Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tiger Mom or Dragon Mom? Just Mom.

Less than a year ago, Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, hit the shelves and raised violent reactions from mothers around the world. There were varying discussions about the book and Amy Chua's manner of raising her two daughters. Many found it compelling and barbaric how she forces each daughter to violin and piano lessons even if the kids are too tired to practice, how she forces them to be extremely competitive and here's how she explained herself:

"Unlike your typical Western over-scheduling soccer mom, the Chinese mother believes that (1) schoolwork always comes first; (2) an A-minus is a bad grade; (3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; (4) you must never compliment your children in public; (5) if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach; (6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and (7) that medal must be gold."

Now, I recently stumbled upon an article by Emily Rapp, mother of Ronan who was born with Tay Sachs disease and won't probably live to celebrate his third birthday. According to her:

"But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and ... healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition."

These two mothers have different approaches to parenting because they are not in the same situation. Amy has the opportunity to look into the future of her daughters and do what she can while they are still young and mold them into the best individuals that they can become. Emily, however, does not share the same advantage. The most that she can be with her son is three years and in that short span of time, she is doing the best she can for Ronan and that is to shower him with love, care and affection.

Personally, there is no bad parent unless you literally shove your children to do bad things. But if your parenting style is different from the standard, I don't really think that defines you as being a bad mother or a bad father. It just shows that we all have individual differences - we see things differently, we don't have the same beliefs and traditions but despite those differences, I truly believe that all parents only have one ultimate goal and that is to be the best parents they can be for their kids.

This quote by Emily Rapp hit me the most:

"Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is."

So, what kind of a mom are you? Tiger mom who raises her kids for the future or Dragon Mom who lives in the moment?

Me, I'm a bit of both. I am a Dragon mom who lives each day with my son, savoring each moment but I can also see myself as a Tiger mom who will push my son to be the best that I believe he can be. But, truthfully, I don't want any titles to my parenting style. I'd rather just be known as mom or to my son as ...

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