Monday, January 31, 2011

Battle Hymns and Tiger Moms or how to ensure your book makes the best sellers list!

The self proclaimed, "Tiger Mom" was on the news again this morning and hearing her again reminded me that I had published my last post without completing my thought on the subject. But it has also provided me with another opportunity for self discovery.

The Tiger Mom's method of parenting is to accept nothing but perfection from her children, regardless of the costs, or so it seems. She was not satisfied with an A if an A+ could be achieved.

Today's interview was after a couple of weeks of hearing strong criticism pelted against her from all sides and with all the media attention, pushing her book to the number 5 place on the best sellers' list. So with the criticism has also come a degree of success, at least financially!

But her point in the interviews today were to say that the book was written "tongue in cheek" and to point out that at the end of the book she recanted her insistence on her strict adherence to her rules because her younger daughter forced her to reconsider. Evidently her younger daughter forced her into a very public confrontation and she realized that she would have to make some compromises in her parenting.

Meredith Vieira questioned what impact this type of parenting has on the child's self esteem.

But going with that point, I'm not sure that the "Western" type of parenting really improves our children's self esteem. Our nation is known for high dropout rates, high suicide rates, high teen pregnancy rates. Is this the self esteem we are instilling in our children?

The type of parenting the author describes requires a huge commitment from the parent. When she describes forcing her daughter to practice for 6 hours on the piano to perfect a musical piece, I have to wonder if I have 6 hours a day to spend that way?

Do I have an extra hour a day I could drill my children on their lessons?


Am I willing to set aside an hour a day for this? Probably not!

I could also train for a marathon, lose the weight, take on line courses to complete a doctorate, and make a quilt lined with the lint from my dryer!

Part of why I don't do what she describes could be described as selfishness. I am not willing to give up that time. My logic is that after I work all day, do car pool, cook dinner, wash clothes and dishes, that I deserve a break from the day.

But from what she wrote, she does not take those breaks.

What I am glad she is finally pointing out is that her original plan did not work. I've learned the same thing.

What I have learned from parenting is that I had to make changes in the way I lived, because I now had 2 people who watched what I did, and I knew they would either mimic my actions or hold my actions up to prove their point eventually.

I recently heard a speaker whose catch phrase was "Inspire, don't require". I like that.

So while I don't drill my children on their homework, or require they practice their instruments until they reach perfection, I do stay VERY close by while they do their homework, and I am proud if they get at least a B!! I think there is a lesson to learn from the Tiger mom but maybe she has learned some too.

As a result of my parenting, my kids probably won't be the overachievers, the National Merit Scholars, or receive the academic scholarships.

And their mom won't sell millions by writing a book about how to raise children either!

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