All the parenting types out there
Share the story

Before I became a mom, I thought motherhood would come to me naturally once I held my baby in my arms. That is how I saw other mothers around me – they made it look as though they had it all under control. Having been the youngest in my family, I did not have a younger sibling or cousins to look after. In fact, I had never been around babies until I was old enough to have my own.

I was in my thirties when I made the serious decision to start a family, and little did I know that pregnancy has far from guaranteed outcomes. After struggling through long months and years of infertility, I beat myself up wondering whether I had waited too long, chasing education and career dreams. 

I had thought all those long months waiting for my first baby while experiencing such loss had toughened me up for whatever lay ahead of me – until the moment I held my 8lb baby on my chest. 

My first thought was, oh boy, she is heavy. Then I looked down at my little girl’s puffed-up eyes and all I could say was, “She’s so cute, so cute, so cute.”

Well, that cuteness was not all my baby had in her. As I found out not very long afterward, that baby could wail loud enough to shake the whole hospital, and that intimidated me. 

In the car coming home from the hospital, holding a soother in front of my screaming baby’s mouth, trying to calm her down with my sobbing coos while tears streamed down my face from all the raging hormones rattling around inside me, trembling with exhaustion, we somehow made it home. And that is how my journey of motherhood started. 

Those mothering skills that I trusted without a doubt would come to me magically along with my baby as a package deal, did not arrive as expected. I was the same person who had lived over 30 years without a baby – and still did not have the first clue about motherhood. 

Once the panic hit me hard like a bucket load of ice water, leaving me in panic mode, I began to learn from scratch, researching endlessly to fill my lack of knowledge as a mom. I read hundreds of articles along with most of the parenting books out there. And one thing that alarmed me was the avalanche of terms for different styles of parenting that kept popping up everywhere. 

Now that I am a self-proclaimed, semi-seasoned mom, who never stops learning to be a better mother, racing to keep up with my ever-growing children, I know there is no single correct answer to being a perfect parent. Each family has their own style of managing their lives and raising healthy and happy children. I no longer chase after the “right method”, the “only right way”, the “perfect steps” to follow “the best” parenting methods. I have gained more confidence in my mothering abilities, and I’ve learned to give myself credit that I am doing my best. As long as I am not afraid to correct myself when I catch myself doing wrong, there is no reason to pressure myself as though I am not good enough as a mom. 

I hope any new mother who feels lost in motherhood realizes that as long as you are doing your best and your baby is safe and cared for, that is the most important thing your baby needs, and you are already succeeding at it. Learning how to discipline your child and what approach you are going to take, from nutrition to education, and later, sports and hobbies – you will have enough time to develop your parenting skills as you go. Please don’t be discouraged by all the parenting jargon and methods that abound on social media. Your baby feels your love and that is the best thing in the world you can give. 

Here are some of the terms I have come across for different types of parenting and what their approaches are. I am sure more terms are being coined at this very moment and it will continue. Of course, we can chuckle and brush off these silly terms describing groups of people managing their own family lives, but I thought it would be a good chance to see what types of approaches other parents use for their parenting and share them with you. 

Some of these terms look more tongue-in-cheek than others, but it is important to remember that there is always reasoning behind every parenting style, and they are all coming from a desire to care for their children. No method is perfect, and there is always a possibility of negative outcomes for children if we confine ourselves to a skewed view of the world.

The important thing is that, as much as I wish there was one answer for all parents, this is a truly complex undertaking, since our children are part of our lives and vice versa. Parenting is not one-size-fits-all, or a case of us all following the same course and aiming for top grades – it is about raising dependent little humans capable of navigating their own cultural backgrounds, family dynamics, health conditions, family lives and much more, every day. 

Feel free to explore different types of parenting and find which types resonate with your approach. I could not pinpoint my own parenting style from this chart, but I spotted bits of it here and there and wound up with this monstrous hybrid combining parts of many different animals. 

*** Certain terms below only refer to moms, with particular lifestyles and parenting choices. I look at this as being due to moms’ roles revolving more heavily around their children’s needs in terms of childbirth, nursing and biological interconnectedness, which shows up whenever we discuss parenting.

Table of Contents

Types of parenting and parenting style

Types of parenting

Parenting style

Curling Parenting
Parents who try to sweep away all obstacles in their offspring’s path, so that their child can go through life smoothly without bumps or bruises. They continually try to eliminate any hardship for their kids so nothing negatively affects them.
Dolphin Parenting
Parents who try to create a balanced lifestyle by defining concrete rules and consequences while allowing their children to make their own life choices. They constantly collaborate with their children with regard to their daily tasks. 
Elephant Parenting 
Parents who are very nurturing and protective and tend to focus on the emotions of their child rather than success.
Jellyfish Parenting
Parents who pursue nurturing warmth and communication but take little control. They have few rules or expectations and might be said to overindulge their children. 
Helicopter Parenting
Parents who pay extremely close attention to their children’s activities and school to protect them from any negative experience. They help them succeed, hovering over their children and may become overly involved in their lives.
Hummingbird Parenting
Parents stay physically distant, letting their children explore and problem solve, but hover closer when safety is an issue or to support their children’s problem solving process.
Lighthouse Parenting
Parents who support their children when they face challenges, guiding them in an attempt to be their safe harbour when they need it.
Panda Parenting
Parents who get involved in their child’s life without forcing them to do something. They give their kids freedom to do things their own way. They gently guide their children while giving them freedom to do things their way.
Parachute Parenting
Parents who want to provide a safe landing for their children. They take their children’s side in any conflict, and do not believe that their children should pay consequences for bad behavior.
French Parenting
Parents make time for their families and are firm believers of evening mealtimes as quality family time. They weigh heavily toward home-cooked dinner without distractions of any sort (ex, TVs, phones or gadgets) and focusing on each other. 
Free-range Parenting 
Parents who raise their children to be independent, with limited parental supervision. They accept a reasonable level of risk to let their children explore their lives independently. 
Drone Parenting 
Parents obsessively involved in their children’s lives, oftentimes able to control and manipulate their child’s behavior and lifestyle from a distance.
Martyr mom
Moms who go extremes to do things for their children but boast and even complain about their hard work. Some might argue they do things for their kids that children ought to be doing for themselves, possibly out of fear and anxiety that their child might fail or act out, rather than out of commitment to the child’s interests.
Soccer mom
Middle-class suburban moms who spend the majority of their time taking their children to play soccer or engage in other activities.
Crunch mom/granola parents
These are neo-hippy parents who tend to believe that buying mainstream products or engaging in mainstream activities is way less beneficial for their children. The term “Crunchy” comes from many of these moms making their own crunchy granola and pursuing natural lifestyle choices such as cloth diapering and making their own baby food.
Moms who perform the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job. They typically help their children discover patience and determination, ambition, compassion and finding their own path.  
Tiger mom
Highly controlling and authoritarian moms. They are very strict and make their children work hard, restricting their free time so that they achieve top grades as well as succeed in sports and music.
Silk mom
Modern moms who rely on advances in science, medicine, and technology and prefer a medicated hospital birth, disposable nappies, bottle-feeding and/or expressing breastmilk, bassinet over cosleeping, sleeping training techniques such as the cry-it-out method, use of a stroller, and tend to be pro-vaccination and pro-circumcision.


As much as we could say some of these terms for types of parenting have underlying tones, some negative and some positive, it is needless to say that it is hard to judge any parent over their parenting choices without knowing their background and circumstances. Nonetheless, as we say, “It takes a whole village to raise a child” – if one parent jeopardizes their own child in any way, I believe we should reach out a helping hand. 

Children are our future, and we as a whole global village can ensure they are protected and taken care of to be the pillars of this planet. Happy parenting to my fellow villagers!

Please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on these parenting terms, I would love to hear from you all. 

Scroll to Top