What is…a Tiger Mom?

How many times this week have you heard someone talking about Tiger Moms? No…I’m not talking about 40-something Cougars out there picking up younger men. I’m talking about your parenting style. Amy Chua wrote a memoir of her extremely strict, tough love approach to parenting titled “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. But it was the article she recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, that has people reacting very strongly. Just to give you an idea of what is causing all the ruckus, here’s an excerpt from her article:

“A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

- attend a sleepover

- have a playdate

- be in a school play

- complain about not being in a school play

- watch TV or play computer games

- choose their own extracurricular activities

- get any grade less than an “A”

- not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama

- play any instrument other than the piano or violin

- not play the piano or violin.”

Yowsa! Some people think she is off her rocker completely, and some people think that while her ideas seem a bit dictatorship-like, she has proved that her techniques work. Her daughters are excelling. And of course, there are a million more opinions out there somewhere in between. At least we’re all thinking about our parenting technique now – or in some cases, hurriedly coming up with one.

Raising a well-rounded, well-adjusted child that can go out into the world and be successful takes a lot work. But there needs to be fun too. And let’s not forget, kids can still learn WHILE they are having fun. Really. Don’t believe me? Watch your kids play with their friends. While my son was having a playdate over the weekend,  he and his friend spent hours developing their own video game, then posting it online so other kids could try to beat it. They collaborated, they designed, they tried new things…they had a blast.  When they suit up for work someday, I’m sure those skills will serve them well whatever they choose to pursue. Valuable life skills can be learned when children play – even if they just simply learn how to get along with other people.

Whatever side of the debate you are on, it can only benefit our kids to be concerned with how we set about raising them.

Read the article here.

Check out the book here.

Angela Skinner Mullen
Angela leads a caffeine-fueled life chasing her kids around town. She holds degrees in Communications and Marketing, and worked in marketing management in both publishing and technology fields before going freelance. While some think she is obsessive-compulsive about correct usage and grammar, she prefers to think of herself as paying great attention to detail. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two kids, two cats, a frog, and a very large dog. Most likely to be found working from a Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, laptop on and latte in hand.

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