The term elephant parent refers to a parent who is very nurturing and protective and tends to focus on the emotions of his or her child over academic or athletic success.
An elephant parent is relaxed about their child's academic achievement or sporting prowess. Instead, they prize emotional security and connection. In common with attachment parenting, they may favour physical closeness as well.
— Rosa Silverman, The Telegraph (UK), 21 Mar. 2019
The female pachyderm herself is known for protectiveness and close connection with her calf—and her amazing memory (as the adage goes "an elephant never forgets").
Physically, the elephant is characterized by a snout elongated into a muscular trunk, which is used to hold things as well as to drink, eat, and communicate. Additionally, it has two tusks, wide, flat ears, and columnar legs. The elephant is most often seen in savannas, grasslands, and forests of tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.
The animal's gestation period is long (about 18-22 months), and given the adult elephant's size, the newborn is hefty. After birth, the parents separate, and the mother takes care of her calf in a family group of female cows. The calves enjoy their motherly up-bringing, which may have influenced the application of elephant parent for a nurturing and protective parent.
The name elephant derives from Anglo-French and Latin. In early English, Anglo-French olifant came to refer to not only the animal but to a hunter's horn made from an elephant tusk. The English "e" spelling of the animal's name, however, is influenced by the Anglo-French elefant as well as Latin elephantus and Greek elephant-, elephas.
In American slang, "to see the elephant" implies gaining worldly knowledge or seeing something remarkable.
To see the elephant in this ever-shrinking world—a world with rovers on Mars, probes speeding past Jupiter, a map of the human genome, cars that park themselves, cloned sheep and restaurants that serve breakfast all day—requires a higher definition of exotic.
— Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 27 Oct. 2018
A child of an elephant parent might be hesitant to venture out "to see the elephant," but elephant mom and dad will probably start encouraging it once their child becomes a teenager.