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Whatever happened to Tiger Mom's children....(article)

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The part she said about the birthday card, though...that I could not get behind. She said something like, "I spend thousands of dollars on your birthdays, but on mine, you give me a scribbled card?! Do it over! I reject this card!" That did not sound like parody to me. That sounded like a hateful exchange I would not utter in my worst nightmare.

 

See, that was one of the passages that really spoke to me in the book.  I haven't said anything as critical to my kids, mostly because I am way cautious about being critical (baggage) but IMO it is totally OK for a parent to point out a kid's lack of investment in the relationship.  She pointed out that she had invested hugely in a birthday celebration for her daughter, and on her own birthday, got a thoughtless and hastily made card. I see no reason at all why the balance of expression of caring should be so lopsided.  Even for 6 year olds.  Asian parents, in Asia, are far more demanding of their children. FAR more.  As in, daughters in law are expected to take all kinds of abuse from their MILs, for years, sons are expected to fulfill parental aspirations for their careers, etc.  In return, there is a very clear expectation that children will honor, respect, and materially support their parents.  

 

I had a recent experience of observing 2 daughters, of Asian decent and arrived to the USA as adults, hovering over their ill father.  Their affection, loving service and support of him were really noticeably different from what I see Americans do for their aging parents. IF they even show up at the bedside, their "care" is often lacking, and they often seem to make the situation about themselves.  I recognize this is a small "n" but I still think it really does show an important cultural difference.  

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All I know is I would have cracked crazy under their parenting regime, and I did consider her parenting to sometimes be emotionally and verbally abusive. So I am not a fan of the parents.

 

I especially feel sad for the youngest. I am glad that it was mentioned that students do break under this kind of pressure. Many kids simply cannot handle it.

 

Ditto.

 

There was abuse described in that book. 

 

Do people really think if verbal and emotional abuse 'get you into a top school', that's success ?

 

 

~

 

Last year there was an article on all the young people who had perfect scores in our uni entrance exams. 90% were Asian, the vast majority had been 'pushed' into law and medicine, and many of them - as young adults - had either dropped out or chosen another path after graduation. They felt the emphasis on perfection had stopped them from working out what they actually wanted to do with their lives.

 

There has to be a middle line, where you provide scaffolding and support/guidance for your child, at the same time as not making them your 'project'. 

 

In fact there is, and most of the people I know are parenting that way, and their children are doing just fine, and don't consider themselves to be 'special snowflakes'. 

 

Edited by StellaM
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I disagree with a whole lot of things that "Tiger mom" does. However, the most important one is the premise that because her children have gotten into Ivy League schools, she succeeded and if they hadn't, they would have been failures. If my kids want to strive for Ivies, that's fine, but I know plenty of people who are happy, successful people without it. It's sort of like a family member of mine who's an engineer. He pushed his first two kids, and they are both engineers. The third one came along, and although dad pushed, it was apparent that this one wasn't meant to be an engineer. He had other strengths. i wish dad would have let go of the dream of three engineer children before pushing the last one so. I want my children to be happy, fulfilled, kind children who support themselves and don't live in my basement. There are many different paths to a "successful" life. I do push academics, and piano lessons, but not to an extreme.

 

I often feel that this sort of attitude is the dark side of a meritocracy.  If the cream rises to the top, it really means that the majority of people in the middle are seen as being of less worth, and those on the bottom even more so.

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Yeah, this stuff just confuses me.  How do any of these things fit in a healthy family?  Who is doing these things, the kids or the parents?  

 & then we hear essentially, "it's OK, they're at Harvard now so it's all good".

 

You didn't realize that this is the measure of ultimate success??? (Unless you live in my area of PA, and then it's Penn St instead of Harvard.)

 

How could you get through life and miss this most significant part of it?  :lol:

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There were a couple parts in the book, IIRC, where Mom took them out of school for two hours for practice. So...I don't know how this worked, exactly, but I'm thinking if you go to a very high-end private school and you want to excuse your kid from an art class and Health and Fitness, so they can practice music for their upcoming Carnegie Hall performance, then you can.

 

What I could never figure out is how Mom had the time to do that, as she was a professional and had a "real job" as well.

I remember, but I guess that's not sustainable every day. Those girls seem well read, which also takes time. I am guessing they were putting 6 hours on weekends, but I doubt that was the standard daily unless it was a special performance week.

 

Overall I with those kids success. They worked hard.

Edited by Roadrunner
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I have to wonder how Tiger Mom feels about Lulu's choice of an art history major. Seems rather impractical by Asian parental standards.

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The part she said about the birthday card, though...that I could not get behind. She said something like, "I spend thousands of dollars on your birthdays, but on mine, you give me a scribbled card?! Do it over! I reject this card!" That did not sound like parody to me. That sounded like a hateful exchange I would not utter in my worst nightmare.

 

 

See, that was one of the passages that really spoke to me in the book.  I haven't said anything as critical to my kids, mostly because I am way cautious about being critical (baggage) but IMO it is totally OK for a parent to point out a kid's lack of investment in the relationship.  She pointed out that she had invested hugely in a birthday celebration for her daughter, and on her own birthday, got a thoughtless and hastily made card. I see no reason at all why the balance of expression of caring should be so lopsided.  Even for 6 year olds.

 

<snip>

 

Oh I so disagree about this (bolded).  The parent spends thousands of dollars on the kid's birthday and that entitles them to something from their kids?  No.

 

A gift that comes with expectation of reciprocity is not a gift.  It's a transaction. 

Edited by marbel
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1) How do we know this?

 

2) What relevance does this have?

 

I'm not picking on you, Quill. I just am finding this discussion interesting but really confusing. I'm having trouble figuring out why and how certain things are important.

*I* don't claim to know this; I have never met any of the members of this family. :) The linked article was the one saying that there was a huge backlash against Chua when she published the book and many people predicted the kids would be friendless and mentally ill or something to that effect. The article said that Chua was "Having the last laugh" now because, by observation, the grown daughters are well-mannered, accomplished and appear to be happy. I was simply saying that the writer of the article does not appear to be focused on their Ivy League status as evidence that the girls have turned out well because or inspite of Tiger Mom upbringing; the author of the article was saying they appear to have grown into admirable, functional and happy young women.

 

I think you said upthread that you did not read the book, so maybe it is a little confusing if you are missing that backstory.

 

My own opinion on the book was mixed. Then, as now, I both thought that Chua made valid points about how many American children are not raised with any notion of working hard, practicing something extensively, accepting only their own best possible outcome. A lot of this DOES resonate with me; I have high standards and don't accept a half-a$$ed, willy-nilly try as adequate. However, there were also stories she told in the book that were kooky with the exacting standards, places where she went too far. Towards the end of the book, though, she realizes that her younger daughter is being crushed by the rigidity, and she realizes that this was true for her father, too. (I think she says she saw that her father had no love for his parents or something like that, and she saw that she could be doing this to one of her daughters. The girl wanted to take tennis lesson and cut back on violin, which she was eventually allowed to do.)

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See, that was one of the passages that really spoke to me in the book. I haven't said anything as critical to my kids, mostly because I am way cautious about being critical (baggage) but IMO it is totally OK for a parent to point out a kid's lack of investment in the relationship. She pointed out that she had invested hugely in a birthday celebration for her daughter, and on her own birthday, got a thoughtless and hastily made card. I see no reason at all why the balance of expression of caring should be so lopsided. Even for 6 year olds. Asian parents, in Asia, are far more demanding of their children. FAR more. As in, daughters in law are expected to take all kinds of abuse from their MILs, for years, sons are expected to fulfill parental aspirations for their careers, etc. In return, there is a very clear expectation that children will honor, respect, and materially support their parents.

 

I had a recent experience of observing 2 daughters, of Asian decent and arrived to the USA as adults, hovering over their ill father. Their affection, loving service and support of him were really noticeably different from what I see Americans do for their aging parents. IF they even show up at the bedside, their "care" is often lacking, and they often seem to make the situation about themselves. I recognize this is a small "n" but I still think it really does show an important cultural difference.

I still see this very differently. She humiliated her young daughters at her own birthday party. And if she spends thousands of dollars on penguin-shaped ice sculptures, then that is her choice of how to spend money. I would never spend that kind of money on a kid's party, but if I ever did, it wouldn't be a down-payment on any future party they might throw for me.

 

I do have a little familiarity with Asian cultural differences and I DO have a lot of appreciation for the deference and respect that is displayed towards authority and elders. However, it is sometimes not genuine respect, it is merely conditioned training. I don't think it is acceptable to speak abusively to children if the end result is "oh look! They turned out so respectful!" Otherwise, Gotthard is correct and I am Training up A Child.

 

It isn't impossible that I might later pull my kids aside and say they could have put much more effort into the cards they made because I knew they were decent artists and the simple crayon card was not showing much interest in wishing me a happy birthday. There is a possible world where I could have a conversation like that, but it wouldn't be in a selfish tantrum at my own birthday in front of family and/or friends. That does nothing but shame them into putting on a better display next time; it is walking on eggshells with your own mom because "well, you know how she gets..." Personally, I don't want my kids to give me a wonderful birthday gift this year because I humiliated them when they failed to.

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*I* don't claim to know this; I have never met any of the members of this family. :) The linked article was the one saying that there was a huge backlash against Chua when she published the book and many people predicted the kids would be friendless and mentally ill or something to that effect. The article said that Chua was "Having the last laugh" now because, by observation, the grown daughters are well-mannered, accomplished and appear to be happy. I was simply saying that the writer of the article does not appear to be focused on their Ivy League status as evidence that the girls have turned out well because or inspite of Tiger Mom upbringing; the author of the article was saying they appear to have grown into admirable, functional and happy young women.

Gotcha.  Although nobody thought I was mentally ill at that point either.  I was also functional, and appeared happy.  Don't get me wrong, they may very well never change their minds and will always believe they were parented well and all the rest.   I guess I'm just stuck on - it's too early to tell.

I think you said upthread that you did not read the book, so maybe it is a little confusing if you are missing that backstory.Yes, I'm sure I'm not getting the full picture.

 

My own opinion on the book was mixed. Then, as now, I both thought that Chua made valid points about how many American children are not raised with any notion of working hard, practicing something extensively, accepting only their own best possible outcome. A lot of this DOES resonate with me; I have high standards and don't accept a half-a$$ed, willy-nilly try as adequate. However, there were also stories she told in the book that were kooky with the exacting standards, places where she went too far. Towards the end of the book, though, she realizes that her younger daughter is being crushed by the rigidity, and she realizes that this was true for her father, too. (I think she says she saw that her father had no love for his parents or something like that, and she saw that she could be doing this to one of her daughters. The girl wanted to take tennis lesson and cut back on violin, which she was eventually allowed to do.)

{this may be disjointed, I'm multitasking, sorry}

You know, I hear about this a lot on these boards.  There are many people in the world who don't try very hard.  Yes, there are Americans who don't teach their children to work hard.  It isn't what I personally see IRL and I don't live in an area known for high-achievers.  In the rural midwest, where it's more about sports & booze & guns than elsewhere... the vast majority of people still expect a lot from their kids.   I'm not sure this is such a critical problem here, I suspect it's more that her expectations are unrealistic.  Yes, the vast majority of Americans don't have *her* standards.  It doesn't follow that they're not high enough.  

 

I don't accept half-assed willy-nilly try as adequate either.  I also don't require 100% best-possible effort in all things - not all things are worth giving that much effort to.  Most people can't afford to spend that much effort on everything - they pay for it in lots of different unhealthy ways.   

Edited by 8circles
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I could pick out the doozies in my upbringing or even the times I wasn't proud of my behavior as a mom. If you don't have any parenting memories you aren't proud of, you're probably not human. I don't think a few bad moments really prove anything, assuming they even really happened. But, it won't be the first time some stuff was quoted out of context to sway opinions.

 

I am glad to hear the book was meant to be funny and probably involved some exaggeration. I guess I should read it so I can decide if the attempt at humor was a fail or not. :P Someday.

. Sure, I have my shudder-worthy moments, but I promise you, I'm not printing it in a book for everyone to see my most epic fails!
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I still see this very differently. She humiliated her young daughters at her own birthday party. And if she spends thousands of dollars on penguin-shaped ice sculptures, then that is her choice of how to spend money. I would never spend that kind of money on a kid's party, but if I ever did, it wouldn't be a down-payment on any future party they might throw for me.

 

I do have a little familiarity with Asian cultural differences and I DO have a lot of appreciation for the deference and respect that is displayed towards authority and elders. However, it is sometimes not genuine respect, it is merely conditioned training. I don't think it is acceptable to speak abusively to children if the end result is "oh look! They turned out so respectful!" Otherwise, Gotthard is correct and I am Training up A Child.

 

It isn't impossible that I might later pull my kids aside and say they could have put much more effort into the cards they made because I knew they were decent artists and the simple crayon card was not showing much interest in wishing me a happy birthday. There is a possible world where I could have a conversation like that, but it wouldn't be in a selfish tantrum at my own birthday in front of family and/or friends. That does nothing but shame them into putting on a better display next time; it is walking on eggshells with your own mom because "well, you know how she gets..." Personally, I don't want my kids to give me a wonderful birthday gift this year because I humiliated them when they failed to.

Absolutely this! If anything, Chua appears to be a bit narcissistic. I found her tantrum at the party to be wildly immature at best, and showing some rather pathological insecurity on her part as if her sense of whether or not her child loved her rested on some stupid card or something. That said, narcissists control their prey with exactly this kind of behavior.

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I have to wonder how Tiger Mom feels about Lulu's choice of an art history major. Seems rather impractical by Asian parental standards.

I had the same thought. Then I realized that Lulu would become an art professor at Harvard, and then everything would be okay in the world again!

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Absolutely this! If anything, Chua appears to be a bit narcissistic. I found her tantrum at the party to be wildly immature at best, and showing some rather pathological insecurity on her part as if her sense of whether or not her child loved her rested on some stupid card or something. That said, narcissists control their prey with exactly this kind of behavior.

 

Yes - I debated whether or not to say the "n" word.  

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I agree with you, but the article does not say this per se. It says the girls are modest, polite and appear to be happy. True, they are also viewed as "successful" because of their many accomplishments and their entry into Ivy League. But when the author of the article says that Chua is "having the last laugh," it is said that the girls are not mentally ill oddballs.

I know, but I can't help but think...what would the article and Tiger Mom have said if they didn't get into Ivies?

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I know, but I can't help but think...what would the article and Tiger Mom have said if they didn't get into Ivies?

I wonder.

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I know, but I can't help but think...what would the article and Tiger Mom have said if they didn't get into Ivies?

 

Would there have even been an article?   I read it, but maybe I missed something... what was the motivation for the article now?   Who decided it was time to check in on the Tiger Cubs?  

 

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I guess I'm happy that in the end it basically paid off.

 

I can't imagine spending that kind of time playing the violin though.  Geesh

 

I can.  When you really enjoy something, you could spend nearly endless hours at it.  Some people will read in all their spare time and that can add up to 6, 7, 8 or more hours in a good day.  Some people have other things they'll gladly dig into for hours on end.

 

Let to our own and with no pressing engagments and if I can refrain from getting too twitchy about unwashed windows, my dh and son and I could easily spend 16-20 hours in a weekend just playing music.  When I was a teen, I practiced piano at least 4-5 hours a day and still played guitar a bit, too.  That's with going to school and having a very part-time job.  Basically, if I wasn't playing music, I was surfing.  If I hadn't had to go to school too, I'd probably be way better at both of those things now. 

 

Of course... I don't know if those kids really liked playing violin all those hours.  If they didn't, then that's sad and horrible.  They'd probably come to hate music and I can't think of anything sadder than being made to hate music.

Edited by Audrey
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The outcome of two kids who had a tiger mom who are only just started college does not really say much. A balance between the two extremes of protecting children from failure and pushing is the ideal obviously but sometimes it is hard to know where that line is. No parent is perfect but I certainly would not put my worse moments out there as something to follow.

 

It is good for kids to not to give up when things are hard and to try their hardest. Fostering grit in a child will get them far. There definitely is times when kids have too much pressure to not fail and be perfect and that stress is not good for them. It is not good to force a child towards a career path or into hobbies. Letting a child find their own passion and to pursue that passion and not give up when things get tough or hard will be good in the long run.

 

Overall I think the Asian cultural belief to try your try your hardest, put a lot of effort and not give up are good. Putting hours of practice in is not bad if it is a passion and not something forced. A lot of people do need a lot of practice to develop talent but it should not be forced on a very young child especially if it is not self directed. The pressure can be way too intense though and there are times when it is crushing to the self esteem.

Edited by MistyMountain
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I got something out of her book but I was raised the opposite way. So, it gave me a new way of thinking about things. Still, I would never parent this way. What I was struck by was the lack of fun and enjoyment of life. Life is not just a beautiful résumé or list of accomplishments. There has to be time for life moments, relationships, having fun, variety, appreciating beauty. Personally, I feel children need a lot of time for these things. Those are my values.

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Would there have even been an article? I read it, but maybe I missed something... what was the motivation for the article now? Who decided it was time to check in on the Tiger Cubs?

 

I don't know about the motivation for the article...but maybe there would have been an article saying that they didn't get in, and life is okay. I just can't get my head around the idea that an Ivy League education is necessary to happiness and success in life. I know plenty of people (including my DH) who are extremely successful with nothing more than a BS from a state college.
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I had the same thought. Then I realized that Lulu would become an art professor at Harvard, and then everything would be okay in the world again!

 

You know, I honestly think you are misreading the book completely.  I don't think Amy Chua set out to make her daughters Harvard graduates.  Her interest was in making them understand that success is the result of HARD work.  Work that you have to make sacrifices for. Most of us would agree with that sentiment, I think.  It's just that our path to teaching that reality, and our kids' capacity to absorb it, are different.  

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You know, I honestly think you are misreading the book completely. I don't think Amy Chua set out to make her daughters Harvard graduates. Her interest was in making them understand that success is the result of HARD work. Work that you have to make sacrifices for. Most of us would agree with that sentiment, I think. It's just that our path to teaching that reality, and our kids' capacity to absorb it, are different.

Only if you define success in this one narrow way. And I don't think most people do.

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Amy Chua was my absolute favorite professor in law school. She was brilliant, feisty, funny, and caring --- with very high expectations. She shocked our class by insisiting that her Contracts exam was not open book (as most other exams are in law school), but I remember rising to the challenge and somehow loving her all the more for it. I met the girls years ago at a party she threw for our class, and found them to be charming and energetic little girls (the oldest must have been about 9 years old).

 

I was able to read Tiger Mom with those memories informing my interpretation. She came across in the book as much more severe than she is in real life, and I was shocked by some of the stories in it (specifically the birthday card incident). I think she was able to succeed with that parenting style because of the otherwise kind and understanding person she is --- qualities that are not communicated very well in the book

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  And I believe music is like math or physical exercise in terms of its importance to development.  Others may disagree.

 

This was the part that really resonated for me with the Tiger Mom.  That *I* was the mom, and I would be deciding what was important and what was not, not the kids.  No, I wasn't putting any kids through a 6 hour practice (though there was one practice that turned into 3 hours, because a certain boy was whining and carrying on about how he couldn't do it, rather than just trying....once he stopped whining, it took him about 90 seconds to work it out), but I did make the decision that music (and other things) were a requisite, and I didn't really care if the kid thought "this isn't me".  I like to tell my kids, "Your tastes are being formed, not consulted."  So, we do classical music, educational TV, excellent lit, etc.  Sure, there are "entertainment" versions of each of these things (watching Hunger Games, listening to rock music, etc), but they are treated like junk food for the mind and kept to a minimum.

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Exactly. Everyone acts like work and parental pressure automatically lead to success, but the girls getting into Harvard probably has more to do with both parents being prestigious Ivy League law professors than anything else. My daughter, being from the rural midwest, could have the same skills and grades as these two and probably wouldn't stand a chance of getting into an Ivy League school simply because we lack the right connections. 

 

That's not actually true (though I used to think the same thing).  Legacies have relatively little effect (unless the parents are massive donors).  It's not easy getting into those schools (sheer numbers of applicants),  but if your kids cut the mustard academically, they have some  chance.

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making them understand that success is the result of HARD work.  Work that you have to make sacrifices for. Most of us would agree with that sentiment, I think.   

 

Not here!  Some of success is work, of course, as one can't enjoy every little aspect, every day.  But when one gets in a path they enjoy, it's no longer mainly work or sacrifice.  The majority of it is fun.

 

When I was up early in the winter working with my horse under the lights and in the deep cold of far northern NY before going inside to shower and then head to school (left at 7:30 to get there), I don't recall ever thinking it was work or sacrifice.  My dad literally never had to prod me to do it.  Then as soon as school ended I was happily heading over to the riding stable to 'work'/ride there or working with others I had at home.  It was never hard work or sacrifice.  I was bummed when I couldn't go.

 

School work was done during study halls.  Writing English papers was annoying, but most other subjects, esp math/science, I enjoyed.

 

Housework has always been work/sacrifice for me, but I don't consider a clean house the key to success in pretty much any form.

 

I guess this is why I tend to always want kids to find their passion and try to follow it.  Then you rarely have to work a day in your life and are still successful.

 

So far, it's worked well for my guys.  Me too actually.  Hubby would put himself in that category too.  He enjoys what he does.  We all do.  If we didn't, we'd find something we liked better and switch.

 

I suspect those who truly need to work hard and make sacrifices to be "successful" are those who are more likely to crack under the strain.

 

Driven kids pull their folks along, not the other way around.  Non-driven kids can still find a niche and be successful while enjoying what they do.  Most need more guidance, of course, but that doesn't have to be a dictator standing over them.

 

I often get great results from kids (even "bad" kids) at school.  It's never gotten from being a dictator.  It's gotten from getting them to enjoy what they're doing, so they're choosing to do it.  Win-win for all.  No book or tantrum needed.  I just ditch the "work" aspect of it all.

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That's not actually true (though I used to think the same thing). Legacies have relatively little effect (unless the parents are massive donors). It's not easy getting into those schools (sheer numbers of applicants), but if your kids cut the mustard academically, they have some chance.

Legacies don't necessarily fare well but children of famous alumni with strong academic credentials in their own right do extremely well in the admissions game.

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{this may be disjointed, I'm multitasking, sorry}

You know, I hear about this a lot on these boards.  There are many people in the world who don't try very hard.  Yes, there are Americans who don't teach their children to work hard.  It isn't what I personally see IRL and I don't live in an area known for high-achievers.  In the rural midwest, where it's more about sports & booze & guns than elsewhere... the vast majority of people still expect a lot from their kids.   I'm not sure this is such a critical problem here, I suspect it's more that her expectations are unrealistic.  Yes, the vast majority of Americans don't have *her* standards.  It doesn't follow that they're not high enough.  

 

I don't accept half-assed willy-nilly try as adequate either.  I also don't require 100% best-possible effort in all things - not all things are worth giving that much effort to.  Most people can't afford to spend that much effort on everything - they pay for it in lots of different unhealthy ways.   

 

I don't think the sports and booze people are actually the contrary of the not trying hard mindset people are thinking of as opposite the tiger moms.

 

I think it is more engaged parents who put quite a lot of emphasis on things being child led, even when kids are quite young, or will let kids try out something that interests them (piano say) but not give any help in the areas required to make a go of it.  So the child doesn't have the experience to know the rewards of practice, or the disapline to do it, and the parents tend to assume it means it isn't that child's "passion".  Kids in many cases tend to assume that if they are able to be good at it, they just will be good at it without work or frustration.

 

I don't know how many adults I know who wish they had been pushed a little to continue one thing or another, or helped to practice or overcome hurdles, so they could have carried on with an activity.  Quite a few.

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You don't need to be a Tiger Mom to push a little. And surprise! You can push, gently.

 

There is no way in this world that extreme parenting aka Tiger Mom is an good example of anything.

 

I suppose it doesn't sell too many books, though, to write about the vast majority of parents who balance the child's needs with their own adult understanding and experience of grit being a good thing. Not THE good thing, but a good thing, for sure.

 

 

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This was the part that really resonated for me with the Tiger Mom. That *I* was the mom, and I would be deciding what was important and what was not, not the kids. No, I wasn't putting any kids through a 6 hour practice (though there was one practice that turned into 3 hours, because a certain boy was whining and carrying on about how he couldn't do it, rather than just trying....once he stopped whining, it took him about 90 seconds to work it out), but I did make the decision that music (and other things) were a requisite, and I didn't really care if the kid thought "this isn't me". I like to tell my kids, "Your tastes are being formed, not consulted." So, we do classical music, educational TV, excellent lit, etc. Sure, there are "entertainment" versions of each of these things (watching Hunger Games, listening to rock music, etc), but they are treated like junk food for the mind and kept to a minimum.

I am similar. All of my kids had years and years of piano lessons and I didn't consult them on whether or not they would like to learn it and we didn't quit when they found it hard. I sat with them to practice every day. My DD embraced the piano and, though she hasn't had lessons in several years, she loves to play. My older DS eventually was allowed to learn guitar instead. He does not have lessons at present, but he plays and practices and downloads Tabs of his own accord. Youngest DS - jury is out. I think he has plenty of aptitude, but we will see how it goes. The two things he will do for hours with no insistance from me are jump on the trampoline and learn about astronomy.

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That's not actually true (though I used to think the same thing). Legacies have relatively little effect (unless the parents are massive donors). It's not easy getting into those schools (sheer numbers of applicants), but if your kids cut the mustard academically, they have some chance.

Faculty kids are not in the same applicant pool as regular legacies.

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Legacies don't necessarily fare well but children of famous alumni with strong academic credentials in their own right do extremely well in the admissions game.

And I also think releasing a very controversial book just as your older daughter is applying to college may also help.

 

I read the book and enjoyed it. I do not parent the way she does but do admire her drive. I wish them all the very best.

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Yes. The book sounded more tongue in cheek and self-deprecating to me than a portrayal of abusive parenting when I read it and I was confused about why people would be up in arms against her. I also think that they might have practiced 8 hours a day just before the Carnegie Hall debut or some such super important performance. But, if the girls were very smart (which I think they are), they might have finished homework very quickly and practiced for 1-2 hours daily which is not extra-ordinary given how people do it all the time in the area where I live.

 

This was my reaction exactly. 

 

Also, the book was pretty much about pursuit of music. I read nothing about school grades, school work in general or anything other than music practice. 

 

I do think she was going for funny by making fun of herself. 

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Back when I read the book, I thought it was hysterical.

 

I really don't know why or how so many people took it so seriously.  

 

 

I don't think the birthday card thing is a big deal.  Obviously the kid doesn't remember it or care.  So why should anyone else?  Granted, I don't remember the exact context of the birthday card thing.  But when my kids are making cards for someone else, I try to encourage them to do their best, not just scribble a quick 'happy birthday, ____' on a piece of notebook paper or something.  That's just not very nice, thoughtful, anything.  I don't do that because people are 'expecting' something amazing, but because we try to instill in our kids that if we're going to do something, we're not doing it just part way.  

 

And really?  Some people really don't think that most things are accomplished through hard work???  If I wanted to go to college and graduate with honors, it would be hard work.  Not like, the hardest work ever, but it would require effort on my part.  I adore music but to get past the point where I was skating by easily because of natural ability, it took work.  

Parenting is hard work, and it's considered a success if you raise your children to be adults who know how to adult.  :D

 

I'm just saying.  I think it's pretty silly to pretend that effort isn't required to get things done well.  :rolleyes:

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Exactly. Everyone acts like work and parental pressure automatically lead to success, but the girls getting into Harvard probably has more to do with both parents being prestigious Ivy League law professors than anything else. My daughter, being from the rural midwest, could have the same skills and grades as these two and probably wouldn't stand a chance of getting into an Ivy League school simply because we lack the right connections. 

 

Do you really think that?

 

I mean, I will grant that lack of ability to pay cash will affect my children's chances to get into the Ivy League, and I don't even know if I'd want to send them someplace where status is so important, especially not when we have such great opportunities here on the West Coast with UW and UCs. However, I do think that if my kids were outstanding at violin or piano and had great grades, they'd have a chance. I don't need to be somebody special for them to get in.

 

I'm not saying that a high achieving but not superstar kid has the same chance, but her kids did really well in school.

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Back when I read the book, I thought it was hysterical.

 

I really don't know why or how so many people took it so seriously.  

 

 

I don't think the birthday card thing is a big deal.  Obviously the kid doesn't remember it or care.  So why should anyone else?  Granted, I don't remember the exact context of the birthday card thing.  But when my kids are making cards for someone else, I try to encourage them to do their best, not just scribble a quick 'happy birthday, ____' on a piece of notebook paper or something.  That's just not very nice, thoughtful, anything.  I don't do that because people are 'expecting' something amazing, but because we try to instill in our kids that if we're going to do something, we're not doing it just part way.  

 

And really?  Some people really don't think that most things are accomplished through hard work???  If I wanted to go to college and graduate with honors, it would be hard work.  Not like, the hardest work ever, but it would require effort on my part.  I adore music but to get past the point where I was skating by easily because of natural ability, it took work.  

Parenting is hard work, and it's considered a success if you raise your children to be adults who know how to adult.   :D

 

I'm just saying.  I think it's pretty silly to pretend that effort isn't required to get things done well.   :rolleyes:

 

Do you think the book & her entire parenting philosophy is about "you have to try hard to succeed?"  That's it?  That's the message she's trying to send?

 

Does the kid say they don't remember the card incident?  

 

Is there anything that is considered acceptable to not give your absolute best effort for?  

 

I think it's disingenuous to say that "hard work to succeed" is the message of the Tiger Mom.  Her message is much more than that.  

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Do you think the book & her entire parenting philosophy is about "you have to try hard to succeed?"  That's it?  That's the message she's trying to send?

 

Does the kid say they don't remember the card incident?  

 

Is there anything that is considered acceptable to not give your absolute best effort for?  

 

I think it's disingenuous to say that "hard work to succeed" is the message of the Tiger Mom.  Her message is much more than that.  

 

I don't really know what her philosophy is because I read her book as being very humorous and not 100% factual.  I never considered it to be a parenting style or philosophy, but more 'this is the crazy crap I did and my kids have survived' type thing.  I just thought it was hysterical.

 

Though, yes, I do think that in their family, trying hard at what you are doing *seems* to be pretty integral.  But again, I've only read that book, not considered it anything but a silly memoir, and I don't know them in person.  That could just be what I see in it because it resonates with me.

 

I thought the kid said in the article that she didn't remember the card thing.  Maybe that was something else.  Doesn't change my opinion of it either way.

 

And... I think giving one's best effort in anything they do is essential.  I'm not sure if there is anyone who doesn't think that?  I'm not saying everyone should be amazing at everything; I'm not saying that there needs to be some external validation or competition to it (being better than others at something, or even being great at it to the extent that you receive praise for it).  I'm just saying that everything should be done to the best of our ability.  Are there others who think differently?  Why would anyone choose to live life skating by when they could try and do better?

I guess it's part of 'being the best me I can be' type thinking.  Which I guess I thought was pretty common.  

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And... I think giving one's best effort in anything they do is essential.  I'm not sure if there is anyone who doesn't think that?  I'm not saying everyone should be amazing at everything; I'm not saying that there needs to be some external validation or competition to it (being better than others at something, or even being great at it to the extent that you receive praise for it).  I'm just saying that everything should be done to the best of our ability.  Are there others who think differently?  Why would anyone choose to live life skating by when they could try and do better?

I guess it's part of 'being the best me I can be' type thinking.  Which I guess I thought was pretty common.  

 

Honestly, no.  This is not something that is universal.  It surprises me that one would thing so.  The people who think this way are usually called perfectionists and it isn't exactly a healthy thing to be, although there would be many perks and successes involved.

 

Not thinking this way, though, doesn't mean you're choosing to skate by in life.  People make choices and have priorities and they aren't the same for everyone.  People are different and there are many ways to be successful.

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Honestly, no.  This is not something that is universal.  It surprises me that one would thing so.  The people who think this way are usually called perfectionists and it isn't exactly a healthy thing to be, although there would be many perks and successes involved.

 

Not thinking this way, though, doesn't mean you're choosing to skate by in life.  People make choices and have priorities and they aren't the same for everyone.  People are different and there are many ways to be successful.

 

 

Everything you've said here lately has made SO MUCH SENSE. And this ? Yes. Just yes.

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  I never considered it to be a parenting style or philosophy, but more 'this is the crazy crap I did and my kids have survived' type thing.  I just thought it was hysterical.

 

 

I don't find emotional and verbal abuse to be hysterical, even if the kids did survive. 

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If you saw my kitchen just now, you'd know that I most certainly do not always do the best that I can!

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You know, I honestly think you are misreading the book completely. I don't think Amy Chua set out to make her daughters Harvard graduates. Her interest was in making them understand that success is the result of HARD work. Work that you have to make sacrifices for. Most of us would agree with that sentiment, I think. It's just that our path to teaching that reality, and our kids' capacity to absorb it, are different.

I do agree with the sentiment that hard work is necessary. However, I think her definition of a successful life and my definition are vastly different. My cousin, although he's smart, never wanted to go to college. He wanted to continue to play with the power tools and machinery he'd played with since he was old enough to walk, and he has a successful tree trimming business. He's done a great job. My parents both went to college and had teaching jobs (local schools), and are now retired, happy, and with enough income to cover their needs and wants. That's success. It's the narrow definition of success that(and authors of other articles and things I've read recently) that define success in a very narrow way that may get you an Ivy League degree or whatever you covet, but that may rob you of things that are even more important, like TIME to play when you are 10 or to relax when you are 14, not practice the violin hours a day. Unless you are someone who is internally driven to practice, then no one has to make you. I'm sorry if this is written a bit poorly...I don't think I'm awake yet! But I hope you see what I mean.

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Honestly, no.  This is not something that is universal.  It surprises me that one would thing so.  The people who think this way are usually called perfectionists and it isn't exactly a healthy thing to be, although there would be many perks and successes involved.

 

Not thinking this way, though, doesn't mean you're choosing to skate by in life.  People make choices and have priorities and they aren't the same for everyone.  People are different and there are many ways to be successful.

 

I agree with this.

 

It seems as if some people are saying "work hard at everything you do" and not hearing others saying "work hard at the things that are important." 

 

I'm with the non-perfectionist people.  I don't make my kids work hard at every single thing they have to do.  They do work hard at the things that are important - their dad and I decide what's important, but some of that is based on our knowledge of our own kids, and not what Harvard says is important. That doesn't mean I let them skate by in life and the implication that people who don't try to force kids to work hard and be perfect at every dang thing they do are "letting them skate" is condescending and a bit offensive.

 

I let my kid quit piano lessons because he was hated it to the point of getting sick before lessons.  He dreaded it that much.  He resented every stinking minute piano practice took away from other (equally useful) pursuits.   Life became so much better the day I said "you can stop."  I am 100% certain that child is never going to say "why didn't you make me keep playing?"  I'm not so certain, but am pretty confident, that forcing him to continue much longer would have had a negative effect on our relationship and his relationship to learning. 

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I think it's pretty silly to pretend that effort isn't required to get things done well. 

 

Hours are often needed to be good at what one does.  I spent hours riding and caring for my horses and ponies.  Anyone doing well at college spends hours in and out of their classes.  Anyone who is good at their job spends hours there and keeps up with what is going on.

 

But it's only "work" if you don't enjoy what you are doing.

 

I stole that from middle son.  When he was insisting he wanted to be a doctor, others were telling him all about the many years of schooling + residency and the long hours on the job afterward for many types.  His response to them?  "It's not work if you enjoy what you're doing."  He loves it all - college, research, shadowing, volunteering.  Neither hubby nor I have ever had to remind/require him to do something along those lines.  He does it because he loves it.

 

It's not work if you enjoy what you're doing.  Smart lad.

 

And... I think giving one's best effort in anything they do is essential.  I'm not sure if there is anyone who doesn't think that?  I'm not saying everyone should be amazing at everything; I'm not saying that there needs to be some external validation or competition to it (being better than others at something, or even being great at it to the extent that you receive praise for it).  I'm just saying that everything should be done to the best of our ability.  Are there others who think differently?  Why would anyone choose to live life skating by when they could try and do better?

I guess it's part of 'being the best me I can be' type thinking.  Which I guess I thought was pretty common.  

 

Add me to the disagreement list!  I have no desire to be the best housekeeper, so I choose to only do the basics with absolutely no regrets!

 

I agree with what a pp mentioned above.  What you are describing is a perfectionist.  That's rarely considered a good trait.  It's very easy for them to get down on themselves when they can't live up to their own standards.  No, most of the world doesn't share those standards.  Most of the world picks and chooses what's important to them and lets other things slide.  How we make our choices differs.

 

I choose to do the best I can at my job (which I enjoy, so is rarely work) and with my family (including the family budget so we can support our travel junkie habit).  But even within those, what I choose as "best" is different than what some others choose (like with housecleaning).

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You don't need to be a Tiger Mom to push a little. And surprise! You can push, gently.

 

There is no way in this world that extreme parenting aka Tiger Mom is an good example of anything.

 

I suppose it doesn't sell too many books, though, to write about the vast majority of parents who balance the child's needs with their own adult understanding and experience of grit being a good thing. Not THE good thing, but a good thing, for sure.

 

Oh I totally agree.  From the perspective of a reader though, it might be a new idea for some that pushing is sometimes appropriate. 

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Is there anything that is considered acceptable to not give your absolute best effort for?  

 

 

 

Not in my house.  I believe care and meticulousness is a habit that is worth practicing and training into, so it's as important to me that the counter is wiped properly (that is, all the way to the back splash and edges, not just in swishes around the middle), as it is that the algebra is done properly (with straight lines and neat work).  Slopping through things is not acceptable here.

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I think the idea that everything has to be done with best effort is a little bizarre.  There are many things most people do where that doesn't even make sense.  Sure, I could get all crazy playing a game of badminton in the back yard, but that would really miss the point.  I'm not trying to be a badminton star, or smash my opponent to smithereens, I am trying to relax and get some sun and have fun. Spending hours practicing to become expert at it makes it into something else entirely.

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I find it interesting that our society looks so much at the external measures of success (Ivy League, accomplished musicians, the fact that they are modest/polite) to determine whether the parenting approach "worked"--it just plays into that paradigm fully, which is that the measure of success is always judged by traits or factors that can be observed externally (and thus superficially).   When, in fact, the internal landscape can be decimated, even if someone appears successful and well-adjusted.  

 

So I am not particularly convinced by the article, by Chua's parenting methods, or by the girls' "success." 

 

 

Edited by pehp
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There are many areas where perfection isn't necessary.  My car is not pristine clean inside or out.  In Algebra, even on a test (at school), if the problem says to sketch the graph of y= x^3 + 3, we are only looking for the known shape and easy to find critical points - not an engineering worthy graph.  I don't care if my bed is made to military perfection (that I learned while in the military).  There is no right way to clean my counter.  Dust bunnies made nice pets.  Spiders are useful critters. House rules are common when playing games - as are "oops" fix it moves (sometimes).  Crocket is as much fun to play as Croquet.  (Crocket is Croquet with the additional challenges of our not necessarily neatly mowed lawn/field.)  It's probably more fun to be honest.

 

The key to a successful life IMO is knowing when one needs extra effort and when one doesn't, and that, again, will differ by person and situation.  Someone who enjoys cleaning won't find it work to have a clean house/car.  Some students who enjoy math like giving us more detailed graphs than a sketch requires - even for the same grade - knowing it will be the same grade.  Someone playing Croquet competitively isn't likely to want to practice with Crocket (though perhaps they might!).

 

Life is fun when individuals are doing what they enjoy - round peg/hole deal.  The number of hours required are irrelevant at that point.  Life gets stressful when one is doing what they don't enjoy.  When we buckle down and clean our house, it might only take an hour or two, but it's far worse (for me) than spending the whole day at school "working."  I'm far more likely to be cranky and stressed in that single hour.

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