Few days ago, there was an article about Amy Chua, author of the provocative new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, on The Straits Times.
Before reading the article, I got the impression that she must be in her fifties, slightly plump, wears a pair of old-fashioned specs with short hairstyle. But I was totally wrong. When I saw her picture on the newspaper, I was amazed. She looks great, slim, youthful and looks ten years younger than her actual age. Gosh! Do you agree with me?
I wanted so much to read her book but I don’t have time. This bestseller has been #1 in Singapore for two weeks straight. A good number of people strongly disagree with her fierce parenting style and I’ve read at least ten articles against her parenting style. Even without reading her book, I roughly know what it is all about.
My husband said that I can never be a tiger mother – simply because I’m too soft. I agree. Amy Chua’s fierce parenting style is over the top. Some parts are acceptable but others are not. There is nothing wrong with making our children study and limiting their free time to a certain extent. I also agree that it’s important to teach our children self-discipline.
However, verbal assault, threats and humiliation are a big No-No. Words do hurt and they can sink deep into a child’s psyche, affecting him throughout his adult life. There should always be a balance between enforcing discipline without breaking our children’s spirit.
Very often, our parenting styles are influenced by our own upbringing. When I was young, my mother was a strict disciplinarian. She would cane me when I did something wrong. I hated those beatings especially when I didn’t think that I was in the wrong. I told myself that I’ll never use a cane on my children.
As I looked back now, I realized that she did it out of love. She instilled discipline in me since young. As a result, I’ve grown up to be self-disciplined in my studies. She didn’t have to restrict my free time, force me to take up tuition classes or worry about my academic results. As a matter of fact, I’ve never failed a single subject in my school exams.
Nonetheless, fierce parenting is not my cup of tea. I’ll never use a cane on my children. What is my parenting style? You may ask. Well, my parenting style would be 30% discipline and 70% respect and love for my children. I’ll not hesitate to punish my son when he misbehaves. But most importantly, I’ll make sure that he knows where his mistakes are and why he is punished. And no harsh words, of course.
It’s every parent’s wish to raise an exceptional child who will be successful in the future. I don’t deny it. However, I feel that we should be careful not to put too much pressure on our child. Even if they fall short of our expectations, we must always love them and support them.
So, what are your thoughts on the ‘tiger mum’ approach to raising children? I love to hear from you.