Jul 10, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

I want to read Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I haven't been up to date when it comes to new releases. I only go to bookstores when my kids need school or art supplies or books for them. I don't read books nowadays because my hands are too full of mommy, office, and household works. I only learned about it after reading my Reader's Digest magazine. I'm glad I read the RD's interview and not the Wall Street Journal piece. I probably would not have wanted to read the whole book had I read that one instead.

But tomorrow I will make sure I have time to drop by at the bookstore to buy this one. Why? It's a book that (based on the interview) finally tells me it's fine to expect nothing less than the best from my kids and to work hard with them, sit with them every possible day to achieve that. I have a friend, she says - her kids have to be achievers - for she herself is an achiever, and why not? She works hard to teach them at home with their lessons. I too believe in that style - well partly because my mother also did.
In these current times of teenage violence, early pregnancies, etc., I believe that there are many opportunities to rethink our ways when it comes to instilling discipline to our children. It's common to hear old people nowadays saying that times are now different, parents get penalized for being too strict, and children in this generation do not behave appropriately anymore. Perhaps the old stricter way of doing things needs to be looked at in a different perspective. In the book, Amy Chua stresses about "balance", how important it is. And this is the main attraction this book brings to its readers.

But I have more other reasons to read the book. I want to read Amy Chua's controversial list. Also and more importantly, how she deals with her two daughters, whose personalities are quite poles apart. I am almost exactly in the same situation she is. I have two sons, the elder one having an easy-to- handle persona, and a younger one that gets into my nerve almost all the time - which requires me and my husband to have two different styles of parenting. I too agree with her that when the kids are younger, parents should give them limited choices for they are too young to make good judgment, and so with the proper foundation at the early ages - parents can give more room, more choices when they get older and become smarter. As for me, I only let the kids play or watch TV during weekends after they've done all their homework and have reviewed their lessons. No TVs on weekdays. Through this way, they learn (or so I hope) to do "First things first." Not that I myself religiously follow this rule, but I do want them to learn that responsibility comes first before fun. I can also relate very much with the book on to let or not let the kids do dangerous sport activities. As much as we do want our kids to explore, we want them first to be safe.

Again, there may be many other parenting approaches on how to put balance into this, Amy Chua's is a true test that there is no perfect way of bringing up the kids. How she managed to go through all the hurdles is something I'm really looking forward to know. After reading the book, I look forward to coming up with my very own list - we'll see if it becomes controversial (wink!).

The Controversial List
1. Attend a sleepover
2. Have a playdate
3. Be in a school play
4. Complain about not being in a school play
5. Watch TV or play computer games
6. Choose their own extracurricular activities
7. Get any grade less than an A
8. Not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
9. Play any instrument other than piano or violin
10. Not play the piano or violin

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  1. This books keeps popping up on my radar. Perhaps I will read it, too. I struggle with how to raise my three children; each with a different set of issues. Like you, one of mine challenges me a lot. :) My goal is to raise them to achieve as much as possible from the education they're getting in order to obtain employment that will allow them to take care of themselves. However, I want to them to work in jobs that are fulfulling so that they won't hate going to work. Should they be allowed to explore while they are young in order to figure out their passions; or should we force them all to be doctors, lawyers, and academics? :)

    (I'm a little tired, so I hope that made sense.)

    Be sure to blog about the book and your opinion if you read it.

  2. Thanks Anita. You're right, we share the same goals - I think they're fundamental, if I may say. But parenting, in these times, is becoming more challenging. And so we parents tend to experiment also, which approach is necessary for this and what for that. Our aim is the same- to have kids that are happy, educated, and independent (and God knows how many adjectives there are which we like to hope for our kids). I'll definitely share my thoughts on the book. Take care!