The term “tiger mother” (tiger moms) came into existence through Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2011 which was written by professor of Yale Law School, Amy Chua. The definition of tiger parenting is a parenting style that uses harsh methods like shame and fear but also values family closeness and bonding. She has focused mainly on Chinese people in her memoir but it is known to be common in mainly East Asia, South Asia and among Asian Americans. Chua’s claim is her daughters have become successful because of the overly controlling method of parenting i.e. tiger parenting.
About Tiger Parenting
Contrary to the popular belief, tiger mom parenting style is not an authoritarian style of parenting. It involves both a high level of negative parenting like strict rules and high level of positive parenting like warmth and support. Tiger parents expect that children follow a strict schedule of intensive studying and extra-curricular activities, take an occupation mainly which is high earning and in-demand such as medicine and law, then measure their children’s success by these achievements. But children are highly supported in this style of parenting. Example – parents sit with their children and help them in their homework, ensuring that they are understanding the concepts. The parents encourage by saying even if they don’t understand right now, they will eventually learn with practice. They try to inculcate in them that they have the ability to achieve anything. One study showed that one factor which was missing in all the parenting styles except this one was shaming. Supportive parents demonstrated higher levels of shaming than lenient parents, proposing that a moderate degree of shaming might be an important component of being a supportive and successful parent among Asian Americans.
Different Families, Different Needs
Various studies and evidence show that tiger parenting might be effective for Asians and Asian Americans but not Americans. In one study, students were asked to think about their mother first and then solve the problem given. Asian Americans were highly motivated as a result, but in contrast Americans with European background showed lower levels of motivation as compared to thinking about themselves. But children of tiger parents show a paradoxical pattern of higher stress combined with higher achievement. But in cases of Asians also, for some children this style won’t be suitable. If a child consistently scores average even after working hard, it would be difficult for them to function with this strict parenting style.
Positive Effects of Tiger Parenting
Importance of education
They are focused on their child’s education and expect them to score high grades. In this way, the values inculcated in children are to make education your top priority and give your best in scoring high. Motivating your kids to always strive to be better can be a very valuable lesson.
Practice makes a man perfect
It takes time to get good at something. In fact, it requires hours and hours of dedicated practice. Therefore, parents forcing their kid to focus and practice one thing can prove to be useful, because sometimes children need that push.
Quitting is not an option
Children have a habit of quitting things that they aren’t able to learn or understand easily. It is okay to quit when we have tried something and it doesn’t seem to benefit us or might harm us. But to consistently quit things shows the aimlessness of the child. Therefore, parents not giving an option to quit might be beneficial for them in future.
Importance of family
Tiger parents instill the value of family in their kids. They don’t seem to care about the social life and focus on their kid’s time being spent on academics and one extra -curricular activity, most likely learning a musical instrument. Family is the most reliable people you have in your life. Therefore, their social time goes into the family activities.
Actions speak louder than words
Tiger parents don’t express their love verbally. But they show this from their actions. Children might observe that their parents focus on them being successful and work for it every day. Actions go much further than words. Seeing this every day, they may absorb it more efficiently.
Cleanliness & Organization
Tiger parents clean and organize their home and expect the same from their children. They want to convey that there is a great benefit in respecting space. If you organize the space where you live, it is believed it will help you in clarity and organization in your thoughts as well.
Raising a lion/lioness
Tiger parents help their kids in developing into a person who could take a charge, be a leader, an independent thinker and have large aspirations.
Negative Effects of Tiger Parenting
A child out of fear, may start to keep secrets from the parents. Opening up might make them uneasy because of the strictness.
The child may not have an opinion of themselves. They might accept parents’ opinion as their opinion. “I’m doing this because my mom said so” or “My dad doesn’t think it’s a good idea” shows that the child is bound by what the parents say without thinking about anything themselves.
All work and no play
There is so much focus on the rigid routine that the children don’t have time or don’t have the permission to have fun. This makes them dull in life and some enjoyment is needed to stay happy.
No display of emotions
Since the parents have never been expressive, the same passes on to the children. They will find it difficult to express any emotion and would suppress them inside which is not good for mental health.
No social skills
Since the focus is only on the academics, children mostly aren’t allowed to have fun with friends. Therefore, later in life they might feel awkward to even strike up a conversation with someone. Even for a job, employers look for an all-rounder, i.e. high grades as well as possessing soft skills.
Affected mental health
The strictness can lead to anxiety and fear in the child which can last for a long time. Scolding all the time and not praising can lead to low self-esteem. In some cases, children can have mental disorders as well.
In a high stress environment, pressure is unsustainable and the children can rebel later in life, giving up the healthy goals, even after being independent. They might pass the same behavior to their children as well in the future.
Therefore, Tiger Parenting style has pros as well as cons. You have to explore whether it will be suitable to apply in your home and what traits you adopt and what you avoid!