When Amy Chau’s book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ was published in 2011, it sparked off quite a debate about authoritarian parenting. The aim of Tiger Moms is to produce high-achieving kids, but the method has been criticized as being too harsh. Instead of producing a well-balanced, successful, high functioning young adult, this style of parenting often results in children having low self-esteem, low grades and emotional problems. All this is due to excessive control, unreasonably high expectations, kids being forced into academic and extra curricular activities, being made to feel shame for failures and often being separated from their families to achieve required high-grade results.
Common sense would tell you that by parents constantly pushing kids down a rigid, predetermined path and not allowing them to develop their own areas and levels of expertise, they will not acquire self-motivation or be able to make wise decisions or problem solve on their own. They will not experience a personal sense of achievement or feel fulfilled in life because they have never been allowed to develop and follow their own dreams.
I saw a wonderful quote by Albert Einstein yesterday that said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Who would doubt the wisdom of such a brilliant man, who himself was judged a failure at school.
‘Attachment parenting’ is a phrase created by William Sears and described in Wikipedia as “Sensitive and emotionally available parenting that helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well-being.” In this approach, the home tends to be child-centered and the relationship between the parent and child as one of nurture, comfort and friendship. The Tiger Mom parenting approach is totally parent dictated where the attachment method is completely the opposite. My suggestion is that children who are raised under the attachment theory are more likely to have difficulty taking direction from authority figures. They may have been shielded to such a degree from the harsh realities of life that they cave in under any kind of scrutiny and are unprepared for situations that do not go their way.
So what do kids really want or need from us?
- They want parents to be parents and not their friends.
- They want parents to lead by example rather than just do as they say.
- They need parents to teach them strong values to live by.
- They need clear expectations and boundaries.
- They need to experience the consequences of poor decisions.
- They need a soft place to land when they make mistakes and guidance to make better decisions next time.
- They need nurture, time and encouragement.
- They need fair, firm and consistent discipline.
All of this training plus the experiences of life will prepare them for successfully managing their lives as adults.
As parents, we cannot afford to create constant parent/child dependency. Parenting requires a happy medium between being ‘hands on’ and ‘hands off’. We need to teach our children ‘how to fish’ so they can learn to fend for themselves. If we continue to dominate their lives they will keep coming back for another basket of fish!
Ref: www.GoodTherapy.org (Article “How Tiger Moms set their kids up for failure”)
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