Are You A Tiger Mom?

It does not matter whether you are an ‘Indian’ tiger mom or a Chinese one, research shows that parents attempting to control their children by psychological means, like shaming for instance, is associated with academic and emotional distress in children.

For those of you who are new to this term ‘tiger mom’, it all began when the book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ by Amy Chua, a Yale law professor and the mother of two daughters, was published. It explained the fierce parenting style adopted in many Asian homes in order to make their kids successful.

As the story goes, Amy Chua’s daughters were not allowed to watch TV, play computer games or get any grade less than an A. Chua claimed that her strict parenting choices led her kids to be very successful in school and their music studies.

An article published in TODAY Parents talks about how her kids practised playing the violin for up to six hours a day. It seems that the girls have achieved what their mother dreamt for them. Both these girls have entered Harvard University.

When I had my first child, I was somewhat like this tiger mom, always pushing my son to excel in everything. I was not concerned about his thoughts or feelings. Slowly I became mature enough to understand that success does not spell a wholesome life.

Life is a journey of which you should enjoy each moment; success does not produce happiness. It’s the wholesomeness – understanding your strengths and weaknesses, building upon your strengths and giving an excellent performance, that brings about happiness. Ultimately these lifestyle practices lead to success.

A research study published by the University of California says that less supportive, punitive parenting techniques such as the ‘tiger mom technique’ might cause low self-esteem and school adjustment difficulties in children. This parenting style may cause depression and problem behaviour in children.

Supportive parenting
If you want to raise successful, well-adjusted children, a new dimension in parenting called supportive parenting plays a critical role. Supportive parents exhibit the following traits.

Teaching successful social behaviour
Positive reinforcement
Inductive discipline – which involves lots of discussion and agreement on right choices.
Positive experiences – Provide ample opportunities to play and share other positive experiences with peers.

According to research conducted by the American Psychological Association, parents who scored high on positive parenting dimensions and low on negative parenting dimensions such as shaming and name calling the kids, had successful children.

Take home message

If you are a young parent, you may have big dreams and hopes for your kid, which is wonderful. In your eagerness to make your kids achieve success, you should be careful as not to fall prey to negative parenting styles. Allow your kids to explore, learn, enjoy and celebrate who they are. It’s the uniqueness of a person when rightly channeled that leads to success. Don’t fit your child into others’ mould. Let their individuality shine and nurture their confidence. This attitude helps them to become wholesome individuals and be highly successful in life.

All this information is just a tip of the iceberg; you will understand a lot as you continue your journey as a parent.

Swarnam John is an experienced health and wellness writer. She writes the blog healthyhomosapien. She is also a contributor to a couple of prestigious online magazines.

  • Nicely written Swarnam. Amy’s views on parenting were very strong and single-dimesional, I think. Though I developed an appreciation towards her own perserverance and discipline so that her kids could follow a schedule, never miss the practice sessions etc., I am not very sure that would work for me. I strongly believe in exploring one’s own personalitry traits. We , as parents, should be mentors/guides. Let them sail their own boat. Agree with your thoughts completely.