Tag Archives: nature

Pendulum Parenting-from “nice” to “Chinese”!

How many parents find a balance in their parenting that works. We seem to go through cycles, fads as it were. We didn’t like the autocratic parenting many of us were brought up with so we reacted and swung the opposite way being nice to our children, giving them all they want at the same time interpreting what they wants as what they need. Hard to get those two straight! We were all about raising our children’s self-esteem and thought we would do that by telling them how wonderful they are at everything they do. Trophies for every kid on the team, praise stickers and prizes for “good” behavior, telling children how special they each are…. Well, that backfired big time, but we hadn’t quite figured out what to do instead when along came Amy Chau with her new memoir, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother. Chau’s book shows us how Chinese mothering raises successful children (or that’s what she wants us to see), which is once again a swing in the far opposite direction. She chastises American parents for being soft and feeling-oriented and shows us how her harsh, autocratic style led to two very successful daughters – altho almost at the risk of losing one of them. By calling her daughter “garbage”, refusing the “lazy” efforts put into home-made birthday cards, threatening them with anything and everything to illicit perfect performances both academically and musically, she claims she boosted their self-esteem and takes full credit for their successes. As children’s failures are a shame on the family, she says that absolutely a child’s behavior is a reflection on mothering. Hmmm. Doesn’t that leave the child’s nature out of the picture. Indeed, her second daughter’s nature is what in the end broke Chau’s uncompromising severity-a little.

read more
Nature/Nurture

I had a really interesting dinner conversation the other night. A friend asked me what ratio I would put on the old nature/nurture argument. Everyone chipped in their opinions, and it led to a very lively discussion. Even though the topic was the content of my masters thesis, I hadn’t thought about how I would rate each side’s importance in a child’s life. I quite quickly said 40%/60% nature to nurture. Even though how a child is born—whether shy or outgoing, aggressive or calm, introverted or extroverted, learning disabled, neurologically, physically or mentally challenged, gay or straight, etc., etc.—has all to do with how a person perceives the world. But how the world perceives him or her has all to do with how confident that person becomes. Someone born with musical talent for instance, will have way more of a struggle in life reaching his potential if his personal world devalues artistic achievement than one with support and encouragement. A child with ADHD will have a far easier time in life if her environment understands her innate tendencies and gives her appropriate structure in which to understand herself. One’s self-confidence is paramount in determining whether or not that person reaches potential. It is for this reason that I weigh in on the side of nurture.

read more