Panda Parenting, A New Form of Parenting

The idea of panda parenting is about encouraging autonomy, based on confidence in children's natural abilities. Learn more in this article.
Panda Parenting, A New Form of Parenting

Last update: 28 August, 2022

We say that being a mother doesn’t come with a manual on how to do it right. However, perhaps we’re wrong and the opposite is true: There are so many manuals, so many approaches, and multiple recommendations about the best parenting method that we can turn to. With that in mind, we want to tell you about a new trend in parenting known as Panda Parenting.

Avoid authoritarianism, but know how to set limits; be democratic, but without turning the child into a “little tyrant”. Parenting is a process of transition between subtleties. Therefore, depending on the different ideas about what’s best, different parenting styles emerge. Today, thanks to Ester Wojcicki, we present “panda parenting” so that you too can find out what it’s all about

Panda parenting, what is it all about?

Esther Wojcicki, author of the book How to Raise Successful People and professor in Silicon Valley, uses her own experience to develop her approach of panda parenting. She aims to trust children as if they were little adults, allowing them to carry their own compass and orient themselves toward their desires and projects. This gives them more closeness to real life, as well as self-confidence.

In nature, panda bears protect their cubs until they feel they’re ready to stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves. By using the analogy of the animal universe, the idea of panda mothers emerges as a form of parenting that takes as its starting point confidence in the child and its own abilities.

It’s about creating a mix between unconditional love and setting limits. Children have the right to explore, to test themselves, and to challenge themselves. However, there are certain rules that they must respect and comply with for their safety, their well-being, and that of others. In this regard, not only cognitive or rational skills are worked on, but also contact with emotions is encouraged and their management is promoted.

Although all mothers seek to enhance their children’s abilities and prepare them for life, in this case, the difference lies in the method.

Esther Wokcicki in a conference.
Esther Wojcicki is an American journalist and professor from Silicon Valley. She’s the creator of the concept of panda parenting, which she has put into practice in raising her daughters.

On panda motherhood

Wojcicki uses the acronym TRICK to exemplify where the focus is with panda parenting. It comes from the following words:

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Independence
  • Collaboration
  • Kindness

With these elements, in a rhythmic dance, the adults accompany and guide the children. In addition, they demonstrate their trust in them, while supporting their ideas and decisions. Of course, this isn’t a linear and straightforward path, it has its own challenges and there’s also a lot of personal work involved.

What to keep in mind about panda parenting

While the Wojcicki case study is often mentioned, whose daughters are considered successful, it’s very important not to get lost in such details. That is, being the CEO of a company shouldn’t be the ultimate goal in life. This would imply ignoring the fact that circumstances and context are also variable and that not all people start from the same place or have the same conditions. The idea of panda parenting doesn’t have to function as a new mandate to be fulfilled, but as a toolbox to be provided to children for survival.

However, what’s interesting about this concept is the possibility of encouraging a leading and proactive role of children. It is, in a certain way, a way of freeing them from their infantilization, without ignoring that there are times when they need more support.

A father helping his young son to learn to ride a bike.
Life confronts us with difficulties and obstacles on a daily basis. That’s why it’s best to teach the little ones how to face problems by their own means and to give them all the necessary tools.

Take a look at ourselves to exercise motherhood

The Woj method also works on the self-confidence of adults. It’s a call to look at our own instinct, to connect with and listen to ourselves as parents, instead of replicating to the letter what others tell us. At the same time, we must accept that we’ll all make mistakes and try to improve our own versions as we go along.

In addition to personal characteristics and experiences, motherhood is a construct. There are things that are only learned through experience, as challenges present themselves. Of course, preparing isn’t the same as improvising. In the first case, it’s a matter of looking for tools and resources to get information, to understand how to act, and even reflect on one’s own upbringing and on past experiences. In other words, deciding what we want to repeat and which mandates we want to get rid of. In other words, finding the right balance between what we want and what’s suggested to us.

At the same time, if there’s another parent present, it’s a matter of agreeing on parenting methods to avoid transmitting erroneous or ambiguous messages to the children.

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