In our upcoming May issue, our behaviour expert Michael Weiss talks about the Tiger Mom phenomenon. This authoritarian style of parenting is by no means new (if anything, it’s old), but it has a new currency with the release of Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In short, a Tiger Mom or Dad parents with an iron fist. It’s their way or the high way.
One of the characteristics of a child raised by a “tiger mom” is that he or she plays the piano or violin – and very well. The illustration with Michael’s column is an overbearing mother coaching her child at the piano. And the first thing I thought when I saw it – OMG, I’m a tiger mom!
OK, I’m not as bad as Chua describes in her book, drilling her children until they get it right, not letting them up from the bench. But I confess, my children have withered into tears as we sat before the keys, upset at my impatience, me upset with their unwillingness to practise a piece more than, say, once.
So where does encouraging children to do their best and meet new challenges head-on cross the line into tiger territory? Is this a reaction – or even an overreaction – to the permissive style of parenting that has supposedly led to a generation of coddled, entitled young people?
The solution, according to Michael, makes total sense – aim for somewhere in the middle. Simple, right? Let me know how that’s going.