Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tiger Mother

I just have to blog about this bizarre and crazy book that I have just swallowed hole. I started reading it and I just couldn't stop. I even exercised 5 more minutes on the elliptical so that I could finish the chapter. I loved it but I dislike the author.
Amy Chua is a mother, law professor, author, that writes about western parenting versus the Chinese model of parenting. The premise being that Western parents (that would be me and everyone I know) are lazy, selfish and are okay with our children being mediocre because we allowing them to choose their own activities, nurture their souls and allow them to be who they are.
The chinese parenting model does not allow for much fun because every moment of the day is spent playing a musical instrument or excelling in school. No sleepovers, playdates, or days at the water park because fun takes away from precious practice time. This author has parented her own children on this model and you will have to read for yourself if you think that it has merit.
I personally think that the woman is totally over-the-top nuts and abuses her daughters to the point of a social services complaint. On the flip side, her daughters do excel and succeed.
Reading this book has made me evaluate if I push my children enough. I am certainly a tiger mother when it comes to my children-there is nothing I will not do for them. But, do I allow too many video games and not enough reading? Do I allow David's IQ to determine how many flash cards I do with him?
The one paragraph from the book that continues to haunt me insists that Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.
The phrase that catches me is work habits. I know that I fall into that trap of doing way too much for my children and not making them work for "stuff." I am home fulltime for a reason, but I never want this to make my children lazy and entitled. Even though this book is totally nuts, it has made me realize that I am doing my children no favors by enabling them and making their lives too cushy.
Read the book and let me know what you think about Amy Chua's parenting approach. It kind of galls me that she is making money off of her extreme parenting that I feel is borderline child abuse. In the meantime, I am going to go print some more flash cards for Mr. David and print off some subtraction regrouping for Mr. Kyle when he comes home today:) This tiger mother will not allow her children to be entitled, lazy brats!

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