Now that I'm going to be a mom, I spend a lot of my time reading mom-stuff. Mom-blogs, Mom websites, Mom books, etc. I have this desire to be the perfect mom, but I know that's not possible. It's just a desire. While I will work hard at being a mom, I won't strive to be perfect.
Anyways, there is a lot of hype over Tiger Mom. In case you haven't read about her, she's the Filipino/ Chinese-American mother who prides herself on her strict parenting techniques. She basically parents in the traditional Asian manner while raising her kids among Western peers. Some of the things she did to create successful children include allowing and not allowing certain things. For example, her kids were not allowed to participate in many of the Western rites of passage. See below:
-hours of practice and studying for her kiddos
-no sleepovers or playdates
-yelling at her children and calling them names (i.e. calling them garbage)
-playing piano or violin only
-no involvement in school plays
-no complaining about not being in school plays
Yeah, so I read the article with a mixture of intrigue and disgust. I do see the effects of the self-esteem movement on my students. Students get by with the bare minimum and I do feel that we are dumbing down education. We expect less of kids. I can't tell you how many C students I've had arguments with because I know they are more than capable of A work. Students are not used to hard work and practice. While I do think 3 hours of piano practice each day is extreme, most students can barely plunker down for an hour.
I am saddened to see the educational achievements of American students diminish, as our Asian neighbors soar. However, the completely Western mom to be me, wonders how I can sit back and let my struggling child study for hours at a time without my help. I want my child to have the confidence that he or she can do anything, but I also want him or her to know it's okay to ask for help. In addition, I want learning to be fun. I mean, I'm a teacher. I strive to make learning fun. Honestly, I learn more when I have fun. I don't expect my child to become a doctor (but wouldn't that be nice). I want my child to think outside the box. Playdates and sleepovers are important because they are not only enjoyable, but they allow kids to learn how to work well with others, which is a skill most are seriously lacking.
Anyways, I guess I somewhat admire Tiger Mom for being able to go against the grain of mediocrity and worrying about a child's "self-esteem." However, I want to raise kids who think outside the box. Adhering to a strict schedule of study and practice, does not allow time for problem-solving, critical thinking, and team work. I also don't agree with calling kids garbage. That screams verbal abuse to me. Not because it affects the child's self-esteem, but what does it teach the child about how to resolve problems? It shows the child the parent's lack of maturity.
Balance is necessary!