Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maybe America Needs a Few More “Tiger Moms” Out There

You may or may not have heard of Amy Chua, a Yale Law Professor and the controversial author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

Her book details her parental rules, which includes no sleepovers, playdates, school plays, TV and computer games. In addition, her two children – both girls – can not “get any grade less than an A; not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama; play any instrument other than the piano or violin; not play the piano or violin.”

If that sounds ridiculous, that might be because it is. If my mother had required all As in mathematics, I’d probably still be grounded now, at age 28.

I think it’s important to recognize that every individual has their strengths and weaknesses. Children need to be encouraged to accentuate their strengths and muster through their weaknesses. But parents should not demand all-around perfection.

However, Chua’s oldest child – who is now choosing what prestigious school she’ll be attending after graduation – is standing up and defending her mother. And unless appearances are drastically deceiving, the young lady seems well adjusted and happy.

The Tiger Mom Mentality Stands Up Against America’s Current Norm

Considering the general hooliganism that too many of America’s youth subscribe to these days, we might be able to learn a thing or two – or three or four – from Chua.

To be fair, many Asian cultures – which Chua definitely seems to be taking a few pages from – have unusually high rates of suicide, largely because of such familial pressures to succeed. And raising a child so strictly can backfire, leading to resentful children who go off the deep end as soon as they get a taste of freedom: partying, sleeping around, doing drugs and generally putting themselves and others at risk through their poor behavior.

Katy Perry – who went from good little Christian girl to promoting dangerous levels of sexuality – might very well be an example of this. But on the flipside, there’s Tori Spelling, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Charlie Sheen, just to name a few.

And I’d put a lot of money on my theory that the dozens of teenagers who mindlessly attacked and injured two Delta Airline employees in Atlanta, Georgia, had parents who much more closely associated with the Sheen model of parenting then the Chua one.

The same goes for the guardians of the two-thirds of Wisconsin public school eighth graders who can’t read proficiently, and the elementary education students in Oakland who engaged in sexual activity inside their classroom. The same goes for the teacher who stood by and did nothing. And the parents of the 18 young men who gang-raped an 11-year-old girl in Texas.

Get the picture?

America is in rapid decline in large part because our children are brought up with so little sense of responsibility or boundaries.

So while Chua might want to think about toning down her rules a bit, based on her results, it would seem that she has a much better model than most of her critics do.

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