Some time last year, when I posted a video of my 3 year old joining a Chinese declamation contest on my Facebook and winning 2nd place, a good friend asked me if I was a Tiger Mom.
At that time, the controversial book had just come out so I didn’t know what it meant so I searched it on the internet.
What I read (excerpts of the book were available online) kind of shocked me into asking the question of myself….AM I A TIGER MOM?
Although I agreed with a lot of what she said, like things didn’t come easy and you have to get better until anything becomes fun. I also believe in expecting the best out of my kids. However, I flinched at her tactics and what seemed like psychological torture in some cases.
My kids do have a lot of extra-curricular activities. They have full schedules during summer breaks and weekends because I try to diminish their TV time by keeping them busy. I have chosen non-academic activities primarily because I felt academics should be kept limited to school and the free times should be for them to discover other activities they may enjoy or excel at. My son, at 4, is taking taekwondo and piano lessons while my daughter, who just tuned 8, has ballet, violin, taekwondo and until recently, voice. Both my kids were accelerated in their schools early on and they are considered advanced for their age.
I found myself agonizing over whether or not I was asking too much. Was I psychologically torturing my children? Am I just pushing them to become better or am I pushing them towards the edge of a cliff?
I mentally listed down what I was asking of them.
I never ask them to practice their instruments if they are swamped with school work (which still came first in my book) or if they’re physically exhausted. I also try to keep my tutoring to a maximum of 2 hours after classes to prepare for quizzes and the next school day inclusive of any advance lessons I do in order to give them time to play, watch TV and relax. I do expect them to perfect the review tests I give them so that I’m sure they understand the lessons prior to taking quizzes. But I don’t go ballistic if they do make mistakes in the actual tests.
Sundays are completely for rest so I allow them to do whatever they want to do. We go out, we relax and we unwind together.
When it comes to behavior, I admit I can be a little unforgiving. I demand that they are respectful to adults and to their peers. I do not condone grabbing, or initiating hitting or pushing other kids. I am inflexible when it comes to doing their worksheets that I specify is “their responsibility” to accomplish on a daily basis.
When they are misbehaving, my kids immediately know to follow right away when my voice has raised to a certain pitch… they know that if they persist, I’ll be shouting next or doling out punishments. I punish them by withholding treats, like computer game time for my son or books for my daughter. However, I have made a rule that I never hit them, which is a personal decision and is sometimes, admittedly, very hard to follow.
After my mental analysis, I concluded, with a little sigh of relief that I’m not a Tiger Mom.
Until now, some people have asked me whether or not I am a Tiger Mom after they meet my kids or see what they can do.
My answer to that is this…. I’m NOT a Tiger Mom … but I’m a really tough shepherd dog or something.