“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.