Royal couple are lion, terrier AND penguin parents

Prince William and Kate Middleton are already exuding key attributes of being great parents to royal baby Prince George, a top childcare expert has exclusively revealed.

Following Prince William revealing he wants to be a "hands on dad," Denise Robertson - who worked with Princess Diana - has revealed he's already mirroring his late mother's parenting style.

"I think he's going to be a marvellous parent and I'm not just basing that on [his recent] interview," she told Yahoo! Lifestyle.

"Look at how he's managed his life up to now... I certainly think he'll be a hands on father because I think he's so like his mother.

"I worked with his mother a number of times and I see a combination of both her determination in him - look at the way he's changing things, but all in a very smiley way - and the enormous love and affection she had for all children."

In fact, Denise believes how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have handled new parenthood so far shows they're already a mix of the three main parent types - the 'terrier, the 'lion' and 'penguin parenting.'

'Terrier tactics' refers to parents who want to be involved in every aspect of their child's lives, while 'Lion Kings' see families focus on independence and a hands off approach.

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Meanwhile, 'penguin parenting' is the name given to parents who share the responsibilities for their children, whether they're still a couple or not.

According to Denise, the perfect parent is a heady mix of all three - something she says Wills and Kate are already employing now.

She explained: "[As a parent], William will know when to draw the line. Sometimes you need to be a terrier and at other times you need to know when to step back and be like a lion.

"[They're already] acting as penguin parents. At this moment, I'm full of optimism for Kate and William as parents.

"Parents need to be a combination of all three [terrier, lion and penguin]. There's room for everything."

She continued: "There are times when a child needs to feel mum and dad are there for them unconditionally, but also an understanding that mum and dad have their own lives too.

"There's nothing as sad as when you see teens heading off to university who clearly had 'terrier' parents, and when they get out into life on their own they're terrified.

"It's so important to let a child develop independently to an extent too."`

However, letting a child have their own independence can be a challenge, as many parents understand.

She added that having this element of 'lion' parenting is one of the toughest, particularly in the world children are growing up in now.

"[Independence] can be very difficult for a parent," she said.

"The world has changed nowadays; it's not so much that parents have changed.

"As a child, I used to be allowed to roam in reasonable hours owing to the fact there were a tiny numbers of cars on the road.

"Nowadays, parents need to have one ear cocked all the time; they have a real uphill struggle.

"Today the fast car means you can reach another county in minutes. [It's frightening.]

"But that doesn't mean we ought to be on our children's cases all the time. We need to let them stand on their own two feet."

So what does Denise advise to parents trying to get a better balance of lion, terrier and penguin parenting?

"Having the ability to stay calm even when your heart is racing," she smiled.

"It's very difficult to get right. I think William and Kate will be good at that - they exude calmness.

"But one of the biggest things I have children saying to me is how their parents 'went off on one.' That doesn't help."

She added: "For a child, knowing that your parents are always there for you, even in they're not in the same room - that's the secret."

Recalling a scene of Princes William and Harry being reunited with their mother during a Royal Tour stop onboard a ship in Canada in 1991, she said: "I think William and Harry have very strong memories of their mother, Diana.

"She wasn't there all the time - she did a great deal of charity work -  but they knew she was there for them.

"I always remember that lovely scene where they were reunited on a ship and one of them ran up to her and leapt into her arms. That's the secret of parenting.

"To be everything to them - the terrier, the lion and always the penguin."

Denise added that there is always help at hand for parents too; whether it's grandparents, friends or through an organisation.

"You should listen to advice, let it run past you and in the end, make your own decisions," she said.

"Grandparents' advice is good - they do know some things as they were there before - but you make your own decisions at the end of the day.

"Also, lots of organisations like Young Minds and Family Alive can help, even if you just want that listening ear."

Denise Robertson has teamed up with Capri Sun to keep the kids entertained this summer. Go to for more information.

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