Tiger Mother

JC posted an article on FB that took an excerpt from Amy Chua’s book. The article was titled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”.
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

TM and I saw Amy Chua on the Colbert Report (since we don’t have a TV — Chua would be impressed 😛 although we both spend too much time on the computer — we are behind in the media world. This episode aired in January): Watch the Jan 25, 2011 episode of the Colbert Report.

It is interesting to see the difference between the article and her appearance on the Colbert Report.

The article is titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” and gives the tone of “this is the superior way to raise kids”, yet what I understand from the Colbert Report is that Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a memoir of her experience raising her children not a how-to “this is the way, this way is better” guide to raising kids.

I wonder how many people actually read her book before making all these comments?

I am interested in reading her book.

Comments on the “Chinese parents”

While I agree with there are some strengths to how “Chinese mothers” raise their children, I also believe the importance of free play when children are young (being able to explore). Instead of scheduling your child for this lesson and that lesson, I believe children should be able to play outside, go for bike rides, and play Lego (Lego is AWESOME!).

Although, should children be given complete free play or should there be some structure? (This reminds me of my experience at the Free School.)

My dad was kind of a “Tiger Father”. My parents were strict but they were never “Tiger Parents” strict. When I was in second grade (in Taiwan), my dad got very angry at me because I wrote my numbers too small on the math homework (I was punished for that – back then it was normal to physically punish your children). However, my parents did also realize the effects of scolding and physical punishment on our self-esteem. We had a piano teacher who constantly yelled at us – nothing we did was good enough for her – my parents fired her because it was affecting us too much.

Even so, I often felt that nothing I did was good enough for my dad.
(Until now. My mom told me that my dad was bragging to some of his co-workers about me. Something I never thought would happen.)

Also, I often felt beaten if I did something wrong. (It is like the “Whattt?! You got an A-, what did you do wrong?!”) It takes a long time for people to heal from childhood experiences. It is not a good feeling.

The high standards followed us to Canada. When I was in elementary school and even up until high school, I was always busy with lessons on weekends. Piano lessons, Chinese brush painting lessons (although this I loved and glad that I was able to do this), math tutoring lessons, English tutoring lessons, swimming lessons, violin lessons (for my brother), Mandarin classes etc. My best friend, LM, would always be asking if I was free on the weekends and my answer was always “no”.

Gradually, it became that I kept myself busy on weekends with volunteering. It had something to do with my dad’s involvement with the parents’ association of my Mandarin school.

I’m glad that I’ve kept up with my Mandarin. I love learning about the language and writing it (I know, it’s strange, most kids hate Mandarin school). Maybe I love it because I am good at it?

These lessons helped me gain social skills (which I had pretty much zero when I came to Canada; social skills weren’t the focus in Taiwanese education, there was definitely a lot more emphasis on academics). They also helped me become a “do-er”. This is how I’ve become a volunteer with so many agencies and organizations.

My dad’s parenting style was strict and this caused distance between dad and us (my brother and I). It is changing over the years because I think he realizes this.

I am not criticizing the way my parents raised us. I think they’ve done a fine job. I am merely looking at the strictness and the effects of that.

All in all, the way you parent is like the way you teach. It depends on the child. It is about balance. Admittedly, the balance is hard to figure out. Even teachers who have been teaching a long time still struggle with balance. There isn’t a magic formula to raising children.

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6 responses to “Tiger Mother

  1. yay i made it on your blog! 😀
    Thats interesting, the colbert report haha, but its a shame he never lets guests talk too much.
    I think my parents gave me quite a bit more freedom than most chinese parents, and i’m thankful for it because i got to explore a bit more. Although of course i was always aware of the limits….which is probably key to good parenting 😉

    • Yay Yennies! You should blog because your thoughts are so awesome! 🙂

      I know, she wanted to talk but I guess time constraint? It’s all fast fast fast!

      Me too – I know what you mean. My mom didn’t have to tell me: NO DATING UNTIL YOU ARE OLDER… I just didn’t. OR even like going to movies, it’s not like they approved every single movie I saw, they sort of trusted me (I don’t know why :P). Like T said, you have to treat kids reasonably … not talk to them like they are little people, but treat them with trust and respect. It’s also the key to good teaching too… having the students aware of the boundaries but not over-constrain them.

      • lol actually i did have a livejournal before, but i stopped doing it because i was tired of hearing myself talk….and also i can never tell if i’m being too melodramatic or whiny, haha…. but you’re right, i should blog again, it definitely does help sometimes.
        I think you were definitey a better kid than me, hahaa, i did so much stupid stuff….probably because my parents were so liberal…but i wouldnt have it any other way. If you look at western parents (like flo’s) they’re SO LIBERAL, they’re almost hippies, haha

  2. i am not tired of hearing you talk! i do know what you mean, though. that’s why i’ve decided to do a somewhat themed blog .. travel, food and knitting. that way it’s not ALL about my thoughts haha… 😛

    stupid stuff eh? i must get you to talk about those next time i see you. 😛

    haha… hippie frenchies? yes i look at T’s childhood and mine and it’s very different in structure.

  3. Pingback: Jia Yi/Chia Yi 嘉義 « dancing in the rain·

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