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Tiger Parenting and Elephant Parenting: Is One Style Better?

Parenting styles vary about as much as children vary, which is a lot. That variety is what makes our world unique, and also what makes communities thrive. But, is there a style of parenting that is better for kids when it comes to their physical, emotional, and virtual well-being?

In Part One of our Parenting Styles series, we provided a brief overview of eight different parenting styles. And when we say different, that is exactly what we mean!


Now, let us explore two of those styles, tiger parenting, and elephant parenting, along with the pros and cons of these styles. Please keep in mind that the pros and cons noted below are potential outcomes, not definite outcomes.

Tiger Parenting

Tiger Parenting: Pushing or pressuring your child(ren) to attain high levels of academic achievement or success in extracurricular actives.


  • Leads to more productive, responsible, and motivated children
  • Children develop a strong work ethic
  • Teaches children how to challenge themselves
  • Children focus on intrinsic motivation vs. external rewards


  • Causes children to be self-critical and undermine their confidence
  • Children may be afraid of making mistakes
  • An intense focus on perfection can cause anxiety and depression
  • Leads to poor coping skills

Tiger parents may have a leg-up when it comes to their child’s physical and virtual well-being. In theory, the disciplined approach could help a child excel in terms of school, physical activity, and even online safety. It’s the structured, focused approach that may be the benefit.

At the same time, the emotional side of a child’s life could suffer – emotions don’t run on a disciplined schedule. However; this potential shortcoming can be overcome by focusing on building resilience in your child and spending quality time with them that is unrelated to a specific task/project like homework or sports. Additionally, widen the definition of success to include emotional intelligence and creativity.

Some children will thrive with tiger parenting because they crave being pushed to accomplish things. This parent/child combination could lead to amazing things for the child.

Elephant Parenting

Elephant Parenting: Focusing on the emotional security and connection of your child and being relaxed about your child’s academic and sporting achievements.


  • Creates a carefree childhood environment
  • Provides opportunities to let kids be kids
  • Offers a feeling of comfort and support


  • May not provide children with needed boundaries
  • Creates overly dependent children
  • Makes it difficult for children to adjust to adulthood

Elephant parents may have the advantage when it comes to the emotional well-being of their child(ren) because that is their primary focus. With elephant parenting, children may build strong emotional intelligence and develop a strong sense of who they are.

On the flip side, children may not “excel” when it comes to school, extracurricular activities, or virtually. That said, these potential challenges could be mitigated by working some “lessons” into child-friendly playtime. By taking a comforting and supportive approach to schoolwork, online opportunities, and extracurriculars, children may be able to explore interests while still feeling supported and carefree.

Frankly, we’ve all met children that need an environment that enables them to grow and learn on their own. These children can truly blossom when combined with an elephant parent.

So, which is your style?

So, which of these two parenting styles is right? That depends on the child and their style. One approach may align better than another, or it may be a combination of the two (and a few others). In any case, it’s important to find what works best for you (the parent), and for your child(ren).

And remember, balance is important. This is especially true when it comes to raising children and developing as a parent.

Stay tuned to our blog because we have more parenting styles to explore! Next, we’ll look at the pros and cons of helicopter parenting and hands-off parenting. In the meantime, check out one of our previous posts, Helping Kids Become Cyber Wise, for tips on how to keep your kids safe online.