Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tiger Mom Debate

The Tiger Mom', Amy Chua has recently made national news with her controversial book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, where she proudly explains her strict and relentless parenting style.  In her book, Chua explains how she has insisted on her 7 year old practicing piano for hours on end (even through dinner) until she perfected the piece.  Also, she does not allow grades below a B and places very high standards on academic excellence. 

First, I think that her ideas and parenting style is very extreme, however, there is a lot that we can learn from her philosophy and ideas.  As mentioned in Time Magazine, the Chinese have a fierce global marketplace, and one of the best primary and secondary education systems (which recent testing has proved when compared with other countries).  Although I don't agree with everything that Chua does, I don't think many people would argue that the Chinese have a stronger work ethic in general and a much more disciplined approach to education than westerners.  So, what can we learn from this woman?  Here are a few questions that we can consider as parents...
Should we raise some of the academic expectations we place on our children?

Do we put enough emphasis on academic excellence or are we perhaps clouded by wanting our children to excel in sports or social activities?

Are we teaching our kids to focus on studying enough or could we be allowing too much t.v/facebook?

Are we raising our children to be an asset to our society's global marketplace?

Are we providing our children with enough structure and discipline to be successful in their future?

Personally, I would really like to see my child excel in academics, go to college, and be successful in society (whatever that means to them!) but at the same time I do want them to be happy and enjoy their childhood.  One of the biggest things I think we can take away from Chua and other Chinese parents is the idea that we should praise our children for their hard work instead of praising them just because they are good at something. 

There is no perfect parent.  We all make mistakes along our parenting journey but being open minded to another perspective is a great way to challenge our own parenting styles and learn from each other.

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