Usually when we think of the term "Tiger Mom," we think of overbearing mothers who aim to control every aspect of their child's life. We tend to see them as those who actively attempt to ruin their child's sense of self as well as their social life in favor of getting them to become intensely disciplined with stellar academic records. In short, the public view of tiger moms, in North America at least, tends to be less than favorable. And, well, maybe these observations have some truth. But there are very few things in life that are black and white. Though some could easily build a list of the negative effects this type of parenting has on children, someone else could just as easily come up with a list of positive effects.
The truth is, there's a very long list of things both mothers and fathers could learn from tiger moms when it comes to parenting tactics. These traits are probably most useful when amalgamated within our own personal parenting style. After all, we don't want to compromise our own values just because something works for somebody else. But if we look and listen to the styles of others, we may learn something that could make a massive difference in the life of a child. Within every tactic, as harsh as they may seem, is a truth that could change everything for the better.
So, without further ado, here are 20 parenting tactics we can learn from Tiger Moms.
20 The Love Of A Musical Instrument
There are endless articles online that detail how tiger moms are dedicated to forcing their children to play a musical instrument. To be specific, some force their children to play the piano or the violin. There are some exceptions, of course, but these two seem to be the most popular. You seldom see a traditional tiger mom wanting her son or daughter to play the guitar or drums. But that's beside the point...
There have been enough scientific studies done on the benefits of a child learning a musical instrument at a young age. According to Parents.com, learning a musical instrument can improve academic skills, social skills, and even boost self-esteem.
19 Being Blunt
If there's one thing that a tiger mom is not, it's "delicate." Though this is usually seen as a positive trait, it can often be both misleading and inauthentic. After all, we do live in a world where we're faced with fraudulent personalities on a daily basis; one needs to look no further than our Instagram accounts for proof of that.
Say what you will about tiger moms, but they are upfront and honest. Sometimes their emotional brutality can be difficult to deal with, but there's a value in being blunt. Children don't have to read between the lines and therefore are more likely to take the skills that come with this out into the real world. In short, there will be a few more honest individuals out there.
18 The Importance Of Education
When I read about tiger mom Amy Chua in the Telegraph's revealing article about their lifestyle, I was reminded of one of the most famous attributes of tiger moms everywhere; that would be the importance of education.
Though her methods appear to be questionable to some, to say the least, she certainly has instilled the value of "being the absolute best one can" in her children in terms of achieving high grades. Sure, Amy is open about how she feels that anything below an "A" is a failure, but motivating her kids to always strive to be better can be seen as a very valuable lesson.
17 It's Okay To Be Disliked
According to Psychology Today, a reputable website that discusses a wide variety of topics from a psychological angle, many children actually benefit from strict parenting.
In a particular article, Dr. Nancy Darling discusses the pros and cons of tiger mom parenting and states that later in life, children come to terms with the reason why their parents were so strict with them. That reason would be because they cared about them. They cared about where they went in life, who they were, and if they had the skill-sets, and built-up a passion that would carry them through the rest of their lives.
It should be stated that Dr. Darling has some severe issues with many of the tactics used by tiger moms, especially that of the famous tiger mom, Amy Chua. However, she shows us that enough psychological studies have been done to suggest that children benefit from stricter parents.
16 Not Being A Helicopter Parent
Though some could see being a tiger mom as the same thing as being a helicopter mom, according to author Amy Chua, they are very different. Amy Chua is not only a self-appointed tiger mom but also the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
She describes a helicopter mom as someone who doesn't teach their kid to be self-reliant. Someone who hovers over their child constantly protecting them from harm instead of teaching them to take responsibility for their own life.
Though you may disagree with some of the parenting tactics of a tiger mom, as you probably should, there is certainly something of value here when it comes to teaching our children accountability and responsibility.
15 The Complexity Of Anger
As written about in Eleonora Lee's article on Thought Catalog, a lot of tiger moms will get very angry with their cubs. This anger could come out in moments where their child has failed them in some way; whether it's a respect issue or an academic one. The anger could also come out when a child is not fully understanding why they're being so "harsh" with them. Regardless, there is always complexity to anger.
Another typical example of a tiger mom getting angry with her child is when they report to them that they are ill. The mom yells at them because they haven't been taking proper care of themselves and allowed their immune system to weaken. Though there's quite a bit of rigidity to this, it does show that the mom actually cares about her child's well-being.
So, in short, teaching children to understand the deeper layers beyond a loud voice can be highly beneficial when walking out in the real world.
14 Raising A Lion/Lioness
In a LinkedIn article by an immigration attorney and reluctant tiger mom, Sandra Lu Ve, the positive traits of raising your children to be lions and lionesses is discussed. Sandra came to terms with the fact that she had some traits of a tiger mom and was initially very unhappy about it. In fact, she mentions several parenting tactics she wished she hadn't used on her kid. But in the article, she goes through some of the benefits of being one.
As mentioned, the importance of children growing up as fierce lions and lionesses is discussed. Having been a survivor of the Vietnam War and a refugee to America, Sandra wanted a different life for her daughter. She wanted her to have the ability to sit at the head of any table and feel like she could be in charge. She wanted her daughter to be a leader, an independent thinker, and to have large aspirations.
What Sandra came to terms within her article, is that these traits don't come from raising her child like a mouse, they come from raising her like a lioness.
13 Moderation Is Key
In a revealing blog post from alongcamekatrina.com, the author points out that she learned a couple of important things from her own tiger mom. After years of reflection, she learned that her mother was instilling a particular tactic when raising her; that was trying to steer her away from alcohol.
Katrina explains that her mother would throw a fit whenever she mentioned the word "alcohol" or drinking even when she was of legal age. Her mom would always tell her that men don't like women who drink.
Though Katrina was jealous of her friends who could go out or even drink with their parents, she learned that she didn't necessarily need alcohol to have fun. In fact, she learned that she could drink on her own terms.
12 'Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try'
"Only the best is good enough." This seems to be the call of the tiger mom. And it may seem harsh when seeing it from a certain perspective, or if the tiger mom in question is truly heartless and believes that their kid will never be enough unless they are exactly what they expect.
But another way to look at it is if you change the phrase to that of Yoda; "Do or do not, there is no try." Wanting your kids to be the very best they could be and to act and not to stay complacent are not bad traits. Or, as stated in a Globe and Mail article, a good tiger mom believes that their child can be even greater than even the child thinks they can be.
Additionally, as described in an article by The Huffington Post, children naturally want to impress their parents and win their affection and some will do just about anything to get it. That means they'll put in the necessary effort; whether it be on an assignment, a hobby, or a passion. However, this is precisely where things could get a bit tricky and the negative traits of the tiger mom could come out in full-force.
11 The Balance Of Superiority And Insecurity
As talked about in both Amy Chua's parenting book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom and her interview with The Guardian, there's a benefit to instilling both a sense of superiority and a sense of insecurity in a child. Though it sounds contradicting at least, or absurd at most, the balance between these two forces could very well create a person who really strives to be their very best.
In a sense, the two balance each other out. The superiority tells a person that they can and will do anything they put their mind to. It tells them that they're capable of anything. But the insecurity creates a certain set of stakes should they fail. It keeps them going. It's essentially the gasoline for the Mercedes.
Even if you think this attitude is just way too much, there is certainly a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.
10 It Takes Time To Get Good
It's pretty easy to want to tear your hair out when reading about famous tiger mom, Amy Chua, but there are certainly good lessons to be learned when reading between the lines. Or, perhaps, toning down some of her self-diagnosed attitudes.
One of the important lessons she instills in her children is that it takes time to get good at something. In fact, it takes hours and hours of dedicated practice. This is something that has incredible science behind it as well as it detailed in Daniel Coyle's incredible book, The Talent Code.
By forcing her kids to practice violin for three hours a day, Amy is teaching them to get really, really good at something by putting in the necessary hours. (Yes, this is the Malcolm Gladwell rule.)
9 Quitting Is NOT An Option
One of the other major messages that Tiger Mom Amy Chua tries to get across to people in an article by The Telegraph is that she doesn't want her children to be "quitters." She knows as well as we all do that kids have a habit of wanting to quit things they've just started as soon as something doesn't go their way. After all, it's really their first experience with disappointment outside of the family or their very small circle of friends.
We all know someone in their 20's or 30's who still has no real passion. They haven't found anything they really care about doing. That's because they've been allowed to quit time and time again.
Now, there's nothing wrong with quitting something we've tried and either consistently harms us or is something we're really not interested in. But to do it consistently is a sheer way to aimless searching. After all, what passion in life is constantly full of successes and a lack of disappointment?
8 Recognizing The Self-Deficiencies And Addressing Them
As detailed in an article written for CNN by a child of a former tiger mom, one of the benefits of this style of parenting is their ability to instill a sense of self-awareness in a child. Though there could be an argument that opposes this particular point, especially when it comes to raising of their consciousness beyond that of being an emotionally stunted robot, the writer claims that her tiger mom taught her to recognize her own self-deficiencies and gave her the tools to address them.
When Grace Lui, the writer for CNN, saw she wasn't doing well at a certain subject, she was able to self-determine exactly where her weaknesses were and focus on correcting them.
Again, this attitude can truly be beneficial when it comes to mastering certain academic, athletic, or technical skills, they do lack a certain authenticity.
7 Actions Are Louder Than Words
One of the common complaints when it comes to tiger moms is their apparent inability to verbally express their love. CNN writer Grace Lui even mentions this fact in her article on Tiger Parenting. It's uncommon for a die-hard Tiger Mom to tell their kids that she "loves" them. But what's expressed by Grace is that she constantly showed that she loved them. And, as they say, actions speak louder than words.
Though it's pretty important for kids to verbally hear that their parents love them, it's equally as important, if not more, that they learn that their actions will go further than their words. By seeing their parents acting this lesson out on a daily basis, they may absorb it more efficiently.
6 Keeping The Den Clean
Much like actual tiger moms, human tiger moms provide a clean and organize home for their cubs and expect the same in return. They want their children to know that there is a great benefit in respecting their space. It teaches them the appreciation for what they have, something that some others certainly don't. After all, according to The U.S. National Library of Medicine, most tiger moms either are low-income immigrants to North America or grew up as children of parents who had those same struggles.
Additionally, there has been a lot of scientific research done on the benefits of cleanliness and keeping things organized. It's even suggested that those who keep a clean home are generally healthier than those who don't.
5 The Importance Of Family
One of the things discussed in The U.S. National Library of Medicine research paper Understanding 'Tiger Parenting' Through the Perceptions of Chinese Immigrant Mothers: Can Chinese and U.S. Parenting Coexist?, is that most tiger moms instill the value of family in their cubs. This makes sense since most Tiger Moms are open about the fact that they don't want their kids having that much of a social life (if any) with individuals outside of the family. Most of their kids' time is spent on the academic and mastering a musical instrument. What social time they have is usually spent on family activities.
Though it's obvious where many social and emotional issues can arise, there is a benefit of instilling the value of family in kids. The unconditional love between a parent and child is unlike any other connection on earth. And in many cases, our family can be a lot more reliable than others... Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.
4 Eating Healthy
In a revealing blog post from alongcamekatrina.com, the author points out that she learned a couple of important things from her own tiger mom. When she was younger, she was horrified by the way her mother would judge her for what she ate. When she grew up, she learned to appreciate the message under the less-than-kind delivery. After all, her family did have a history of diabetes and her mom was just worried about her health.
Unfortunately, due to her mother's delivery, she didn't listen to the advice and claims that her Freshman 15 hit her hard. As she got older, she became more receptive to her mother's advice and engaged in a more healthy lifestyle.
There is almost certainly a tactic here in regards to encouraging children to eat healthy both for health and confidence reasons. But how you choose to verbalize it is another thing entirely.
3 A Love Of Great Literacy
As spoken about in an article on tiger moms in The Telegraph, one of the lessons these strict parents instill in their children is a love of great literacy. Now, some people may not think that this a particularly important tactic when it comes to raising a great kid. After all, we all know someone who decides to read Fyodor Dostoevsky in the car while driving across the country instead of listening to some tunes or The Howard Stern Show on repeat. In other words, we all know someone we consider to be a little bit pretentious.
But having your kids build an interest in classic literature can influence their ability to think critically, gain insight into art and humanity, and perhaps avoid the pitfalls of some of the less-than-brilliant popular teen fiction when they come to that age.
2 Not Looking Like A Slob
In a revealing blog post from alongcamekatrina.com, the author points out that she learned a couple of important things from her own tiger mom. When she was young, Katrina was constantly annoyed by the fact that her mother would pick fights with her over what she chose to wore. She would constantly judge her for these choices.
What Katrina came to realize when she was older is that her mother didn't want her to "look cheap" and always wanted her to "look presentable." At least her perspective.
Being the daughter of an immigrant, Katrina realized that this perspective came from a lifetime of poverty. Katrina's mother was trying to make her daughter appreciate the financial advantage they now had after immigrating to the United States. After all, many of their own relatives wouldn't be able to have the same opportunity to dress well.
1 More Than The Quantifiable Achievements
As described in a Huffington Post article, one of the negative things about being a tiger mom has to do with the fact that they only seem to care about the quantifiable achievements. These were things like technical skill and proficiency when playing a musical instrument, or, most typically, academic excellence. But this is not only completely disregarding the essences that make us individuals. This parenting tactic lacks art, integrity, and exploration...
But what if we were to take some of the tactics used in helping our child become excellent in school and used them for things like raising their consciousness through things like meditation, athletics, or activism, or being more in-tuned with how they feel, what they like and dislike, and the type of man or woman they want to be when they grow up? Here is where we can find some incredible benefits to being a tiger mom.
References: psychologytoday.com, apadivisions.org, stanford.edu, parents.com, kqed.org, neurosciencenews.com, telegraph.co.uk, linkedin.com, theglobeandmail.com, thoughtcatalog.com, alongcamekatrina.com, huffingtonpost.com, theguardian.com, amazon.com, cnbc.com, forbes.com, cnn.com, psychologytoday.com, ncbi.hlm.nih.gov, awely-tigers.org