I read about the Tiger Mom and her extreme parenting tactics with raising her daughters. I looked at some of the rules she imparted and can’t say I would do those exact things (no play dates?).
I do agree with her general philosophy. Most kids dabble in various extra-curricular activities and often give up at the first sign of difficulty. What I liked about the Tiger Mom’s philosophy is that usually, a challenge only becomes fun when you’ve become good at it. And how do you get good? By putting in the work. So let’s say a kid tries playing the piano. The first few attempts are fun and simple enough. Then that kid gets into the more difficult parts. It’s easy for kids to just give up and say it’s too hard, I’m just a kid, I can’t do it, etc. If LO did that, I wouldn’t let him quit right away. I would encourage him to keep trying, and to actually enjoy the effort more than the final product. I would only let him quit if there is absolutely no way he can do it.
After all, what message would he receive if he thinks his own parents don’t think he can do it? As an adult, he’ll face many people who may not believe in him, and I’d like to him to know that growing up, his parents believed he can be really, really good at things.
We will have high expectations of him, only because we believe he can meet those expectations. I absolutely think that LO can grow up into an amazing person who will contribute vastly to his community and to the world. I see him as someone who will do well in school and love learning and knowledge. I also see him as someone who can keep trying and trying and enjoy the whole process.
I sort of do that with him now. For instance, he can piece his Lego’s together, something that he figured out on his own. But sometimes he’ll hold the pieces wrong and they don’t snap together. He just dropped them and move on. At this point, I don’t let him get away that easily. I pick up the pieces, hand it back to him, and ask him to try it again, letting him know that I’ve seen him do it before and know that he can do it again. As he’s struggling to piece them together, I encourage him to try something new, or to move his thumb, or to make sure that this circle fits into that circle, until he eventually gets it. Which he always does, and he looks up with a big, proud, confident smile.
I don’t even know if he understands what I’m saying to him, but at least it gets me into the habit of providing encouragement and setting standards high. If anything, I don’t accept laziness or complacence. The opposite, in fact: effort and the humility to always keep learning and trying.