Not sure. Husband says there’s no question that I am. Needless to say, I differ. Er, I think I am pretty much like any other mom I know, is what I say to that.
So is every mom a tiger mom? Well, no. When I say other moms, I kind of use it loosely. Not ALL the moms around me are tiger moms, but, most of my mommy-friends are, at any rate. Husband’s answer to that is that like attracts like and that we get along (mainly) because our parenting methods are similar.
You see this whole debate started after I read the Amy Chua book (you guessed it). There are only two things that can happen when you read it (for those who don’t know what I am talking about, it’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’.) You will either flip the book over your shoulder and declare her as insane, overbearing and completely nuts, or, you will start to seriously doubt your parenting style and whip yourself into a frenzy for not pushing your kids enough. I don’t know about you, but the latter kind of happened to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do think she’s waaaay out there, but, I did end up wondering if I was being too soft on my older daughter and got into the whole you-got-to-fight-the-rat-race mode. The debate is endless and really there’s no right or wrong in this. It all depends on what you think is right for your kid, the definition of which is not a constant and could keep changing as you discover and learn with your kid.
My point is, and this is where I agree with her, that kids don’t know better when they are 5 or 6. They are not in a position to judge what’s best for them. Neither will they sit at a piano for five hours a day if it wasn’t for someone (usually the bad cop, i.e. mom) making them do it using coaxing, love, threats, deprivation, whatever works. So, if this kid ends up becoming a world class pianist, or let’s forget her example and say that if this kid ends up getting high grades, excelling at school and moving onto better colleges, then is that a bad thing?
Also, I think as parents we get too caught up in what the kid will say when he or she is older. Of course, there will be complaints (you didn’t allow me sleepovers, TV, blah blah – both of which Amy’s kids were not allowed btw) but then what is to say that the kid won’t complain in the reverse case? I know kids who’ve blamed their bad grades and lack of reading habits on their parents years after they grew up.
So, what the children will say is not something one can be sure of. As parents I guess we have to strike the middle ground. Except the reality is this: if you have to excel in anything, anything at all, you gotta work at it. And if you have to work at it, it’s going to lead to tears and this is what you need to steel yourself for. The world’s a tough place and you need to toughen up your kids for the immense competition that lies ahead.
My kids are young right now, so I am not sure how much of a tiger mom I will be. I can’t say that I have not been affected by this book. I have made sure that my daughter is ahead of her class in reading (math I am working on). And you know what, she loves it, she loves the fact that she’s better than the rest (or, so she thinks!). It gives her encouragement to stay on the top, something that’s more difficult to do than getting there.
So am I a tiger mom? Maybe. But I need to get better. If my kids have to get anywhere in life, I’ve got a part to play in it. So beware kiddos, I just turned the button a notch higher!