I have not read the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I have read many articles about the book, which is not as good as reading the book itself. I’m not sure I want to read the book. But that’s not what this post is about. As you can imagine, over the last 5 years of our adoption journey, and even for years before we started the adoption process, I’ve been more than a casual observer of parents and parenting styles. Much like the betrothed girl makes mental notes at her friends’ weddings, I’ve been creating a file of parenting dos and don’ts in my head. CSP & I have discussed at length the different parenting styles we’ve experienced and observed and our feelings on both. We’ve attended seminars and webinars. We’ve read books and articles and blogs galore. We’ve watched films. We completed the foster parenting classes. We have a good idea of the types of parents we want to be. We also know that all our ideas and dreams might be turned on their heads when our kidlet arrives. We’re smart enough to know that we have to be flexible and that each child is different.
Back to the Tiger Mother. Amy Chua has sparked quite an uproar on mommy blogs and among parents of all types. I’ve not seen much, any really, talk about this book amongst my mom friends. I’m very curious to hear what y’all think about Ms. Chua’s parenting style. Now, I’m sure that we are all in agreement that it’s not good to call your children “gargbage” and I’m not interested in debating the differences between Western and Chinese parenting styles. Some critics are saying that Ms. Chua’s book is misrepresenting Chinese parents anyway. If you boil it all down though, I think the debate can be summed up with strict vs. indulgent parenting.
CSP & I have been witness to both. And we’ve noticed that many of our friends are more strict as parents than recent generations. It feels almost as if we’re getting back to a similar parenting style that we grew up with. We like that. No means no, there are consequences for your actions, we leave if you act out, etc. I don’t think this is anywhere close to being a “Tiger Mother” but it’s a far cry from the indulgent or absentee parenting that some may say is responsible for kids disrespecting their parents, poor work ethics, the recent rash of bullying and teenage pregnancies, etc.
We want to be firm, fair, and consistent parents. We want to be loving and promote good self esteem while also instilling drive, determination, and a good work ethic. We want to prepare our kids for the harsh realities of the world while they enjoy the fun of a magical childhood. Maybe we’ve got stars in our eyes. Maybe we’re naive. But we think (hope) we can strike a good balance between harsh Tiger Mother and pushover Kitty Mom. And if we do then maybe our kids will turn out pretty great.