I wrote Common Entrance at 9 years old, scoring 527/600 in the examination . Prior to that time, my mum (of blessed memory) used to stay up till 11 o’clock after her long day at work, to drill in my Maths lessons (after the lesson teacher had come and gone). She thought me fractions, prime numbers, algebraic equations and all and didn’t fail to pull my ears when I failed to remember something she had told me ten times.
I am now 26 and I look back at the various ways in which she moulded me in the issues of life like sending me on errands to Grandma’s house via public transport at 13, making me feed my younger sister Nutrend at 9; risking walls and rugs full of cereal spit-ups and keeping me in charge of large sums of money for home upkeep at 15.
Three weeks ago, I read Why Chinese mothers are superior; an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL where Amy Chua, the Chinese Yale University professor and mother of 2 girls self professed herself a TIGER MUM, harping on the superiority of Chinese mothers over Western mothers. She attributed this to the pervading permissiveness of the West and contrasted this to the tough talking, no nonsense Chinese who won’t let her daughters 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.
According to Amy Chua, she once called her daughter ‘garbage’ when she was disrespectful to her although I cannot remember my mum calling me garbage or anything like that ( I think that is extreme).
There has been a lot of uproar about this new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger mum from which this memoir was excerpted; ranging from descriptions like “this is an extreme, rigid and authoritarian approach” to “Wow! This woman is painfully honest”.
In a Times ARTICLE Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers; Nancy Gibbs, a columnist attempted to provide a more balanced view in favor of Amy Chua’s stand: “There is something bracing about Chua's apparent indifference to her daughters' hostility, especially for parents who have learned that even if you let your teenagers spend 50 hours a week on Facebook, they'll still find reasons to hate you. (My favorite title of a parenting book: Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?)”
Some other respondents have claimed that Amy’s Tiger style predisposes children to a crippling fear of failure resulting in irreparable self esteem issues. A male point of view on the TIGER parenting style can be read HERE
My ChooChoo is going to be one next month, and I’m slowly reaching the point where he’ll start learning and needing to remember rhymes, words, simple sums etc and I’m at a cross roads as to the parenting style to adopt. Will it be Tiger or Lamb? Chinese or Western? No nonsense or Some nonsense? Another columnist has tried to make sense of the whole thing in her article : IS TOUGH PARENTING REALLY THE ANSWER
I think I’ve browned very nicely in the oven of my parents’ parenting style and I appreciate greatly the complementing techniques of my mum and dad, but I would be fool hardy to ignore the individuality factor.
People are different and are drawn from distinct gene pools resulting in a unique blend of characteristics and so I propose that the temperaments and predispositions of each child should be taken into consideration in the decision on what parenting style to adopt. For example, ChooChoo at 11 months, already shows signs of very social behavior and some headiness. Would it be right to already prepare to limit future sleep overs and football games lest he “gets carried away” and fails in class?
The Bible takes a certain stand on these issues with scriptures like, “Whoever spares the rod hates the son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Prov 13 : 24
In the new testament, a balance is created in these verses: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephes 6: 4 and Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Collosians 3 : 21
In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, it is easy to forget to make proactive decisions about our parenting styles and sort of like coast through life expecting everything to work out. Although I know that there is a place for listening to your children and hearing from them about how best they want to be parented, I don’t believe parenting is best done when children are your ‘friends’ rather than your CHILDREN. (Friends in inverted comma to stress the Wests’ preoccupation in making parents and children equal.)
Okay, enough said, what parenting style did you grow up with? Are you pleased with the results. What style will you adopt? What style have you already adopted? Are you pleased with the results?