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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are “Tiger Mothers” Better Preparing Their Kids For Life?

Okay, so I thought I was mean. 

After the first nine weeks of the Fall semester, my middle school son presented me with a report card sporting two Ds.

I was mad. 

I asked him to sit down, and said, “You are not a dumb kid. These grades are just unacceptable, and the only reason I can think you might be getting Ds is that you are lazy and goofing off. So, for the next nine weeks you will only use the computer for school-related activities and you will not be allowed to play video games…at all.”

As you can imagine, this announcement caused a meltdown of epic proportions. But, I stuck to my guns and at the end of the nine weeks there were two Bs in place of the Ds on the new report card.

Will my son be less likely to slack off again? Maybe. Did I feel a little guilty for taking away his fun? I have to admit that I did.

One thing is for sure, Amy Chua wouldn’t have felt the least bit guilty. Chua is the author of a controversial best seller that hit the bookshelves on Jan. 11, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

In her book, Chua, a child of Chinese immigrants, denigrates what she considers the weak Western method of parenting, where we indulge our children and allow them to waste away hours on activities like Facebook, video games, and even school plays.  

She describes her own use of “Chinese parenting“, with many examples that some who have read the book found shocking. In one example, she tosses a birthday card her daughter Lulu has made for her back at the child exclaiming, “I deserve better than this. So I reject this.” She told the child that she expected to receive a drawing that her daughter had “put some thought and effort into.”

But for all the harsh parenting, Chua believes that her high expectations show her children that she loves them and wants the best for them. After all, we eventually have to be out there in the real world. Whose children will be better prepared, Chua’s or mine? 

What do you think? Is the type of philosophy Chua utilized in raising her daughters necessary? Do we need to be tougher with our kids? How tough is too tough?

Posted by: Leona Perry at 6:28 pm

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