Skip to main content

Access a Parent Element With JavaScript or jQuery

By Adam Roberts

JavaScript

Share:

Free JavaScript Book!

Write powerful, clean and maintainable JavaScript.

RRP $11.95

Often you’ll want your JavaScript functions to access parent elements in the DOM.

To accomplish this in JavaScript, try element.parentNode.

To do the same in jQuery, try element.parent().

Here’s a JavaScript example.

HTML:

<ul id="tabs">
<li class="firsttab"><a href="#">one</a></li>
<li class="secondtab"><a href="#">two</a></li>
</ul>

JavaScript:

function init() {
  var tablinks = document.getElementById('tabs').getElementsByTagName('a');
  for (var i = 0, j = tablinks.length; i < j; i++) {
    tablinks[i].onclick = doit;
  }
}
function doit() {
  alert(this.parentNode.className);
}
window.onload = init;

Adam is SitePoint's head of newsletters, who mainly writes Versioning, a daily newsletter covering everything new and interesting in the world of web development. He has a beard and will talk to you about beer and Star Wars, if you let him.

New books out now!

Get practical advice to start your career in programming!


Master complex transitions, transformations and animations in CSS!