Friday, June 17, 2011

My Tiger Mother

I came across this video from Friso GUT Facebook on the debate about "Tiger Mother" of how Amy Chua (she's pwetty!) raised her kids. OMG she sounded just like my mom!

I don't know if the fact that there's a little bit of Chinese blood in my mom (her grandfather is a Chinese by the way) has anything to do with it, but my mom is a "Tiger Mother" and she raised my siblings and I the "Tiger Mother" way. She didn't send us for piano or violin classes tho, but she sent us for sempoa lessons (I used to be good at sempoa ok ;p). She made her own flashcards and books for us (yes, she made handmade books!) when we were little to teach us numbers, ABCs, Arabic alphabets, shapes, sizes, colors, spellings, etc etc.

Then starting from when we were in Standard 1 in primary school, she would sit with us at the table every night to monitor us doing homework and revisions. At 7pm everyone must have taken their shower, then solat Maghrib, recite Quran and have dinner. By 8.30pm we must all be seated at the table studying or doing homework. No TV at all! And we still have to study on weekends! Morning study until 1pm. Then have a break until 4pm and continue to study until 6pm. Malam is the same - study until 10pm. Our daily timetable consists of a lot of studying. Heck, we even had to bring our books when we were on holidays! And as if those were not enough, she sent us for tuitions, summer camps, motivational programs, ceramah, etc etc.

Besides that, we were only allowed to go out with friends (weekends only) when we were 18. Of course with curfews - we must be home by 6pm. Malam memang langsung tak boleh keluar.

Did we like it?
Of course not! But we obeyed her. Kalau tak, memang nak kena.

My mom was like a teacher - she taught us maths, English, BM, Science, Agama, everything. She would tell us which chapter to read, which exercise to do, and if we have trouble understanding a certain topic - maths especially - there'll be a "drilling process", as what my mom used to call it. Drill bagi sampai masuk otak! God, it was scary. Especially if my dad was also involved in the drilling process. Mereka akan ajar sampai betul-betul faham. I still remember there were a lot of crying kalau belajar maths! Haha. Tapi lepas tu jadi pandai (thank you mama, abah)!

I got straight A's for UPSR and PMR, and was one of the best students in school (but not for SPM tho. Heee).

Umm yeah, I was one of those kids who hated the camera so that explains the "pose" ;p

The only difference between my mom and the real "Tiger Mother" is, she would not punish us if we didn't get number 1 in class or straight A's. She said, "Yang penting kena usaha and learn from mistakes". She would only punish if we didn't want to study!

I guess there are some pros of the "Tiger Mother" way. The way Chinese parents see it, children on their own will never want to work on their initiative so it's important for parents to override their preferences and it often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist. If my mom wasn't as strict as she had been on us, I don't think I would have the initiative to study on my own. So yeah, I do think parents need to be strict. Tapi strict bertempat la.

Like for example, I cannot be too strict on my kids now. They're still so young and I understand that they have very short attention span.

We bought this white board the other day and I've been using it to teach Ayra numbers, letters, Arabic alphabets, etc. I drew some objects (excuse my bad drawing) and asked her to count how many objects are there and place the magnetic numbers beside them. She managed to do it, but only for a good 15 minutes. Lepas tu she just wants to do her thang - scribble!

I won't push her to do more than what she wants to do - I mean, she's only 2.5 years old! We can't force little kids, can we? I don't think my mom did that too. She was lenient when we were little. I think I'm lenient too. Of course that doesn't mean letting Ayra do whatever she wants even if it's wrong (don't worry, she doesn't scribble the wall anymore).

Tapi kalau dah besar nanti, lain cerita laa.
Must. Be. Strict.

But not too strict like Amy Chua's way. (No playdates? I mean, come on!)

A lot of parents who joined the Tiger Mother discussion on Friso GUT Facebook are either 50-50 about the "Tiger Mother" parenting style or completely against it. I'm definitely 50-50!

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