I read a lot about different parenting techniques and approaches – including Netanya’s and Devorah’s recent blog posts. So of course, like so many of you, I followed the controversy surrounding Amy Chua’s latest novel, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In it, she chronicles all of the expectations – including an incredibly long list of dos and don’ts – she holds for her children. The running list of activities her kids were never allowed to do included:
- Attend a sleepover
- Have a playdate
- Be in a school play
- Complain about not being in a school play
- Watch TV
- Play computer games
- Choose their own extracurricular activities
- Receive any grade lower than an A
- Not be the top student in every subject except gym and drama
- Play any instrument other than the piano or violin
- Not play the piano or violin
It’s a demanding and unbending list – and as I read the book, I got the sense that Chua is more than a little nuts. Spoiler alert: Though I hate to ruin the ending, I will. In the end, she admits defeat and is “humbled” by one of her children, who defies her rules. Still, I think she’s gotten a bit of a bad rap. As parents, don’t we all have high expectations of our kids? Don’t we all have our own value system? Aren’t there things you won’t compromise on?
I was raised by a Tiger Mother of sorts. She was strict about many things, big and small, though I won’t go into detail, because she’s not here to defend herself. If I had to make my own Tiger Mother list – things that I’m absolutely inflexible about – it might look like this:
- Every day must begin with morning prayers (either at home or at school).
- No TV, playdates or computer games – until all homework is done.
- Showing disrespect to others is never tolerated.
- You don’t have to like everyone, but you can’t be mean to anyone.
- Dirty laundry must go into the hamper or down the laundry chute.
- Crayons and markers must be put away every evening.
- Children must read or be read to every night before bed.
- You must do the best you can in all of your endeavors.
- You shouldn’t bother taking on an endeavor if you’re not going to try to do your best.
Maybe I’m not such a fierce Tiger Mom, after all. My kids are only 6 and 3, so for now, these are the standards that (I think and hope) will establish the foundation to help my girls grow into responsible, successful and respectful people.
What rules have you taken on at home that make you a Tiger Mom?
Daphne Price is a wearer of many hats (literally!). She lives in the Modern Orthodox world and works for Reform Jewish Movement. When she's not busy working, being a spouse and a mom of 2, she trains for races and spends time in the kitchen playing around with different recipes to make mealtime more exciting for her family. You can read some of her other blog posts on http://blogs.rj.org/rac/