(Editor’s note: today’s post is from April Davis, with a very strong opinion about what makes a good parent. Definitely a thought-provoking piece. Thanks April!)
What is Good Parenting?
Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has not just raised eyebrows for its description of an unconventional (at least in the West) and pretty harsh parenting style, it has also evoked criticism from all quarters; a few of the rules that Chua enforced for her two daughters as they were growing up include – no play dates at all, no taking part in school plays, compulsorily learning to play either the piano or the violin, no showing interest in any other instruments because they were all considered “easy to play”, no parties, and being the top student in every subject except gym and drama. Whew! That’s one heck of a tall order for any child, leave alone one that is destined for excellence.
Chua, who is of Chinese origin but an American citizen, is married to a man who is not Chinese, and works as a law professor at Yale. It is quite surprising that someone who works in such an erudite setting would choose to adopt archaic laws for the upbringing of their children, but Chua’s explanation is that she was emphasizing the importance of excellence and that she did not want to emulate the Western style of parenting which encouraged “mediocrity” by accepting it in their children.
Every parent has their own style of parenting, and in general, they all think that they’re doing the best for their child. However, most parents end up living their dreams vicariously through their children, or pushing their desires on them in the belief that they’re looking out for their child’s interests and doing what should be done for their future welfare. In Chua’s case, she says “I just wanted my kids to be the best they could be because I felt like that was my best shot at having them be happy as adults and for the rest of their lives.” What about being happy in the here and now, as children? What about getting to enjoy childhood for what it is rather than for what your parents want it to be?
I for one certainly wouldn’t want to read Ms. Chua’s book because from the little I’ve seen, her style of parenting is more about what she wants for her children than what they want for themselves, and while it may be true that children don’t always know what’s best for them, forcing them to adapt to the lifestyle that you choose for them instead of letting them discover their interests and passions is a form of torture and cruelty that no child should have to endure.
At the end of the day, parenting boils down to the issue of control – just because you have complete control over your child at the beginning (which is necessary for their physical safety and wellbeing), many parents tend to think that they have carte blanche over their kids even after they start to develop their own personality and know their own mind. Good parenting is all about how you choose to enforce the control that you have over your child; it’s all about allowing them to develop their own personality without stifling their natural talents and enforcing your idea of excellence on them; and it’s all about giving them more leeway, a little more rope to go farther ahead and become more independent, and finally being able to let go altogether and accept that they are responsible for their lives.
This guest post is contributed by April Davis, she writes on the topic of Accredited Degrees Online . She welcomes your questions and comments at her email id: april.davis83(@)gmail(.)com.
The Amazon link to Amy Chua’s book is an affiliate link.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to do a quality job.