When I first heard about Amy Chua, the self-professed Chinese Tiger Mother, I didn’t understand what all the hype, the drama and the hatred was about. After reading more about her and her parenting memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, I couldn’t help but like her even more!
Let me explain before some of you get your keyboards ready to type out a grammatically incorrect hate-mail. (If you are going to waste your time writing me a negative comment, the least you can do is learn how to spell first.)
Most adults these days insist on being a friend to their children, instead of being a parent. They want to be the “cool” parent, letting their children do anything they want as long as they are happy. How is that parenting? Why would I want to be friends with someone that I used to wipe and change diapers for not so long ago? If I’ve seen your naked ass, you are not my friend. Furthermore, if I had any kind of vomit on me because of you, you are definitely not my friend.
Children don’t need another set of friends, they need parents, they need guidelines and rules to follow. The way Amy Chua describes her parenting technique maybe a bit nontraditional for most Americans, and she may have gone a little too far with some of her rules, but throughout the rest of the world its pretty common practice for children to be practicing hours upon hours of piano or other musical instruments. Having little or no time for social activities such as “hanging out with friends” is not a bad thing for a child, they get plenty of that during school hours. And believe me when I say slumber parties or sleepovers are a big waste of time. I never had sleepovers when I was young, and I’d like to think I turned out alright. Sure there are still unsolved mental issues, but I blame that on my family, and their DNA. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve missed out somehow, because I didn’t do sleepovers. Although, I did get invited to many sleepovers many of which I left around 10 o’clock in the evening, simply because I didn’t see the point of sleeping on the floor when I had a perfectly good bed at home. One of the times I tried to stay the whole night was also the very last time I agreed to participate in a sleepover. It was the same night that my friend’s Mother decided to check in on us only wearing a very tight, short and see-through t-shirt. I will leave the rest to your imagination, putting the emphasize on the ‘very tight, short and see-through’ part of that sentence.
Nothing good ever comes out of a sleepover, only age-inappropriate questions for the morning after. My boys know that if they want to go to a sleepover, I am not going to stop them, in fact I will encourage them to see for themselves what a waste of time it is. Most of the time, I receive a phone call around 11 o’clock begging me to come pick them up. I am also not a big fan of having sleepovers at my house; maybe its because of my obsessive compulsive cleaning behavior. Apparently eleven-year-old boys don’t like it when you follow them around with a hand-held vacuum cleaner as they are eating a bag of chips (which, by the way they brought over from their house, since they know there won’t be any “good food” at my house, but there will be home-made matzo ball soup, or noodle kugel, and if they are really lucky maybe even some beef liver). It could also be the fact that I make them eat Oreo cookies in the backyard or over the kitchen sink. What? You like cleaning up cookie crumbs from the floor all night, or waking up to your dog barfing up cookies? They are not even the regular, chocolate Oreo cookies, I buy the vanilla ones so there are no black crumbs. I know, I need professional help. That’s my point, most of my childrens’ friends know that a sleepover at my house is not going to be much fun, what with all the cleaning afterward they have to do, taking their shoes off, and a lesson in proper hand washing, every time they come over.
In my opinion, the way Amy Chua is raising her kids is not all too wrong, especially since her own children don’t seem to have any bitterness or anger towards her. When Amy’s oldest daughter was asked if she wishes her childhood was filled with more camping, hanging out with friends, and overall more play time she said no. She appreciates the way her Mother raised her, and would probably do the same with her children. Again, I am not saying that Chua didn’t go a little too far by refusing bathroom breaks for her daughters until they recited the piano perfectly, however most parents could learn a hell of a lot from her. For years I have said that some parents should not be allowed to have kids, and after witnessing first hand how some children have to fend for themselves because the parents are gone for days partying it up, I am sticking with that statement. At least Amy Chua was always there and present for her daughters, which is a lot more than I can say for other parents.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Ms. Chua for speaking honestly and truthfully about the way parents SHOULD raise their children, with rules and guidelines, boundaries and discipline. Her way of parenting might be a little too rough, but the overall message is clear, especially with the lack of parental supervision that children are exposed to these days. Parents need to be parents, not friends to their kids. And most importantly parents need to be present.