Taking advice from a “Tiger Mother”

“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is a new parenting book out by Yale Law professor Amy Chua.  The book has become quite controversial; Chua’s message that children raised by Chinese parents are more successful than those raised by Westerners due to stringent discipline and unbending values.  The controversy started when a few excerpts from the book were released documenting certain parenting scenes in her life that left countless horrified on many different levels. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, we can all agree that this book raises many good questions on how we, as the Western world, raise our children.

When first reading about the harsh disciplinary style Chua had with her two daughters I was terrified.  On one occasion, Chua talks of her girls making her birthday cards which she promptly gave back to them explaining “these are not good enough.”  What! I could not imagine doing that to my children, the hurt and humiliation they would feel would kill me!  Chua explained that everyone in her family had forgotten her birthday and to hastily make up for it they took her to a mediocre Italian restaurant where her daughters flopped “handmade” cards on the table.  As she looked at them (the cards) she realized that the girls had probably taken no longer than three seconds to make them and that was extremely hurtful.  The lesson she was teaching them when she handed them back was to take time to show people you care, don’t throw something together half-heartedly last minute and expect it to be okay. I applaud her for that and agree that the lesson is one that our children need to be taught.  Be thoughtful.

When I first heard of the book, I thought I would be against it completely – that what I read would horrify me, but that was not the case.  The woman has an extremely good point here.  We give our children too many choices, too many chances and an amazing amount of excuses.  We expect almost nothing from them, minus keeping the cell phone bill down.  We worry so much about their “self-esteem” and hurting their feelings that we get preoccupied with actually raising them to be self-sufficient, kind people.  We are so concerned with making sure that they never lose, never get left out, never think that they are not the greatest things around, and that can be very damaging.

I am all for praising your children but give praise where praise is due.  When they get into the real world, they will not be told they are doing a great job every five minutes; everything is not praise worthy. Being respectful, kind, loving, and independent are hopefully requirements.  If your child takes the initiative and cleans their room, wonderful, but no praise required.  They should take responsibility for their actions and that includes making a mess.  If they get an A on a tough history exam then yes praise away.  You see the point I’m trying to make here.  If they blow their nose the right way, they don’t need a sticker for it.

Another thing we do is give them too many choices.  I can’t tell you how sick I am of people talking about their children and their “creative choices.”  You go ahead and let them make their creative choices and soon they will be choosing not to listen to the doormat parent who never tells them NO!  The word “NO” has become lost in translation.  I say no and that means no, not maybe, okay I give in you can have the car back even though you have wrecked it four times.  When a parent tells a child “No” there should be no explanation.  The child should respect the parent enough to not even ask why.  I know that is not always the case, even with the tough parents; those with teenagers get a free pass because they really are from another planet but don’t give up!  Keep them on the straight and narrow by any means possible and if they think you are mean and awful then you know you are doing the right thing. They will come out on the other side human again and on their way to being successful individuals, not whiny losers who expect everything to be handed to them.

Yes people, work is good for children of all ages (Gasp!)  I’m not talking sweatshops here in Chester but I am talking about responsibility.  It starts with cleaning up after themselves and hopefully the trend will continue and you will raise a hard-working person, not one who sits around playing video games and hollering for his mama to bring him a sandwich.  It’s a hard line to draw but shock-of-all-shockers, we are not meant to be their friends and it’s okay for your children to be just a tad afraid of you if they mess up and do something wrong.  By no means am I saying to instill the fear of God in them by beating them everyday, but discipline is not a bad thing.  I am so over “time out” that I could throw up.  Consequences even at a young age make a world of difference.  I will tell you right now that my four year old could care less if he has to sit in a chair for five minutes but he just falls apart if I take his very precious dinosaur encyclopedia.  Consequences – a penalty for your actions, every action garners a reaction, right?

We used to be very disciplined hard working people who wanted to instill that same drive into our children.  The Chinese have a very structured way with their children; maybe it’s a lack of a defined “culture” in our country.  The Western world is made up of different religions and cultures and because of that we all have a different set of values in place in our families and in our communities. Your choices as a parent are shaping them into the kind of parents they will be.  Do we really want to breed another generation of people sitting around waiting with their hand out?  I don’t think so, whether you are a Tiger mother or not I think the one thing we can all agree on is that we love these children and hopefully we are doing the very best we can in raising them.

Comments

Why has the creativity index of American youth been declining?

Why has the creativity index of American youth been declining for decades?
Why is American kids' creativity index decreasing sharply starting from 1990s while Asian kids have developed a balanced and advanced brain functions between left and right sides, which means Asian Americans have not only advanced skills in reasoning, logics, math, science and languages but also advanced expertise in creativity, imagination and music like China's young pianist Lang Lang?

In the Chinese Tiger Moms debate, most Americans have argued that it was creativity that had boosted up US to its current monopolistic glory while Tiger Cubs under Tiger Moms' extreme pushes may have practiced a lot but lack creativity overall. Also, IBM recently polled 1500 Wall Street business leaders who have been managing the largest firms in the world and led to a conclusion that the first priority in developing leadership is creativity, otherwise one business would not be able to handle ever-increasingly fierce competition due to deeper and deeper globalization. In the meantime, a country's overall creativity can finally translate into job opportunities and thereby contribute to the fast growth of its economy. In the past, US has held an unbeatable position in creativity in almost any area from patents to technology innovations to business operations to everything that people need or businesses operate. Unfortunately, per Newsweek, "For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining based on tests on 300,000 American children yearly." What went wrong and how can we fix it? Will Chinese Tiger Moms' tough discipline be a possible solution to stop bleeding of US creativity among our youth?

Tiger Mother Professor Amy L. Chua on a daily basis forced her daughters to practice piano and violin for 3~6 hours and most American parents regard Chua as in violation of her children's personal interests, wills and choices, thereby leading only to a mechanically passive repletion and thus contributing almost nothing to their own creativity development. However, brain cognitive development theories prove those American parents wrong in this regard. Based on the working devision of human brain, the left brain is mainly for developing verbal and language, reasoning and logics, and math and science while the right brain is in charge of imagination and creativity, insight and intuition, and arts and music. Since Asian Tiger Cubs have an unbeatably monopolistic position in academics supported by all factual data in all college admissions offices or testing arenas like ETS SAT across the board, which is mainly controlled by the left brain. If Asian kids were to quit enough volume of practice in music and arts, then their right brain's functionality would be diminishing over time, dubbed as "Left Brain Geeks" whose personality traits show stubborn, reasoningly logical, mechanical and less compromising, and high performing in math, science and logics. Smarter than others, Tiger Mother Chua forced her two daughters to practice 3~6 hours music either on piano or violin by denying their overall accesses to TV shows, video-games and social media networking like Facebook friending. This, ironically to their benefits, Tiger cubs have struck a balanced development in their brain, thereby de facto rendering them better-adjusted, more creative and more holistic.

There're other games (not video games) especially designed for developing the right brain as well as the left brain. For example, for young kids, Bakugan balls and battle gears can help to develop kids' capabilities in 3-D structures observation, working sequence, perception and imagination dramatically, which will mostly contribute to the fast development in the right brain. Sure, Bakugan cards can also increase calculation and comparison of numbers for preschollers exponentially on a daily basis because almost all little kids who are crazy about Bakugan toys would like to focus 5x~10x times longer than normal on playing those innovative toys. And Ben 10 aliens combination toys set can also train your kids spatial and imaginative abilities very well as long as you buy enough aliens while spending time to play with them regularly. I guess all engaging Tiger Moms have done those for their kids since spending less than a grand dollar in buying a couple of hundred of Bakugan balls and battle gears or Ben 10 aliens combination sets is not a big deal for almost all American families.

However, in stark contrast, most Americans didn't follow Tiger Cubs balanced development between their left and right side of brain. Then what have they done on a daily basis? From the above chart by Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a typical American family on a daily basis a teenager in the age group of 15~19 on average spends 2.3 hours on watching TV shows, 0.9 hours in playing video games and 0.8 hours in being social with friends that has mostly shifted to Facebook-like social networking behavior over time. If deducting little time consumption on TV, videogaming and Facebook socializing by top 20% of academic performers, then an American kid on average would spend around 5 hours a day, rain or shine, weekdays or weekends, on dealing with machines including TV sets, gaming machines, iPods, computers and even smartphones, in fact crowding out precious time for creative trainings or even face-to-face people-skills practices, which Tiger Mother Amy Chua has called a huge waste of life.

Fellow American parents, PLEASE DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR KIDS ANY MORE by letting themselves develop freely, which will no doubt make them boil down to mostly watching hours of TV shows, playing numerous video games, listening to iPod songs, and making tons of friends on Facebook on a daily basis, thereby leading to an addiction to TV shows, video games, iPod songs and computer uses like Facebook social networking. It's TIME to RECLAIM our responsibility as engaging parents. If you don't know how to achieve this grand goal, our Tiger Moms Parenting Battle Hymn blog site athttp://Blog.TigerMoms.net/ will teach you step by step about HOW-TOS in far greater detail free of charge than addressed in real Tiger Mother Amy Chua's memoir. And all our daily editorial pieces are absolutly a-must-read classic for any parent, which has been supporting by all sorts of factual data, trends, charts, teaching experiments and cognitive learning theories and most importantly been practiced successfully by thousands of top elites in Global Elites Network alumni community from Ivy League schools like Harvard, not taking anything for granted as most others did. Tiger Moms Network presented by Global Elites Network has been built for this very purpose of ratcheting up US competitiveness over the long haul on the global stage, especially in the faster learning area of world's educational arena. Try to think, if our Xpeed Learning Platform Knowledge Management System just like McKinsey's KMS can shoot your kids learning speed to the sky by 2x~5x times, then your kids would be able to enjoy a much happier life while having enough time learning all sorts of knowledge several times more, applied subjects for later career improvements or basic math and science skills, both in breadth and depth. The answer is very certain: yes, we can make it happen to your kids so that you don't have to abuse your kids like Tiger Mother did to her children.

Please go to our Tiger Moms Parenting Battle Hymn blog site at http://Blog.TigerMoms.net for the chart by Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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