Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tiger Mom Vs. Blossom
There have been several moms making headlines lately, and as I am full of opinions, I'm going to lay them out. First, I'm sure you've heard about the "Tiger Mom," or as I like to call her "The Self-Righteous Chinese Lady." Amy Chua wrote a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which lays out several parenting philosophies that she subscribes to. Some of her household rules are as follows:
-Any grade lower than an A (including an A-)is unacceptable.
-Children must be performing at least 2 grade levels above in math.
-Children should never be praised in public.
She reminisces several lovely memories of raising her children. One of my personal favorites is when her daughter made her a birthday card and she replied "I reject this" on the grounds that the card was not good enough. Doesn't that make your eyes well up with tears just thinking about it?
My opinion? I'm really not sure what makes this chick think she's authorized to write a book about parenting. I mean, who is she other than some completely self-righteous Chinese American? Does she honestly think that anyone would read her book and think, "hmm, it sounds like this lady is a great mom! I would love for my children to base their entire self worth on their grades and secretly resent me, too!" And although Chua makes the valid point that the Chinese are smarter and we Americans owe them, like eleventy billion dollars, I would make the equally valid point that the Chinese have a pretty high suicide rate. Besides never ever wanting to read her book, I also never want to be her playdate friend. And that sucks for her because my kid finally stopped eating crayons. I think.
Anyway, on the other end of the spectrum, Mayim Bialik (aka Blossom)has been all around online lately preaching her attachment parenting propaganda. I guess I don't have anything against attachment parenting per say. I do some attachy type things (breastfeed mostly, cloth diaper, and wear the baby sometimes). What kind of gets to me is people who proclaim themselves to attachment parent-ers and wear it like a badge of honor, like high school football players who wear their letterman jackets all the time. But back to Blossom. In this article, while extolling the virtues of elimination communication, bed sharing, and baby wearing, she throws this out there:
We practice gentle discipline. That means we don’t hit our children or punish them. We have a lot of boundaries and expectations of our children, and we are by no means permissive parents. We do not use timeouts, we do not bargain (“If you clean your room, I’ll give you a cookie”) and we do not force manners on our children (“Say thank you!” and “Say please!” have never escaped my lips). Our children are not perfect, nor are they robots. They are both even-tempered children by nature, but they have plenty of opportunity to “act out” and “flip out” and “make mama wonder why she ever thought she was qualified to be a parent.” We have had great success with gentle discipline and our children are, by all accounts, full of empathy, aware of boundaries, and pleasant to take to public places.
Ok, well that's all well and good. But what do you do? Like, say, just off the top my head here, your kid eats Play Doh. No punishment, no timeouts, no forced apologies...leaves what exactly? I think that's what bugs me about Ol' Blossom. Say vague, politically correct statements about parenting that make no actual sense and no one questions it because you're a celebrity.
I am a bit irritated by all the so-called parenting experts and the clueless moms who blindly follow them. Not that I blame the moms. I did everything in Happiest Baby on The Block because I was just so clueless and wanted someone who knew what they were doing to tell me what to do!I think for this baby, I'll try to remember that every kid is different, and even the experts really don't have a clue.