Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Should I be more of a Tiger Mother?

Ok, late to the party as always, but I wanted to write a little about "Tiger Mothers." By now, just about everyone has heard of Amy Chua, the so-called "Tiger Mother." If you haven't, you can read about her in this article. When I first read about Ms. Chua, I thought, omg, she is awful!! The meanest mother ever!! No play dates? No sleep overs? Forced piano or violin practice for

3 + hours every day?? Throwing away a birthday card that your child hand made for you because it wasn't "good enough"? Unbelievable. But...after reading a little more about her and her comments following that controversial WSJ article, I started thinking about her style of parenting versus "western" parenting. By "western parenting", Chua means heaping on the praise, not encouraging competiveness, not requiring straight A's or much of anything else from one's children.

Many aspects of Chua's parenting style are off putting to me. In many ways, as a parent, I am her polar opposite. I could no more be a "Tiger Mother" than I could grow another nose. It just isn't in me to be a drill sargeant, to deny my child play time with her friends or to refuse a card she's made me (even if I sensed she'd just "dashed it off").

However...I think I have to guard against going too far in the other direction with my daughter. Guard against being too much of that "western parent" that Chua maligns. I do have a tendency to over-praise Elizabeth (good job! good job!). I don't want to be a hard ass, but there is something to be said for saving the praise for when something really merits it. As Elizabeth gets older, I want her to be happy, of course. But I hope I won't forget also, to expect certain things of her. Things like trying her best at school, doing certain chores at home. I hope I won't be so laid back, or soft, that she won't ever learn to push herself, or to work hard at something. I want her to have high expectations of herself, and not settle for sliding by with C's at school if she can do better. I want my daughter to have a happy, fun childhood. So of course I will let her have play dates, and sleep overs, and be in the school play if she wants. But if she's going to be in that school play, I want her to be the best she can be in it.

1 comment:

prepk said...

Hi Annie, I'm doing a little catching up on your blog now that I'm up here in ME and not seeing you and E. so often. As for you be-coming a Tiger mother, I know you'll reach the perfect balance between Bengal and Pussy Cat.
I love the way you describe your little adventures with Elizabeth as well as the more serious aspects of life.

Love you,


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