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'Panda Parenting' Helped This Author Raise Her Kids to Be CEOs. Should You Try It Too?
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  • Every parent wants only the best for her child. We all want our kids to grow up smart, successful, strong, and sociable. We want them to do well in school, lead a balanced life, follow their heart, and succeed in their personal relationships later (much, much later) in life. We want them to stand out, lead, create their own paths. In short, we want them to have it all.

    In raising our kids to become the best versions of themselves, we parents employ the best parenting methods we know, or what we believe to be the most suitable for them. Usually, it’s the same as how we were raised by our own parents.

    In the last decade or so, these methods had been given names to differentiate one from the other. 

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    We’ve surely come across the term Tiger Parenting, a style of parenting usually associated with the traditional Chinese, which emphasizes excellence in various aspects of life like academics, sports, and music. In it, parents make their kids undergo rigid regimens and make them follow by gaining psychological control, as described in Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, published in 2011.

    Another much-talked-about style of parenting is Helicopter Parenting, where a parent gets heavily involved in her child’s affairs to the point of micro-managing him, leaving little chance for the child to learn how to make decisions for himself and thereby limiting opportunities for growth. It is called such because the parents are likened to helicopters, hovering at their kids.


    Then there’s also Lawnmower Parenting, where parents clear the path of any unpleasant experiences to protect their children from going through them at all, stripping them of the opportunity to experience real life lessons and learning from them.

    Over the last few years, more terms have been coined to refer to a variety of parenting styles. Dr. Shimi Kang, a Harvard-trained child and adult psychiatrist introduced the term Dolphin Parenting, which aims to achieve a balance between gentle and authoritative parenting. There’s also Elephant Parenting, which is sometimes referred to as permissive parenting or attachment parenting.

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    The newest trend in parenting these days is called Panda Parenting, which, according to Esther Wojcicki, author of How to Raise Successful People, combines both hard and soft techniques for a “perfect ratio of cuddliness and claw” — they sit back and let their kids be, but also safeguard them with rules to guide them through life. 

    Panda Parenting is characterized by gentle guidance, championing love, patience, and grace. Done right, it should help you rear your kids towards success, just like the famous author did.

    Having raised two tech company CEOs and a university professor, she must know what she’s talking about. Her eldest daughter, Susan, is the CEO of Youtube. Janet is a professor at the University of California, while Anne is the CEO of 23andMe, a genomics and biotech company in California.

    “I wanted [my kids] to be as independent and as informed as possible,” she said during a tour to promote her book. “That’s protection for life.”

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    Her five-point principles can be summed up in the acronym TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. It involves loving your kids as they are and allowing them to fail at times so they could learn how to live their lives.

    “You want your child to want to be with you, not to need to be with you,” she writes. Her three daughters, successful as they may be, all live close to her and make time to visit her once a week.

    Says Wojcicki, “This is what we want to bring out in our kids: grit that flows from unbreakable and keen drive and carries them through any instance.” 

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