I’m sure many of you have seen or heard about the “Tiger Mother” controversy.
I almost hate to give this woman any more press but I feel like I have to say something being the blogger that I am. If you feel the need to read an excerpt here is the link.
The gist of this woman’s parenting philosophy is that Chinese mothers are superior to “Western” mothers because they have no fear of shaming their children into submission and pretty much using any means necessary to get them to accomplish a goal (and by any means I mean yelling, withholding food and bathroom privileges and name calling).
This woman purports that because Western mothers care so much about injuring the child’s self esteem they are actually preventing their children from being successful. And by the way, this woman operationalizes the definition of “success” as a child being able to proficiently play the piano or violin and get straight A’s all the while being completely submissive and compliant to their parents’ wishes. Nowhere in her crazy diatribe did she mention a child being compassionate to others, kind, or a generally good person, or, gasp! following in the direction of their dreams.
OK, so I am new to the whole kid thing. I haven’t had to raise a teenager yet, I haven’t spent money on instrument lessons, I haven’t seen a kid bring home a C on a test. But I know how I was raised and I think I am a pretty successful and good person (and nurse!). And my mother never yelled at me, never called me garbage, never made me play the piano (I did take lessons but wasn’t really that interested) and wasn’t appalled if I brought home the occasional C on a math test. She loved me and encouraged me and hugged me lots and never made me practice something until the wee hours of the night until it was ‘perfect’.
Because let’s face it, I can get my dogs to stop barking by shocking the hell out of them but most would argue that isn’t the most humane means to an end. So at the end of my life, when I am looking back at how I lived my life and how I raised my children, I will count myself and my children successful if they are doing something they love, if they are kind and compassionate people, if they contribute to society and if they know that I loved them so much I would never ever ever intentionally hurt them to make them successful at some task. I’ve never seen a tombstone that says “Suzy Q, proficient violinist and always got straight A’s”. No. They always say beloved mother, daughter, son, friend, husband, wife, father, etc. And that is what I count as success. So if you want to consider yourself a superior “Tiger” mother, go for it. I suppose the value of success and superiority is all in how we define it. I’ll keep my definitions and you can keep yours. I think mine is a lot more fun.