and where he comes from.  There could be an underlying stress coming from his cultural background that is weighing on him.  This could contribute to the lack of sleep, the irritability during the day, the fights with his roommates, and the self doubt.


Hi!  My name is Hope Sury and I am a sophomore middle level math education major.  I chose to take this course because I needed it for core, but I also feel that it will help me to understand the students I will have in my classroom.  I took a psychology class in high school, and my roommate is a psychology major, so we have discussions from time to time about her field of study.  When I hear the word “psychology”, I think of people’s behaviors and why they make certain decisions.  I am interested in learning about attachment theory, coping with stress, and motivation.  I am interested in these topics because it will help me better understand myself and what I can do to improve my life.  I am less interested in the scientific method, how to improve memory, and how to choose a therapist.  I have some experience with these topics, so I am less interested in going over these topics.  The question I would like to have answered by the end of the class is how to accurately use psychology in my future classroom.