Buzzing across the web, moms are arguing, talking and thinking aloud about strictness vs. warmth in parenting. All this started with the publicity around Amy Chua and her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Chua, a Harvard law grad and professor, describes her parenting technique which is culturally typical for Eastern moms. The rules for her daughters: no play dates, never a sleepover, no extra-curricular activities, no dating, no television, no video games, no grade less than an A. Only the top score in all classes will do.
Piano or violin mastery were required. Three hour daily practices were mandatory. If the girls could not play a piece to perfection, Chua would often berate her daughters, calling them garbage. She threatened to give all of their toys away if they didn't perfect their music pieces. After all, they were expected to perform in a major concert hall before they grew out of their teen years.
Chua criticizes western mothering techniques as undisciplined and inferior to those used by eastern moms. These low expectations lead to low performance in Chua's mind.
Debates are sparking on talk radio as experts and moms weigh in. Some of the debate is good, highlighting the values of discipline and structure when it comes to raising children—weighing in on nurture vs. intimidation.
I've always been considered a firm mom. I had total strangers tell me at restaurants when my children were very young that they were surprisingly well-behaved. I expected my children to be and my kids knew that.
When my kids work for others, bosses comment with surprise that my kids actually work hard. They had better work, I taught them to.
Expectations and clear behavior rules are great. This is one area that I agree with Tiger Mom Chua.
As a Christian mom who strives to raise my kids to honor God, I wonder at the goal of requiring them to be better than anyone else at whatever they attempt. I recoil at the thought of goading my kids with name calling. Tying my children's performance to their value is troublesome to me.
What goal should I set for my children?
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God
If my children fight for and act with justice and treat others with mercy and humility, I will be pleased. I know God will be.
Author Chua believes that true happiness and contentment in children comes from being the best, meaning better than other kids. There is not room for every child at the top. Only one can be BEST.
What measuring stick or goals should I hold up for my children?
In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
God, over and over focuses on humility and serving rather than self promotion. What are your thoughts? Has Tiger Mom caused conversation among your mom friends? Let us hear what you've been discussing?