Note: This blog draws in part on my experiences and observations interviewing political figures, writers, and analysts for "The Campbell Conversations" on WRVO. To hear past interviews I refer to in these posts, please go to the show's website. The views expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent Syracuse University, the Campbell Institute, or the WRVO Stations.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tiger Mothra

I was just settling in to write a post about the Tiger Mother hoopla, when I discovered that Cynthia Tucker had already said most of what I wanted to say, and it's here.

What I'd underscore from her piece is that one of the reasons for the ridiculous amount of attention this woman and book have received is that among certain classes, a version of the Tiger Parent is fast multiplying.  "Tiger Mother Lite" is probably the best term.  There are tons of them here at the university, for example, and it's fun sport to watch them talk about their kids at a social event--a polite exchange of information that is in reality a battle for supremacy by proxy, the verbal equivalent of a West Side Story rumble.

Ultimately, if the fallout from the book gives a few more kids their summers back, I guess I'm for it.

I'll end with a Zen koan in honor of the book:  What is the sound of one hand carrying money to the bank?


LisaMJ said...

Ugh, glad I didn't have a Tiger Mother b/c I probably would have runaway from home!!!! I'm not a parent and of course it is easy to be a "good parent" when you have no children, but I'm shocked at how weird, for lack of a better word, so many parents have become. They live in safe suburbs but their kids can't play outside without adult supervision. I know one guy who grew up in Brooklyn, took the subway to school and all over alone from 8 or 9, but didn't let his 12 year old play outside alone in the suburbs of VA. Seriously? Or the kids have every activity planned to a "t" so even if they are allowed to play outside alone they can't b/c they have no time. So how do you really figure out what kind of person you are/will be if you never, ever get time to figure out what to do with yourself in at least a bit of free time (other than playing video games or watching tv).

Plus, so much parental hovering, and helicoptering and forcing kids to do things they don't want to do (or making them do something they once liked all the time to become 'perfect' like practicing the violin for 4 hours daily at 7 years old) seems to make for less happy children and doesn't prepare them for a world where they will need self-monivation, will sometimes fail and no one is there to fix things for them. Plus you have students at some schools, especially top 10-20 schools, who've always gotten A's and either have a breakdown when a college prof who doesn't grade inflate or on a curve gives them a B or C and sometimes attempt suicide or kids how had parents who pushed them so much to get A's that when they don't have the parent there standing on top of them they flunk out b/c they are enjoying their freedom so much or don't know how to work independently without someone telling them all the time. Of course the latter happens to students of all stripes as well.

LisaMJ said...

Oh and I also love how Ms. Chua brags about how well adjusted her kids are, even though they are 18 and 15 and haven't been to college yet let alone the real world. Plus, the 15 year old "rebelled" by not playing piano anymore so she said she relented a bit but I wonder if that "rebellious" streak will manifest itself more as the girl grows older, especially once college rolls around.

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