Are you a 'Jellyfish parent'? The social media term explained 1 week ago

Are you a 'Jellyfish parent'? The social media term explained

With social media, comes the naming of various styles of parenting.

Labels for different types of parenting have been named after animals that share characteristics with mums and dads when it comes to how they raise their offspring.

You may have heard of the Tiger parent - a stricter form of parenting whereby parents are extremely invested in making sure their child reaches success, much like tigers in the wild, who fight every day to make sure their cubs reach adulthood. Then there's the 'Dolphin parent' - the firm yet flexible parent who relies heavily on social communication and interaction; that one is self-explanatory.

Now there's a 'Jellyfish parent.' You may be wondering how on earth we can adopt traits from such a creature, but once you realise what they are, it makes total sense.

The Jellyfish mums and dads are said to be laid-back, relaxed, open to change, and flexible in their style of raising children, AKA, they go with the flow.

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These are the types of parents who will follow their children's lead and may not set rules or lay down the law when it comes to enforcing consequences; instead, they often prefer to adopt a more communicative approach to address their children's behaviour or may let it go entirely.

The idea behind this is to allow their children to grow at their own pace and learn more independence while the parents float along.


Speaking to VeryWell Family, Jami Dumler, LCSQ, a counsellor at Thriveworks in Pennsylvania, says there are pros to this style of parenting and explains when it can work well.

"The parent has a lot of communication and positive empathy with the child, which likely leads to positive attachment and connection. Many parent-child relationships in this parenting style appear almost friendship-like."

"For some families, jellyfish parenting may flow more smoothly if they have a very compliant, calm child. It may also flow more smoothly if the family itself operates in a very flexible, laissez-faire manner with limited schedules, routines or commitments within their week."

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However, with any parenting approach, it may not work in some families, as Jellyfish parents can be perceived as indulgent and having a lack of control over their children, which, unfortunately, can hamper their children's development and self-regulation skills.

Scott A. Roth, PsyD, founder and clinical director at Applied Psychological Services of New Jersey, told the parenting website that children of jellyfish parents can be given too much independence before they’re ready for it.

"Developmentally, our ability to understand problems, plan for appropriate solutions, and integrate feedback into our decision-making is not fully developed until our early to mid-twenties. The ultimate task of adolescent development is this independence and autonomy."


"A core aspect of development is being able to match a contextually defined need with the appropriate action," he explains. "It is true that over time a child raised by jellyfish parenting could figure this out; however, there are quicker ways to teach or instill this type of problem-solving within our children."

This means that if a child has big or loud feelings that lead to outbursts or tantrums, a Jellyfish parent may not be equipped to address this appropriately.

Credit: Getty

"Parents with a jellyfish parenting style will likely have difficulty maintaining control and setting and holding boundaries with their children in the tough moments.

"This parenting style will also prove difficult if there is a busy schedule or routine that needs to be maintained. Jellyfish parenting has a laissez-faire nature which can make it difficult to reel in tough behaviours, big feelings, lack of motivation, and defiance from children."

Implementing some clear boundaries and consistent support into a jellyfish parenting approach may be the best port of call, according to parenting coach Destini Ann

"An attuned parent can look at seasons when their child needs more support and take a more hands-on, tiger-style approach.

"Likewise, there will be times when parents can release the reins a bit and give them the space and opportunity to succeed on their own. Without the push, they’ll likely neglect doing the work at all."