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Moms Talk Q&A: Tiger Moms

Weigh in.

This week's topic, which as always will be started by our Moms Council, will deal with a topic that has been swirling around in the media lately.

Tiger Moms: Is a super-strict parenting approach the right one, and if not, are there still lessons to be learned from such a drastic alternative?

Add your thoughts in the comments!

Gail Norris March 30, 2011 at 05:20 PM
I haven’t read Amy Chua’s book, but based the excerpts I’ve seen and what I’ve heard in interviews about the “Tiger Mom” phenomena, I don’t agree with that approach. That’s just not my personal style – and I’m fine with being a “Western” mom, if I must be stereotyped (and stereotyping moms is probably a topic for another discussion, too). I don’t think I’m overindulgent, and I’m strict when I need to be. I value education and want to instill a love of learning and make them understand why it’s important to do well in their studies – but I already know that being a drill sergeant won’t be effective achieving this goal with my twins. It will have the opposite effect. And I want to give my kids the freedom to explore the activities they enjoy and at which they excel, rather than fitting square pegs in round holes. One of the comments I read in an article about Chua said “…tell Amy that Chinese daughters who grew up with Tiger moms appreciate her for finally telling our stories – tough love! ‘You never tell your child you love them, they must earn your love’ – My Tigermom.” I can never imagine making my twins “earn” my love – it’s an unconditional thing, just as is my support and encouragement in academics and the extra-curricular activities they pursue. Yes extreme achievement may be great for parental bragging rights, but what is the ultimate cost on the child and his/her relationship with the Tiger?
Shihoko Goto March 30, 2011 at 07:06 PM
If limiting television time to a couple of hours on a Sunday and piano practice is a must each day, not to mention homework and supplementary studies on a daily basis, then I am a Tiger Mom lite. But is encouraging good study habits and banning advertising viewing at home such a terrible thing to do? Is it so cruel to guide children to work hard if they want results that are long-lasting and rewarding? It’s easier just to have the kids watch TV whenever they want (including, gasp! In the car!!) and expose them to all sorts of commercials that push them to eat additives, preservatives and food coloring. It’s easier too just to say yes, without having a firm educational guideline. Children have the opportunity to be exposed to so many things and to grow in so many unexpected ways, it would be criminal for parents not to allow them to be challenged and to be exposed to as many things as possible. Understanding too that advancement only comes with practice and perseverance is a great life lesson. Any laissez-faire parent who claims they don’t want to stress their child is simply being a lazy parent. I admit, though, that Amy Chua is the alpha tiger mom. But then I think the Yale professor is only as hard on her kids as she is on herself.
Robin Ferrier March 30, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Maybe this is going to sound wishy washy, but I'm more middle of the road on this issue. I had a military father who was "tough" on me in that he expected me to respect adults and teachers, work hard for my grades (not be given them), and generally behave. But he and my mother also respected my need to be me -- for example, to pursue my love of writing vs. feeling I needed to follow his path into engineering. And they ALWAYS gave me time to be a kid! One of my biggest concerns as a parent today is that kids seem SO overscheduled. What happened to coming home after school and just going outside to play? What happened to neighborhood kickball games while the mothers sat out in the driveway and talked? Now it just seems like it's all homework and rehearsals and practices. And all because of fear about getting into the write college. It's exhausting just thinking about it! I want to be strict enough that my daughter knows good grades are required, but not so strict that she feels pressured into cheating just to get that A. I want to be strict enough that she knows she'd better respect her teachers, but not so strict that she's scared to question what she's being taught. I want her to be structured enough to succeed because she practices and rehearses, but not so strict that she can't just enjoy being a kid and having fun. How do you achieve that balance? I'll let you know when she's older if I figure it out!
Robin Ferrier March 31, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Shihoko -- I agree that there is just WAY too much TV watching going on these days. I wonder how much of it is due to having two working parents who are both exhausted after full work days and who then take the easy way out. Not an excuse by any means, and we need to fight the urge to take that easy way out when it comes to raising kids. But it may be one explanation...

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