Tuesday, January 25, 2011


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


  1. I grew up with a friendly, disciplined parenting style, my mum was a friend and a mum at the same time. We were so close, yet i shivered at the tot of her face if i were to dissapoint her. She instilled the fear of God in me, thought us to love and she showed love. most of all she made us understand that the power of discipline she had over us was from God, and she believed the individual characters we grew up with relied on our relationship with God. She prayed alot! she thought us the fear of God! That was enough to build our personalities for the future.

  2. I guess to everything there has to be balance. The Chinese mum technique will definitely produce some financially successful kids in the future, but they're gonna be really deeply unhappy people. I think children should be brought up with love and discipline, simple. there's no need to take up a premeditated stand as to how many sleepovers a child should have years before the possibility of sleepovers. Parents shld be watchful, observe; raising a child is like(forgive the pun) managing a diabetic patient, when there's too much sugar give insulin. If patient is in hypogycemia give sugar. Keep blood sugar in the middle, keep child in a state of balance between the two.
    I'm loving the blog by the way,(I mite not comment much on ur blogs but I'm always coming around). You're a wonderful mother. Choochoo is gonna loove this when he grows up and reads it all. Wish I had a documentary of my growing years.

  3. @Nuella dear

    You are so right! So you say Discipline/friendship/prayers! Brilliant... would take to heart..

  4. @Ijasan

    Thanks dear, I totally appreciate....
    And you're right.. a balance is definitely needed... U can't be too hard

  5. Growing up, my mum was a 'lamb' most of the time and my dad was a 'tiger' almost all the time. Guess what...I like it. Though I doubt very much I'll be a 'tiger' dad. I would rather reward good deeds and withhold rewards for bad behavior to serve as punishment. But at the same time, being in that position puts the whole thing into perspective, doesn't it?
    One thing's sure anyway, I'd be a very caring dad. Like the surgeon dad in that airtel advert.

    Good write-up.

  6. I was parented differently by my Mum and dad. my mum was the laid back and allowed me certain freedoms and only intervened when my behaviour was excessive and was could not be accommodated. I was a sturborn, independent young boy who fiercely fought for independence "rights' so anyone may be my brother or sister that i thought was infringing on my rights was to be fought and for that I earned Idi amini nickname for my fighting
    My dad on the other side was always busy working and was away most of the time. but he had an dictorial typical african male parenting style where no dissent was allowed. this method is good for young toddlers but it is dangerous for teenagers because they will rebel and may end up feeling bullied.
    Anyway that was the parenting style but I learnt more from my mum because she accommodated my individuality and educated me and molded to what I am today

  7. @Aibet.... I kinda grew up with a 'lamb'father and a 'tiger' mum... but do you believe I kinda wished my father was more tigerly... It's weird, right? But all in all I'm aii..

    But really, I like some tiger..no I take that back a lot of tiger... but it has to be some really intelligent tigritude!

  8. @Anonymous.. Thanks for stopping by, but are you absolutely certain you learnt nothing from daddy, no matter how tigerly he was? .. Check it out.. are you disciplined, determined, strong willed...? That may be your daddy in you...

    But I do agree misplaced tigritude would back fire... Thanks for sharing...

  9. I have learnt a lot from my dad especially tthe dignity of hard and honesty. He a straigt shooting man to a fault. i am strongwilled and I attribute it my genetic make although my mum is a lamp she is visionary and has a will of lioness and so is my dad he will stick to his guns especially when he knows he is right

  10. I grew up with a lamb dad and a tiger mom and I know I turned out allright. There is a 10year difference between I and my last sibling and for a while Ii tried the lamb approach with him. It's not working. Not at all. The bible was right when it said foolishness abounds in the heart of a child but the rod of correction drives it away. It was also right when it said fathers do not exasperate your children...bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
    There has to be a balance. Ascertaining that middle line is greatly influenced by the personality of the child.
    That said, that I think our predominantly "tiger approach" in most homes is responsible for our "boundary-mentality" that cripples us and makes us always want to tow the safe zones rather than explore and try new frontiers and invariably take the lead like the west.
    Finally, I hope i'm a lamb mom and my spouse is a tiger dad (forgive me for being a coward) but I doubt if that would be the case.

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