Tuesday, 8 February 2011

I often have the tele on at breakfast time - just to catch up on the news and weather.

Today they had the self-styled Tiger Mum on the programme. She was talking about her own childhood and how that translated into her style of parenting. her parents were Chinese nationals but they emigrated and she grew up in the USA.

It was fascinating to hear about her own childhood and how that translated into her own style of parenting. Having had the privilege of hosting a large number of foreign language students in our home when our children were growing up it reminded me of the discussions we had about parenting styles in different cultures. We had a number from the Far East; Taiwan, Japan and Korea were but three, though the majority were Taiwanese.

The image Tiger Mum portrayed reminded me very much of the stories we heard. Many of the students were in their early twenties, some in their very late teens. Yes, for the most part their parents were affluent - or they wouldn't have been able to stay in the UK for the few months that they did. Though that was not always the case.

However, most of them had experienced or were still experiencing tremendous pressure to achieve. Some coped with it better than others.

Personally, I believe children need the security of well defined boundaries in order to grow and develop. Freedom doesn't permit that because they never learn when they've gone too far/over stepped the mark. The norms of our cultural and what is acceptable or not have to be taught. But I would never push a child academically or musically or in some sort of sporting pursuit. I would - and did - spend hours and hours and hours driving my children to and fro from all sorts of activities but they were in the driving seat. I aided them with homework when they asked but I did expect them to be top of the class all the time.

Both of them have achieved great things against their own measure but more importantly both are happy, self-confident and balanced...

Now that's how I measure success...

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