‘A kids' movie made me realise I’m a dolphin parent.’

Universal Pictures
Thanks to our brand partner, Universal Pictures

It’s funny how seeing a movie can function as the catalyst for self-reflection. Yet, hurtling through my 11th year of being a mum, I haven’t ever given thought to the type of parent I actually am. 

I didn’t know a kid’s movie about a family of ducks would start the contemplation but have since come to the realisation that I’m not just ‘winging it’ (pardon the pun). 

“If you show your children love, then the rest will fall into place,” has been my mantra, and despite having no qualifications to dish out such advice, it’s working for me … so far. 

But I’ve recently discovered that there’s a lot more to it. 

It’s a team effort. 

Big family decisions are tough and plenty, but together, nothing is too hard to wrangle. I’m sure this is a lesson for us humans, as well as the ducks!

The new film, Migration is from the Illumination Studios team that created the Minions, Despicable Me, Sing and The Secret Life of Pets blockbusters. Coming to cinemas on Boxing Day, it’s honestly a family-fun comedy full of heart.  

The Mallard ducks leave for a funny, feathered family vacation and the time away from the pond inspires them to enjoy the adventure, open themselves up to new friends and discover more about each other’s capabilities. 

The Helicopter dad, Mack, has his little family’s best interests at the core of everything he does, but it can make him reluctant to try new things. With encouragement from his wife, he agrees to take flight – as long as they’re all in it together. 


It’s this yin and yang vibe that also works for us.

Watch: The trailer for Universal Pictures' all-new Migration film featuring "Out of the Woods (Taylor’s Version)". Post continues below.

I encourage my kids to expand their horizons.

Watching Migration, the kids and I had an overwhelming sense of wanderlust. 

In the film, the Mallard family watch in awe as migrating ducks land on their pond with thrilling tales of far-flung places. It’s then that mother duck Pam persuades her husband Mack to embark on a family trip to Jamaica. 

Mack is content to keep his family safe paddling around their New England pond forever, but Pam is eager to shake things up and show their kids —teen son Dax and duckling Gwen — the wide world beyond the pond. 

How do our kids know how lucky they are if they don’t ever experience how the other half lives? Comparatively, travel is learning, and the best incidental learning is done while outside your own four walls, seeing something completely new.

Regular family holidays and grasping opportunities to get away? I’m very much the Pam in this family, with itchy feet while my husband prefers to keep his planted at home. 


But seeing the enthusiasm I have for travel and how the kids are sponges for learning on the go, my husband doesn’t take much convincing to agree to adventures we can all benefit from. 

“There’s a whole world we’ve been missing out on. Things we didn’t even know existed,” Pam says, exasperated. “I want us to get out and see the world. I don’t want to miss out on life because you’re afraid to leave this pond.” 

I’m more Dolphin mum, less Tiger.

Image: Supplied.


Dolphin parents set rules and have expectations of their kids, but also value creativity and independence. I expect my children to be respectful, to listen and do as they’re told, but I still want them to work things out for themselves!  

They’re young and continue to look to me for guidance, though I sometimes only must give them an encouraging nod for them to proceed with something new. 

While Tiger parents dictate all their child’s routines and time, Dolphin parents are all about balance. We’re more free range, or try-it-yourself. 

This approach has meant my kids are responsible, happy and independent and have the skills to use common sense when I’m not there to remind them right from wrong. 

No place like home.

Mack has created a safe home at the pond for his young family, free from the dangers and disappointments of the world outside. 

While I’m with his wife about the importance of adventure, I can understand his primary need to protect his children. 

Mack questions what sort of father he’d be if he put his young family in harm’s way for no reason, except a chance at a Caribbean vacation. 

In his mind, he’s doing what is best for them. From the moment your children are born, your main job is to shelter them from harm. 

But when is the right time to let them fly the nest? 

We’re all just winging it, really. 

Watch Migration landing in cinemas Boxing Day.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Universal Pictures
Migration is in cinemas Boxing Day.