14 July 2012

Tiger Mother, Moi?!

I have never considered myself as a tiger mother but some recent events have made me think twice.

Take the semester reports for my two sons for example: Elliot (8, grade 3), got 1 A, 6 Bs and 6 Cs on his report; and Jason (14 soon to be 15, grade 9), got 15 As, 2 Bs and 3 Cs. According to the A-E Scale set by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in Victoria, "C" means your child's grade is at the expected standard of the relevant stage, "B" means the grade is above the state-wide standard, whilst "A" means the grade is significantly above the state-wide standard.

Not too bad, one might say. But I know my children are capable of achieving better, especially some of Jason's teachers have commented that his efforts "need more attention". Naturally I set a target for both of them to achieve better in the next report, and told the teenager in no uncertain terms that I don't want to see any more Cs. My husband, of Anglo-Saxon heritage, was the first to accuse me of being a tiger mother, he thinks the boys are doing fine and that I should be proud. I am proud but I just knew they could do better!

Then I spoke to my mother yesterday and duly reported what's been happening with her grandsons. She too, told me not to be "too harsh" on the boys, and that "C" is not too bad after all. I could not believe what I was hearing, my mother, who used to tell me off when I got 98 instead of 100, told me not to be "too harsh"! I wasn't being harsh, was I? I merely set a higher goal so that the boys can make improvements, which in my mind is perfectly achievable by their abilities.

I need time to process this, I have always prided myself for breaking that Chinese parenting mould and allowing my children to be children. But now I have been branded as a Tiger Mother! But am I wrong in lifting the bar and setting higher standards? Should I be content with what they've got? In less than three years time the older one will be sitting exams for university entrance, should I not help him maintain focus? or should I let things be so everyone's happy? Am I really a Tiger Mother?


  1. Have you read the book? Based on what you're doing, I say nope you're not a tiger mother. It sounds like you care about your kids and want them to do their best. I believe as a society (at least here in the US) we're raising lazy, average children because we are satisfied with "good enough" (and because we want to be friends with our kids - but that's a whole different story!!). The author Amy Chau, she scared the ___ out of me! and I think she was extreme in her methods. But I do think we need to raise the bar and push our kids more if we want them to be ambitious, successful adults. Sorry for the long winded comment, sometimes I can't help myself (maybe if I'd had more discipline!)

  2. No I did read the book but I did read about the author, yes she does seem rather extreme! At least I didn't force my children to learn instruments (I did suggest mind you, but neither was interested). Thank you for agreeing with me for raising the bar, I just want them to do their best and be the best they can be. Btw, I don't mind long comments at all :)