When Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom hit bookshelves in 2011, it raised a furore on the author’s glorification of her parenting choices - her constant scolding, screaming, supervising - the endless piano and violin sessions and the consistent effort not to raise children but prodigies.
So, if your five-year-old throws a tantrum at the dinner-table, what do you do? Scream or give her a time-out? If your teenager misses her curfew, do you curb her television privileges?
Parenting is not easy. You learn as your children grow. But where do you draw the line when it comes to discipline? Or even pushy parenting or responsible parenting?
As a famous quote goes, “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.”
A constant reality self-check is useful at all times… something on the lines of a parental checklist.
Why 1.3M mothers turn to Baby Destination to help them navigate the highs and lows of motherhood
You use a threatening tone at all times
“I am going to ground you for a month,” “I’m going to throw away all your toys,” or “I will beat up if you do this again.”
These are all going to have negative results on your children. While you can be firm with your children, threatening can take you nowhere. All you get is rebellion in return.
You are a rule-maker
Your rules are rigid and strict. You set so many that you can’t enforce them all. Then you get frustrated and take the frustration out on your children. The moot point here is, “Do you follow the rules you enforce upon your children?”
Your love is conditional
As a parent, your love should not be based upon what your child is doing or has done. If it’s conditional, it cannot be love. For example, withdrawing the warmth and love if the child does anything wrong. “You broke the china. You broke mummy’s heart,” or “You failed to get good marks. I am disappointed in you.” As a parent, you must realise that love is and should be consistent and not dependent on your child’s good behaviour or the lack of it.
It’s all about words
May be, calm your tone, and how much ever you pride yourself on being able to be on top of every situation, what you say is also important than the way it is said. Calm voices can say mean things.
You order children about
It’s so easy to order children about and tell them to do this or that. But what’s imperative is to learn to participate in their effort. Good parenting is also all about putting the time in your children’s tasks and being a part of their success.
Your word is the law
You’re always the cop, nag, monitor, or reminder. You don’t trust your children to do anything on their own. You are always on their ‘case’, pushing them to do things, even those they can do without supervision.
Your child has many secrets
If your child seems to talk to you less about things that matter and seem to be keeping things from you, the chances are that he/she is afraid of you, and you might be a strict parent. They are not opening up to you about things because it makes them anxious or uneasy.
You don’t show your emotions
Your behaviour is cold most of the time. Your kids are not rewarded with hugs or kisses. You are authoritarian more than authoritative. Everything is centered around a strict routine. Your parenting routine is almost clinical, with rules and regulations at every step of the way.
Your child is all work and no play
There is so much focus on a rigid routine that your children have absolutely no time to let go and have some fun. Your children are also not keen on having friends over, as they are afraid of your authority.
Your opinion is your children’s opinion
In this age, where being heard is most important than being seen, your children are often mouthpieces of your opinion and your authority.
“I am doing this because Mum says so,” or “Dad doesn’t think it’s a good idea!” means that your children are bound by what you say.
Dwelling on each point will help you understand whether you are a tiger mum or not. If you are, then it’s time for introspection and change!
(Edited by Megha Reddy)
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