What Is Extreme Parenting?

The definition of extreme parenting can be somewhat subjective and open to debate. Generally, parenting tactics and principles that swim upstream and fly in the face of convention qualify for extreme parenting. If you don’t like following the rules, preferring to make your own goals and guidelines, you may be an extreme parent, too.

Academic Standards

The drive for children to succeed academically can be a high priority for some parents. Toward this end, a parent might exert extreme pressure on the child, with punishments and loss of privileges if the child does not meet expectations. Results of these high academic standards can be discipline, ethics, confidence and intelligence, states C. Cindy Fan, UCLA associate dean of social sciences. However, high academic expectations and rigid scheduling may also cause undue stress for children. Setting more realistic expectations for a child's academic performance may produce better academic results, states Sandra L. Christenson, Ph.D. and Cathryn Peterson, teacher, with the University of Minnesota Extension.

Rigid Schedules

Some forms of extreme parenting -- such as the "tiger mother" approach -- do not allow children to participate in and engage in entertainment and social engagements 2. In the quest to protect children and maintain a rigid focus, parents will not allow socializing with peers, including play dates and sleepovers. Parents following this parenting style may also eliminate entertainment such as television, movies and electronic games from a child’s life. Purported benefits of the tiger mother approach include children focusing on achievements and having a strong respect for parents. Potential drawbacks may include squashed creativity due to required conformity to the parents’ standards.

Attachment Focus

Some parents choose to focus their extremism on attaching with their children instead of rigidly encouraging performance and academic success. The attachment parenting style has a foundation of discerning a child’s needs and then working to meet the needs, according to its creator -- pediatrician and author William Sears 13. Some tenets of the attachment parenting style include breastfeeding into toddlerhood, cosleeping and carrying a child in a sling or pouch 13. This prioritizes the bond between child and parents, in an attempt to prepare the child for future independence and success. However, it's also possible for attachment parenting to lead to overextended parents and overly dependent children, warns WebMD 13. In addition, if parents do not take precautions to cosleep safely, infant injury or death could occur from suffocation.


Neglectful parents can also fall under an extreme form of parenting. These parents are too busy to interact with children and supervise their activities; they rarely intervene or become involved in a child's life, failing to provide guidance. Extreme parental disinterest may even result in an involuntary termination of parental rights, notes the National Paralegal College.

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