There’s no denying that parenting is the hardest job on the planet, and the universe will discover methods to supply up challenges big and small each single rattling day of your child’s life. Simply as every youngster is exclusive, every dad or mum is simply too, and what works for one caregiver may not work for an additional.
Among the many many alternative parenting styles out there may be jellyfish parenting, which serves as a pointy distinction to dolphin (aka authoritative) and tiger (aka authoritarian) kinds of parenting. Interested in this fluid, free-spirited type of caregiving that gives youngsters extra flexibility than you may really feel comfy with at first? One medical psychologist gave Scary Mommy the news on this sea creature-inspired methodology of elevating youngsters.
What’s Jellyfish Parenting, Precisely?
As inferred by its cutesy title, jellyfish parenting is “ outlined by listening to what a toddler needs and letting that information the connection and household dynamics,” says Dr. Rachel Hoffman, PhD, LCSW, Chief Medical Officer at Real. “There are usually few guidelines on this type of parenting.”
Even if you happen to take into account your self to be the reverse of a helicopter parent with overbearing tendencies, you’re possible scratching your head questioning what the heck parenting with few guidelines even appears like in observe. Not like extra conventional parenting kinds, jellyfish parenting offers your youngster extra permission to precise their ideas and emotions — and yeah, which may imply letting go of their inflexible after-school schedule or weekend days crammed to the brim with actions and social engagements.
“As an alternative of dictating what actions a toddler has to take part in, jellyfish parenting is all about letting the kid resolve,” says Hoffman.
This could appear to be:
- Making an attempt an exercise primarily based on the kid’s curiosity and never what the dad or mum thinks they need to do.
- Stopping an exercise if the kid now not needs to take part.
- Permitting them to have unstructured free time if that’s one thing they like over-scheduled actions.
The Execs and Cons of Jellyfish Parenting
In keeping with Hoffman, “Youngsters who’re raised with jellyfish parenting usually have excessive shallowness and company. This comes from with the ability to make choices about how they spend their time from an early age.” There’s an apparent query right here: Can this supportive methodology veer into spineless territory?
The reply could possibly be a convincing sure, says Hoffman, which is why placing a fragile stability right here is essential. “Whereas jellyfish parenting could improve youngsters’ shallowness, it could typically cross over into inflicting egocentric and entitled habits,” she notes. “There’s additionally a threat that children who’re parented this fashion received’t work as exhausting at college or at work as a result of they aren’t held to sure requirements at residence. Boundaries additionally could be robust for a kid who’s raised with jellyfish parenting as they aren’t used to listening to the phrase ‘no.’”
Together with working the danger of elevating a toddler with a bit an excessive amount of entitlement, Hoffman notes that this permissive parenting type can supply youngsters an excessive amount of autonomy earlier than they’re actually prepared for it. “This could trigger points with self-regulation and even contribute to nervousness and despair sooner or later,” she says.
Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, who was broadly credited with defining the distinct parenting styles, additionally famous that permissive parenting may result in downside habits in class and different social settings, whereas psychiatrist and creator Shimi Kang M.D. — credited with coining the “jellyfish” terminology — observe that kids of jellyfish dad and mom may “lack impulse management.”
How one can Strike a Stability
Fortunately, you’ll be able to supply your kids extra freedom and autonomy with out throwing all traces of self-discipline out the door, says Hoffman. Irrespective of your youngster’s age or the particular state of affairs you’re dealing with, you’ll wish to “deal with setting clear boundaries. Boundaries and expectations in the end make your youngster really feel secure and safe.”
“Don’t give your youngster open-ended choices,” she provides. “As an alternative, permit them to decide by presenting them choices. For instance, ‘Do you wish to play soccer or do you wish to take a writing class this semester?’ or ‘Do you wish to clear your room earlier than or after homework?’” This direct method lets them know that you simply’re nonetheless in cost, but additionally that you simply’re listening to what they need to say and the way they really feel at that second.
With youthful youngsters, you’ll be able to (ahem) dip a toe within the jellyfish waters by inviting them to decide on what they put on, what books you learn with them, or by letting them play independently or with a gaggle, even when they select to hold solo in a gaggle setting. “As your youngster will get older it could make sense, relying on the person youngster, to combine jellyfish parenting into your mannequin as a result of they have already got a robust and safe basis,” provides Hoffman.
If jellyfish parenting doesn’t come naturally to you, “Begin small by giving your youngster barely extra autonomy,” she recommends. “Perhaps you verify in with them a few particular extracurricular exercise and provides them house to resolve in the event that they wish to do one thing else.”
One other stable methodology: Provide your youngster particular blocks of time (say, Saturday mornings or within the few hours after dinner) after they can use their time to their liking, with out faculty or extracurricular commitments. With older youngsters, have a chat about their present schedule to get a really feel for what they take pleasure in, what advantages them, and what can comfortably fall by the wayside. Overscheduling will result in burnout at any age, and it by no means hurts to provide your child some grace within the spirit of defending their happiness and well-being. And whilst you’re at it, supply your self the identical kindness. You deserve it too!
One ultimate tip, per Hoffman: “Do not forget that it’s not ‘all or nothing.’ You can begin small and add in points of a extra versatile parenting type with out fully altering the way you work together together with your youngster.”