Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tiger Mothering

Amy Chua's book, a rebuttal of the politically correct gentle rearing of children in most American homes, serves as a wake-up call to parents who have smugly assumed that their kids need support, not challenges. They need encouragement, not a fear of failure. As some review said, Chinese parenting assumes children have strength that can be tested and grown, not fragility that needs nurturing. Quite simply, she demonstrates the power of a swift kick to the backside as a standard approach to child-raising.  
OK, I made that last sentence up. In fact, while I've read several articles and listened to NPR's discussion of the book, I haven't yet read it. I do intend, as soon as I finish this post, to get download it on my Ipad.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about the parenting styles that I see around me.

1. Parent as partner. I know some kids whose mom is their partner in learning. At the end of the school day, each subject is reviewed along with upcoming assignments, projects, and assessments.  The parent helps organize the homework plan and often with studying.  The homework and approach to school is a daily partnership with the parent playing the role of organizing and supervising.

2. Parent as resource. This is where I tend to hangout.  When the kids ask for help, I try to provide it. I often ask them about their homework but it's more episodic than systematic.

3. Parents uninvolved.  Many parents just don't have the time or really focus on the kids grades and school work.  When kids ask for help, their response is that they already got through school, it's now the kids turn.

4.Parents who focus on grades.  There's a lot of this and it overlaps the others. Grades are considered by many parents to be the purpose of schools, its about getting credentials, particularly once you hit high school. Many parents consider (sometimes rightfully) to be the lessons taught in school to be irrelevant to "real life" and they equate getting good grades to "pleasing your boss" and something that kids need to learn to be successful. 

I'm just starting to think about this area.  Any help for me? What sort of parenting do you see in this regards?