Up until President’s Day, I had successfully avoided reading anything about the Tiger Mother due to extreme lack of interest. But since my mother cornered me to yesterday with this article in Time magazine (she is extremely anxious for the Baby’s future and wants to make sure he does well), I have now had to form an opinion.
Tiger Mom sounds bonkers — she has called her kid “garbage,” made her kid practice a violin piece well into the night, skipping dinner, and rejected a valentine from a four-year-old, saying it wasn’t good enough.
But there were other ideas mentioned that don’t sound as bad — assume your kid is strong not fragile; emphasize the value of hard work over talent/intellect; give your kid the experience to succeed at least once (that violin story); get over the idea that you’re special.
Feeling special is something that has been a belief of great disservice for some people I know. It makes them feel exempt from effort and surprise when things don’t go there way, as if fate were thwarted.
How do you raise a kid to feel comfortable competing but be okay if things don’t always end up as planned? The Tiger Mom thing is resonating, the article says, because there is a great deal of anxiety over the fact that our country is no longer the powerhouse super country it used to be — so many other countries turn out higher grades, etc. I think about that too. I would like America to be number one, I’m used to it! But then I think about the fact that we’re not the only country to abdicate its top spot. We could maybe have talks with Italy, how did they feel after World War II? I mean, life went on. People still fall in love, go to school, make shoes in Italy. (If I’ve talked about this before, sorry. I repeat myself all the time. Poor Husband.)
I did well in school only because my mother pushed me. I only kept studying so I wouldn’t get grounded. This resulted in good things for me academically speaking. I am basically bright, but extremely lazy, so without maternal intervention, I would probably just be happy watching TV with a jar of Nutella and spoon.
I will say that we raise people to believe they are special is a disservice to us.