Tiger Mom or Not?
February 22, 2011
It's time to chime in on the Tiger Mom discussion. I ignored it for quite awhile because, honestly, I didn't want to give it any further attention. The woman is ... insane, IMBO. Seriously - insane in the kind of way you consider people who do crazy things that are maybe harmful, but maybe not, insane. I mean - why?
Tiger Mom is a book and Time magazine did a story on it - on her, the author, and the world went gaga over it. Gaga in sometimes a good way, sometimes a not so good way. Some say she was right to parent with a clawed paw. Some called her a monster for using those claws. Why?
Because the tiger mom of the story insists that threats, anger, punishment, and pushing your kids to be the best you want them to be (not the best THEY can be), is the way to raise successful kids. This woman has a point - sometimes we spoil our kids, here in the U.S. Kids are pretty used to getting their own way - including letting 2-year olds decide what to wear and 4-year olds decide what time to go to bed. Being a bit harder on our kids - like expecting them to respect their elders, is not a bad thing.
The point made in the story is, "The tiger mother's cubs are being raised to rule the world, the book clearly implies, while the offspring of "weak-willed," "indulgent" Westerners are growing up ill equipped to compete in a fierce global marketplace."
Therefore...turning to abuse - yes, I consider throwing a homemade birthday card at your daughter and calling it "garbage" to be abuse - is the answer. [my new granddaughter, seen here, might be saying, "Oh yeah! Says who?"]
I love the way the Fabulous Geezersisters responded - with more of a Laissez-Faire approach to parenting. She cites laughter and humor as must haves in the parenting focus. So true! We laughed a lot at our house, when my kids were growing up. I was strict, sometimes, but more often I gave my kids a lot of leeway. Not as toddlers. As toddlers, I was always in charge. But, once they started school, once they could read and write, I allowed them input in how their lives should be.
Was that the right approach? Who knows? My daughters tell me sometimes that I spoiled my son - and I may have. He seems the least prepared for life, lately. However, it's just as likely that personality played a role in how each of them turned out and his personality is more like mine. Truth is - I didn't blossom until I was about 30 - an age he is nearing. The girls were strong, independent, and smart - they were more in charge of their lives from about 14 on, than I ever was, and than my son ever was. (It's good that he doesn't read this blog...at least, I don't think he does).
How, I wonder, did I 'spoil' my son differently than I 'spoiled' my daughters? If I had been a tiger mom, would he be different - better, or worse? Yes, in hindsight we can see things we might have said or done differently - it's the "in the moment" parenting that gets you. You do the best you can, with whatever you have. I have a plaque on my desk that says just that, "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have."
Back to the Tiger Mom - back to her insistence that her children practice musical lessons for hours at a time and never bring home less than an A, in any subject. I believe her intentions are right. She's devoted to making sure her daughters use their brains and learn to perservere, regardless of how tired or worn out they might be. She's preparing them for "life"...so the story goes. Problem is - doesn't "life" prepare them well enough? Isn't it worthwhile to have a respite - a place, like 'home', where you can go as a child, to escape some of life's abuses? When those abuses are tripled within your safe-place, how is that a good thing?
Tough love. Maybe that's what she thought she was using. In the Time mag story, she said she was just following in her own parents' footsteps. And look how well she turned out!Some may wonder how well that is... considering her need for perfection.
Will her daughters do the same? They're products of our culture, as much as her parenting. Maybe they'll temper their focus on excellence with some good, solid love and affection, not something the tiger mom seemed prone to hand out. Just saying...
I wonder how loud the Tiger Mom's daughter's roar will be. If they roar at all.
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