2023 Welcome To The Year of ‘Jellyfish Parenting’

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There are a few things we already know about 2023: the cost of living crisis is going to affect almost everything we do, particularly for parents and families, the political landscape will continue to be embroiled in turmoil and election countdown fever, and in the most era-defining news Harry will continue to reveal too much information!

We’ve had tiger mums and helicopter parents so welcome to 2023 – where 2023 is all about laid-back jellyfish parenting!

I often say that raising toddlers is a bit like trying to tame jelly – all wobbles and no rules but I wouldn’t advocate you adopt being a jellyfish parent!

Jellyfish parenting has been defined as ‘boneless, diaphanous ( which means flimsy – I had to look it up!)  or I’d prefer ‘flaky’ and is endlessly flexible.’

Kristene Geering, director of education at Parent Lab, describes it as “practising the art of really tuning into your kid.’

Like everything in life you really do have to find the balance!

As Jessica Barrett sarcastically puts it in her article in inews ‘it might sound like you’re being spineless or a doormat, but experts have claimed that not forcing your child to do anything they don’t want to, such as music classes or sporting events, is actually gently teaching your child to make decisions on their own.’

We have moved a long way, thank goodness, from Victorian styles of parenting where parents were not known for showing affection and believed even minimal amounts of affection would spoil a child. Never kissing or hugging their children, giving them only only a peck on the forehead before bed if they really couldn’t help themselves and being totally autocratic.

But looks like we’re headed for the other extreme in 2023!


Verywell Family describes it as:

The Jellyfish Parenting Style

As the name suggests, jellyfish parents are all about flexibility with their kids, their schedules, and their wants and needs. Jellyfish parents may threaten time-outs or grounding, but they rarely follow through with said consequences. Instead, they tend to prefer a more communicative approach to deal with behaviour or let it go entirely. Children raised by a jellyfish parent are given a significant amount of autonomy and less structure and routine.

Shimi Kang, MD, a psychiatrist, and best-selling author says she coined the terms jellyfish parenting and dolphin parenting in her book, The Dolphin Way. She says jellyfish parents are permissive, driven by a child’s demands, and lack expectations.

But kids thrive on firm, fair, consistent boundaries and clear expectations and Jellyfish parenting strikes me a the same as Permissive parenting.

Click on the link to read more about: Know Your Parenting Style

There is always a lot of debate about how much ‘Nature’ versus ‘Nurture’ influences in raising happy, confident, well-balanced kids with great self esteem and strong mental health and I have written about this in more detail in my ‘Raising Happy Children For Dummies‘ book but there’s lots of research that shows there’s a big link between your parenting styles and the effects your style has on your kids.

Our parenting style can be one that we naturally are inclined to, or it can be influenced by the way we were brought up as children, or in many cases, with the parents I work with, it can be a reaction against the way you were brought up. But I think it’s helpful to at least be aware of your parenting style particularly as it needs to change during the toddler & teenage years when you need to become more flexible.

But one thing I believe kids of all ages need is firm, fair, consistent, loving discipline.

Either end of the pendulum swinging between rigid and jellyfish styles is likely to be confusing for children – so find a balance!



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