Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tiger Mother *roar*

I was checking out Friso Facebook page yesterday when I came across a debate on "Tiger Mother". It was from this book by Amy Chua, entitled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Have you heard or read the book?

I haven't read the book yet but I've read some excerpts and reviews about it. Apparently when it comes to parenting, Chinese mothers want full control of the destiny of their children and they believe that they know best. Western mothers on the other hand, opt for freedom and the joy of exploration on their children. This actually goes beyond race and more of who you are as a parent.

There are some mentions about how Chua raised her children with endless piano and violin lessons since 2, no sleepovers, threatened to burn stuffed toys if her daughter didn't improve her piano playing, threw them out in the cold, etc. Sounded so harsh and extreme, doncha think? I don't know if it's good to be a "Tiger Mother". I mean, of course all parents want their children to obey and listen to them. But I don't want my kids to do things out of fear. I want them to understand why I told them to do so and so without being too harsh. I want respect, not "being afraid of". But then if they don't wanna listen, how then? Should I turn into a "tiger"?

I know, parenting is subjective and can be a sensitive issue. What works for you and your children may not work for others. But we all do what we do because we think it's the best for our children. After all, being a good parent is more than just loving your child. Your parenting style is the key to shape your children's behaviors. It's kinda scary to think that the parenting style we opt have an impact on our children. What if I chose the wrong one? Does it make me a crappy mom? How do I know what is right and what is wrong? Is it better to be a "Tiger Mother"?

According to what I've read, there are 3 types of parenting styles:

Authoritarian Parenting Style (the "Tiger Mother" way)
Authoritarian parents don't feel they need to explain their rules or the reasons why they expect their children to do certain things. The main focus of these parents is on what their children do wrong and the punishment for misbehavior is often harsh. Should a child question a rule, they will often hear from their parents, "Because I said so". Parents that use this style feel they must be in control all the time. They parent by a set of rules that must be followed. Children have little or no freedom. Discipline is usually a form of reward and punishment. Children learn early to please their parents to gain a reward. They may behave because they fear their parents. Children either go along and have a hard time learning to think for themselves or they may rebel in reaction to the controlling methods of their parents.

Permissive Parenting Style
Parents who adopt this style may have concerns that their children will not like them if they set limits or they see themselves as their children's friend and not their parent who is there to guide and set limits. These parents allow freedom with little or no responsibility. As their children get older these parents may feel they have no power to make changes in their children's misbehavior. Children without limits have no sense of responsibility, have trouble with relationships and the rights of others and can find the world a difficult place. It is unfair to raise a child without limits or to keep changing the limits that are set. Children do not need or want freedom without limitations.

Democratic (or Authoritative) Parenting Style
The days of "Do what I say without question" are over. This means having the attitude that both parents and children are equals. Not in the sense of life experience or intelligence but in value. From an early age parents have clear expectations for their children and enforce reasonable limits. Children are given limited choices to help them learn and experience the consequences of their choices and that their decisions count. Giving choices balances freedom with responsibilities.When children have some control and ownership in their lives they are more cooperative and have better self-esteem. Parents focus on encouragement and acknowledgment of good behavior. Parents focus on discipline that teaches not one that intimidates with punishment or promotes good behavior with inappropriate rewards.

Of course from those 3, the democratic parenting style seems like the best approach to parenting, no? There's a balance between authoritarian and permissive parenting styles. So what is your parenting style? Do you think you're a "Tiger Mother" or more like the Western mothers?

Read what other moms have to say about the Tiger Mother on Facebook.
To be honest, I don't know which one am I. Probably a bit of both!

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