Healthy Parenting

There’s a buzz over Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. What is it with American people that we often tend to look at new ideas or other people’s experiences as something that threatens us or our values?

How many people are feeling guilty because they didn’t expect great performances from their children? Every age has its own pattern on the pendulum swinging through time. In the 30s, there was a big push to feed babies at set times (not necessarily when they were hungry). Emphasis was on doing everything on schedule, in line with the Industrial Revolution. Careers were locked in early on.

Then Dr. Spock came along and softened all the rules, yet many looked to him as the rule setter (a role he never wanted), and looked up their every problem in Baby and Child Care to see what Dr. Spock would do.

Then came the hippie generation and the “Do what you love; the money will follow” mantra. Parents were encouraged to let their kids follow their dreams.

Amy Chua’s journey has people asking themselves: “What have I done? What should I do?” Self imposed guilt and anger are squirting out of people who feel threatened by even having to question at all.

I wonder when we’ll get the point that we each have to figure out what the best route is to take as a parent, given our own peculiar situations, and our unique children. The bottom line seems to be to love and respect our children, do our best to stay attuned to them, keep an open mind to new possibilities as parents, figure out approaches that work for our particular family constellations, and stop blocking progress by getting angry or blaming others for our problems or lack of whatever we call success. We just may end up enjoying our most successful parenting year ever!


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