Review of Dr. Shimi Kang’s The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Self-Motivated Kids

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Title: The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Self-Motivated Kids

Author: Dr. Shimi K. Kang

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Publication Date: 14 April 2015

Genre: Parenting

Pages: 352

Purchase Link: Amazon


Before I’d conceived, my knowledge of parenting literature was restricted to Dr. Spock- an ancient relic from my mother’s time. Now I’m overwhelmed with the wealth and variety of parenting knowledge. Tomes of literature are available on vastly differing styles so people can choose what appeals to them. I’m not very keen on raising my child based on books, but as a reviewer I was tempted to read Dr. Shimi Kang’s “The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids”; after attending a talk given by her at the Dolphin POD center in Vasant Kunj.


Coined by Dr. Shimi Kang, renowned child and adult psychiatrist, dolphin parenting is a far cry from the regimented and strict tiger parenting, and more effective than the laidback jellyfish style of parenting.

After years of working with troubled children, and being the mother of three, Dr. Kang realized the parenting styles of decades past, were more effective in instilling confidence and emotional strength, than the current parenting practices of hovering over and constantly scheduling activities. Based on certain irrefutable principles she advocates dolphin parenting as the best method to develop self-motivation, which is essential to survive in today’s overly competitive environment. These principles are- adaptability, community-mindedness, creativity and critical thinking.

After penning this highly successful book, Dr. Kang put the method in practice by opening centers geared to cultivating these principles in a child’s life. The Dolphin POD in Vasant Kunj is one such exponent.


Dr. Shimi Kang. Picture courtesy:


Her principles aren’t groundbreaking, but they shine light on values and activities we often overlook in the race to make our children succeed. Dr. Kang shares case studies and examples where parents feel the need to propel their children in a certain direction, often at the cost of their mental and physical well-being. Parents are sometimes oblivious, while children feel weighted by unrealistic expectations to achieve ever greater heights.

She carefully explains that the prevalent idea of education is to make a child as successful as possible at the youngest possible age. A natural consequence is that children grow up without ever having time to be children! They don’t get as much play time, downtime, outdoors time or socializing time as nature intended for them.

The only way to solve this problem, according to Dr. Kang, is by taking a step back and consciously adopting the four pillars of dolphin parenting. She attests to personally having seen wonderful results and vast improvement in previously unhappy and under-achieving children.


At the outset, I found that all the principles and the method advocated in this book aren’t new or groundbreaking. I grew up in an environment where this was the only way to bring up children. The book is a good compilation of these values put in an engaging manner, but it’s nothing I didn’t already know. I’ve always believed that children should be allowed to think for themselves, with parents acting as guides. Therefore, Dr. Kang’s book is merely a reinforcement of my existing beliefs.
Secondly, I feel the case studies are the most interesting portions of the text, but there are long gaps between case studies where I would lose interest and not absorb the material. However, I  did like the easy flow of the writing.

If you feel your child is unhappy with academic or other pressures and seems ill-adjusted in life, this book will show you an easy solution. I can’t say if the method works in making your children healthy, happy and self-motivated, but the book certainly makes for an interesting and educational read.

Book Rating: 3.5/5


*featured image courtesy:

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  1. Great review. I must say I hate self-help books with a passion, but then I suppose others must love them as they always seem to sell really well. I’ve got three well-rounded, well-behaved, polite sons aged 21, 15 and 12. I’ve never needed a book to show me how to being them up or behave as a parent.

  2. Good review. I enjoyed reading it. I am not a parent , but I find it interesting that some said the hovering doesn’t work. Thank goodness! Hopefully parents will allow their kids to be kids

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