Women's Health

Different Types of Parenting: Elephant Mom

battle-hymn-of-the-tiger-mother1As we discuss and debate various styles of parenting a new one popped up that caught my interest. “Elephant mom”; i had certainly heard of helicopter and tiger and hippy but “elephant mom”; that was a surprise. But it was something familiar and something intuitive; elephants are majestic, graceful, nurturing and are known to bring good luck. We often see animal shows in which even a lion or a cheetah cannot catch and elephant baby; those elephants nurture, protect and watch. They gather together as a village to protect their young.

The term “elephant mom” was first brought up in a 2014 article by Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar in The Atlantic Magazine to describe her nurturing, sheltered upbringing. It is synonymous with allowing children more flexibility and choices rather than definitive and strict guidelines that need to be followed. They may rock their children to sleep whereas other parents would be apt to cry it out, they may be more focused on living in the moment and enjoying than fearing the future. They may allow more freedom but within safety, caution and guidelines. Oddly enough although more freedom is allowed, such as the Montessori Method of Learning there is actually an outcome which may be more healthy and safe. In other words a child who is allowed choices may eventually develop more self esteem and self direction than one who is frequently scolded and criticized.

One of the drawbacks of nurture, protection and choices may be a concern that children may become more dependent on their parents and unable to solve their own problems. It may lead to more adjustment issues later on as a young adult without close proximity to parents and family.

Parenting styles can often be mixed and matched during the earliest phases of a child’s life; it is one option to further explore and learn.

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