Is there a CSS parent selector? Parent selectors in CSS [Answered]

In this post, I’ll share the top best answers to the question related to the parent selectors in CSS.

Problem: How do I select the <li> element that is a direct parent of the anchor element?

Is there a CSS parent selector? Answer #1:

There is currently no way to select the parent of an element in CSS.

If there was a way to do it, it would be in either of the current CSS selectors specs:

That said, the Selectors Level 4 Working Draft includes a :has() pseudo-class that will provide this capability. It will be similar to the jQuery implementation.

li:has(> { /* styles to apply to the li tag */ }

However, as of 2021, this is still not supported by any browser.

In the meantime, you’ll have to resort to JavaScript if you need to select a parent element.

Is there a CSS parent selector? Answer #2:

I don’t think you can select the parent in CSS only.

But as you already seem to have an .active class, it would be easier to move that class to the li (instead of the a). That way you can access both the li and the a via CSS only.

You can use this script:

*! > input[type=text] { background: #000; }

This will select any parent of a text input. But wait, there’s still much more. If you want, you can select a specified parent:

.input-wrap! > input[type=text] { background: #000; }

Or select it when it’s active:

.input-wrap! > input[type=text]:focus { background: #000; }

Check out this HTML:

<div class="input-wrap">
    <input type="text" class="Name"/>
    <span class="help hide">Your name sir</span>

You can select that when the input is active and show it:

.input-wrap! .help > input[type=text]:focus { display: block; }

There are many more capabilities; just check out the documentation of the plugin.

BTW, it works in Internet Explorer.

Is there a CSS parent selector? Answer #3:

The pseudo element :focus-within allows a parent to be selected if a descendent has focus.

An element can be focused if it has a tabindex attribute.

Browser support for focus-within



.parent:focus-within {
  background: hsl(199deg, 65%, 73%);

/* demo styles */
body {
  margin: 0;
.parent {
  background: hsl(0, 0%, 80%);
  min-height: 100vh;
  display: grid;
  place-content: center;
.child {
  background: hsl(0, 0%, 0%);
  color: white;
  padding: 3rem;
  outline: 0;
  cursor: pointer;
  font: 18px/1.25 sans-serif;
  width: 20ch;
<div class="parent">
  <div class="child" tabindex="1">
    Click or Focus on me, my parent will change.

Hope this post help you in some way.

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