Did you see the recent piece in Time magazine, regarding Tiger Mom and her children.  It seems that Yale law professor Amy Chua has written a book that has glamorized the art of tough love when it comes to raising kids.  She doesn’t advocate things like boot camp or corporal punishment, but she does push the envelope when it comes to raising a kid in a balanced, healthy manner.

In her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua, in essence, tells the story of how she raised her children under a very strict environment.  Nothing less than A’s in school.  No sports.  No sleepovers.  Nothing less than perfection when it comes to producing life’s little plays.

But is this really the most beneficial way to raise a child in this day and age?  Kids are not robots.  They need to grow up in life with the ability to work out problems on their own.  If the parenting becomes too strict and too controlling, the child never learns to fall on his or her face, and get back up.  He or she waits for mommy’s hand and voice to let them know when to get back on their feet, and how.

One Chinese mother recently told me that what this kind of upbringing does is create very smart workers, who can get good paying jobs, as long as there is someone there to tell them what to do.  This kind of upbringing raises great followers – employees – but no leaders.  This is not the path to managing skills, she said.

And she might be right.  Children, above all, need balance in their lives.  Sports for instance, might provide important skills, not otherwise achievable in the classroom or at home.  It provides an opportunity to work with others, in a tight knit manner, applying “team concept.”  Every family needs these types of skills.  Sports is also a great way to develop leadership abilities.

Kids also need to spend time with other kids, outside of school and class.  This is great for building socialization and communication skills.  Kids learn to respect and appreciate differences in other households.  Tiger Mom’s kids never had this chance.  And in the long run, this lack of social balance could create problems for them in their adult lives.

Advertisements