Questions the Tiger Mom Raised

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Ok, my copy of The Tiger Mom just arrived and I must admit that I am totally curious to read it. I made a joke during my book press tour, without passing judgment on her choices, that Tiger Mom wouldn’t last a minute in my home! Most moms are trying to do what they feel is best

for their children, and who are we really to judge one another. I am always interested in different styles of child rearing that work for different families. I know that many of my choices work for one of my children and fail for the others. I am constantly tweaking my ways and learning better methods of communicating and disciplining my children. My reward methods also vary from child to child. I am always looking for new ways to get what I need out of my children, and more importantly ways to make them feel good and confident in the process.

Some questions to ask ourselves are, why do we do what we do for our children and are we raising them to be who we want or who they are supposed to be? Are we exposing them to enough? Are we giving them the right tools? Are we encouraging them to think creatively and effectively? How much is enough and how much is too much? I often wonder if my children are in the right schools? How would I really know, especially when each of them responds to and struggles with different issues in the system?

Homework is a major challenge in my home. Many of my mommy friends complain about the heavy load all of our children have. One of my girls handles all of her responsibilities with ease and one of my other daughters struggles on a daily basis. I read an article about the “Race to Nowhere” documentary expressing that the hours spent slaving over homework were not effective. Here’s how I see it. Homework is part of school and life for my kids for the next 10 plus years. It’s an opportunity to develop responsibilities and also feel a sense of accomplishment. I think children develop an important skill when they become accountable for the quality of work and the effort they put into it. Sure on some days it’s overwhelming. But to use the word “slaving” is probably not an effective point of view. And btw as parents, we need to trust a teacher’s judgment on what is appropriate. Then we need to take cues from our children as to how they are handling it.

Checking in often has been really helpful for my kids and me. Questions like: How’s school? Anything we need to discuss? What are you working on? What are your favorite subjects? What are your least favorites? This dialogue opens the door for my kids to vent and hopefully share anything they may be struggling with. I know many parents that skip the frustrating process of doing homework, and do the work for their kids. Some parents are not involved at all. I think if my child is struggling, her teacher should know. I do NOT give answers, but I do encourage different ways of thinking to get the right results. I do homework with one of my girls, and the other needs none of my attention at all. During moments when my kids are struggling, I have them walk away and come back to those problems with a fresh state of mind.

I do not insist on perfection, but I do ask my children to do their BEST work. I know that life situations, personal issues, fatigue, and emotional states affect many things and a child’s ability to learn. Thankfully our teachers are on the same page. I am totally OK taking a “homework pass” on unique days when I know my child cannot put it together. That’s not an excuse by the way, that’s me listening to life and knowing that homework is NOT the most important thing in the world. But, it is a priority in my house. A “homework kit” has helped a lot with my girl’s attention span and ability to complete different tasks.

The idea for the “Homework Kit” came from one of Sierra’s teachers last year, and it’s great. I put together any and all possible tools needed for homework and school projects; pencils, markers, glue, tape, scissors, erasers, rulers, colored pencils, etc. Everything stays in this box; both girls have their own. My kids get the box out when it’s homework time. Trust me- this saves A LOT of stalling.

No one likes homework, but that’s life. I don’t like getting up early to drive to school either, but I do it!

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