Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” and article continues to make waves. The article, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior outlines a few of the talking points of her rigid approach to parenting her two daughters.
Today, my good friend Dan Miller wrote a blog entitled How to Cripple Your Kids where he talks about how a Chinese university has set up accommodations for overly protective parents.
Dan’s article didn’t surprise me as I see this sort of behavior as a natural outcome of “Tiger” mothering.. When a parent is micromanaging every affair of a child while they grow up, how on earth can they gain independence?
My tongue-(only-slightly)-in-cheek post yesterday about being a Sloth Mother has had me thinking about these two very different approaches.
The law, Paul talks about in Galatians, is useful in guiding us towards grace. It’s not an end in itself…it’s a means to an end. We use rules to guide but then we mature into grace where we are lead by our hearts. I have found this to be very applicable to parenting.
When my kids were young there were absolutes. I chose the bedtime. I said “no” to some things and picked out their clothes. “Tough nuggies,” were heard more than once echoing in my home.
But as they grew, I shared control. Or so I tried.
Now that I have teenagers, I understand that my parenting approach would fit tidily into the parameters of a “Love and Logic” approach. Instead of saying, “Go to bed!” I allow them to chose their own bedtime and allow the consequences of their late night to hit them in their tired head at 6:00 a.m the following morning.
Kids who learn the consequences for their behaviors and misbehaviors grow up to be powerful adults who understand the value of CHOICE.
My goal isn’t to have well trained monkeys but rather to raise strong individuals who understand who they are and are able to make healthy decisions. (And how on earth will they learn how to make healthy decisions if we don’t allow them to make some lousy ones and suffer those consequences?)
I’m glad Ms. Chua’s kids seem to be turning out okay. And yes, I think she truly loves her kids. (Not that my opinion on the matter is worth a hoot.)
I’m more concerned about all the other moms out there that are declaring this woman a hero and having a born-again like epiphany to become a Tiger Mom themselves.
This parenting stuff is hard hard work. We are unique individuals and we are raising unique individuals and every home needs a unique approach. And that must always begin with “Know Thyself.” NOT a new behavioral code to inflict upon your kids.
The second huge litmus test has got to be relationship. I can’t think of anything more destructive to my relationship with my kids than to start wielding a dictatorship in the home. Sure, I may have outward conformity (out of fear) but I’ll likely lose their hearts in the process.
Nah. The Battle Hymn book is not one you’ll find on my bookshelf anytime soon. That article was more than enough for me.