Parenting, like life, is about balance. Between independence and rules, work and play. With the authoritative dolphin style of parenting, greater self-confidence, critical thinking, good behaviour and academic performance are all achieved by encouraging collaborative communication that is both firm and flexible.
Looking back on my 18 years of parenting experience, I have concluded that it likely didn't matter what approach my wife and I took to raising our daughter. She's her own person. So stop worrying. Follow my seven simple rules for jellyfish parenting and save yourself a lot of grief and possibly a stress-induced stroke.
My mom was not an over-controlling, overbearing tiger mom. Nor was she a permissive, directionless jellyfish mom. My mom was the balance of these extremes and was firm yet flexible. She had rules and expectations -- including clearly expecting us to do well in academics with respectful behaviour. Yet, she also valued our freedom to be kids, individual passions, and independent choices.
Though I was never going to have a career in numbers, the process of succeeding in a subject through practice and memorization did wonders for my self-confidence. If recent test results are any indication, each year, more Canadian students aren't feeling the same triumph. That's a problem we need to solve.