Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Parents.com has named the 7 parenting news stories that were the most discussed, debated, and controversial this past year. Written by your very own intrepid parenting news blogger (ie me!), the feature details the main thrust of each story, why it was controversial, and how it affected your lives as parents and families.
Click to read the entire feature, The 7 Parenting Controversies that Changed the Way We Raised Our Kids in 2011. To get you started, below is the most controversial story, the “Tiger Mom” debate that erupted early this year and is still on the minds of many parents:
“Tiger Mother” Calls Parental Expectations into Question
What happened: Amy Chua, mother of two and author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” started a debate about how much pressure parents should put on their children to succeed. Her book, which was excerpted in January in the Wall Street Journal, attempt to explain why Chinese children are stereotypically such high achievers in math, music, and more. Chua’s description of strict discipline and unyielding standards sparked fierce debate over whether American parenting culture is too permissive. “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it,” Chua wrote, “To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.”
Why it’s controversial: The debate was fierce in the media and in moms’ groups across the country. Some said Chua was a “mean mom” whose sky-high expectations were unhealthy and damaging to her children, who could never hope to please her. Others countered that Chua’s technique was a refreshing change of pace from the self-esteem-first, “everybody’s a winner” paradigm of modern American parenting.
How it impacted your life: The “Tiger Mother” discussions — in the media and at playgrounds alike — opened the door to self-reflection over where your parenting style falls on the “Tiger” spectrum. For some of you, Chua’s argument was permission to be “harder” on your kids without feeling like you’re scarring them for life. For others, Chua’s perspective only increased your commitment to giving your kids a broad definition of “success.”
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