Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom, made headlines recently when she shared her hard-edged approach to parenting. Brie takes a look at both camps and shares her own take on this hot topic…
We went out to dinner with some close friends the other night and they asked my husband and me what we thought of the whole Tiger Mom phenomenon that’s taken the news by storm. It’s funny, I found myself hesitant to jump into my opinions about it all, honestly. But truthfully, I find it all pretty intriguing. And your darn right, like every other Mom out there, I have my opinions.
If you’ve been in a closet the past few weeks, Amy Chua, the so called “Tiger Mom,” wrote a controversial memoir about raising kids and being Chinese and a lot, lot more. An article came out recently called Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior that started a national and international frenzy creating two pretty strong camps with loads of stragglers in between. On one side the rigid, no-spend the night, 5 hour long piano practice enforcing, “Eastern” immigrant and like-minded parents. On the other side, the liberal, self-esteem concerned, helicopter, give-your-kid-whatever-the-hell-she-wants, “Western” parents.
So I waited. I wanted to hear what they thought first. The two of them are not parents. But the woman is a teacher who I’ve worked with, and respect greatly. Both of their opinions matter very much to my husband and me. And then I dove in…
Honestly, yes, I think Amy Chua has some crazy ideas. The fact that she didn’t allow sleepovers and forced her kids to choose either piano or violin, despite their personal interests was maybe a bit strong for my liking. But I gotta say, having worked with kids as long as I can remember, it was refreshing to hear that someone out there also believes in the importance of discipline, routine, high expectations, practice and hard work. And this someone doesn’t just talk about it, she enforces it.
Perhaps what strikes me the most about this whole frenzy is that it has hit such a prevalent chord with so many people worldwide, even people who are not parents themselves. Clearly, everyone is influenced greatly by how we all choose to raise our kids. It seems in many ways, who we become has a great deal to do with how we were raised.
I guess my biggest take away from this whole craze is the value of constantly checking in with how I am parenting. I believe it is, and should be a mindful journey the entire way through. Where I live in Colorado, the parenting pendulum is definitely sitting pretty heavily in the learn-by-choice/exploration, cater-to-the-kid camp. Not that this is a bad thing by any means, but the notion that another way might be good or even better is a good shock to the system for a lot of people.
Truth be told, this provides a hell of an opportunity to look at myself as a parent and reevaluate why I stand so firmly where I stand to begin with. Without these kinds of firm opinions and challenges out there, we’d never have to look at ourselves and why we act and believe what we do in the first place. And for that, I thank the Big, Bad Tiger Mom.