Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Am I A Tiger Mom?

Am I A Tiger Mom?

When someone commented on Facebook:
Tiger Mom takes on Montessori............had that battle and lost. Most importantly the child lost :( This kind of vigorous Super Tot education does not bode well for the goal of ICCO in a primary setting..........it is the process not the product that counts

I took some time to reflect if I am indeed a Tiger Mom. The rest of the comment was utter rubbish because I set my own goals, our work is far from vigorous and the learning is nothing but fun for Tiger.

With the release of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, suddenly, we, the Chinese parents everywhere have been labelled. Puh-lease, Tiger Mothers have been around forever.

I have not read the book. I am refusing to read it because I am afraid to admit that I may turn into one. Our parenting ways are often influenced by our upbringing. I can hear my mother in my voice at times.
I was raised by a Tiger Mother, I would say most Asians/Chinese were too. 

Here are some snippets from my childhood.

When I was 6 years old, I attended tuition class with my cousins who were 10 years old. We sat around a table and did Grade 5 maths together. I can still recall the smell of my tuition teacher and the room where we had our classes. I had no problem with the sums but I ended up with a life long hatred of math. (No idea where Little Tiger got his love of Math from. Montessori?)

Whenever I was up to no good, my mother would straighten me out with a cane. Very effective, till this day, I am scared of it. Once, when I hid her canes, she chased after me with the broom. Thinking back, it must have been hilarious for the neighbours. My mother was 22 years old when she had me, so she had the stamina to run after me.

She was so strict that even though she was working full-time, I would have my own study time before playing, EVERYDAY. I remember having some friends over and even then, I made time to study! They even commented," Wah, you are so hardworking. No wonder your grades are so good". That's the power of a Tiger Mom.

What about my relationship with my mother now?
I LOVE my mother. When I go home, I would demand for food. Occasionally, I would just plop myself on the couch and she would bring me the food and cutlery. She would tussle my hair and hold my hands unexpectectedly. We say," I Love You" after every phone conversation. She makes me blow her kisses over phone. I am forever grateful and indebted to my Tiger Mom.

Nowadays, my mother would always say that Little Tiger would need caning if he was too inherit my genes for mischief, jokingly of course.

Conclusion of reflection:
I don't think I am a Tiger Mom, not yet anyways. I am Malaysian, not Singaporean (no pun intended). Just because I don't post my personal pictures outside of Tot School doesn't mean I am a drill sergeant to my child at 16 months and schooling is all we do. I have a life outside of the blogosphere. Too vigorous? Puh-lease, my Little Tiger would live in his study room and crayon all day long if I let him. That's his love of learning that we have cultivated.

Will I become a Tiger Mom? Only time will tell....
For now, I am very happy being Mom to Tiger

This is Po Bronson, author of Nurture Shock's comment on Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother:
“American mothers and fathers are dying for permission to be a little tougher on their kids… These parents have long wrestled with an internal conflict, coddling their kids’ egos to protect their psyches, even as they’ve suspected that that approach might stunt their achievement. [Battle Hymn of the] Tiger Mother resolves that contradiction. What it teaches is that kids might actually want to get ahead just as much as their moms and dads want them to–a message that relieves the guilt of achievement-driven parents, freeing them to let up on the self-esteem boosting and concentrate on the results. Chua may be too extreme to adopt as a role model, but that doesn’t mean these parents won’t turn to her book as their guide.”


NabihaW said...

He he...I hear you...I was brought up by a somewhat 'Tiger Mom' (I'm Indian by the way) My mum had rigid expectations in terms of discipline... if I misbehaved, I would get hit by anything that was lying near her hands- wooden ruler, plastic hanger, wooden spoon, sometimes even my dad's belt : ) Did that distort my self esteem and severely bruise my feelings for the rest of my life ? nope...sometimes I'm even grateful that she raised me into an independent, considerate and respectful human being who's not spoilt. As much as I remember those times of being hit by her, I also do remember all those fun moments with her where she read books with me, crafted and did silly things with me, gave me loads of hugs and kisses, and most importantly encouraged me in my legitimate passions...no matter how ridiculous or expensive they were. And we do share a great relationship even today. Maybe I wouldn't do the hitting part, but now that I'm a mum, I keep turning to my mother for advice on dealing with my daughter.

Thanks for this post, I had read an excerpt of Amy Chua's book a while ago and couldnt understand what the huge fuss and cry was about..for me that was just a normal part of growing up..something that happened with all parents and children ..boy was I wrong! :p

Jessica_littletiger said...

I read the book sometime back, yes, finally. Amy Chua is definitely more extreme than my mom. LOL!

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