Of all the parenting modes our society has defined so far, my favorite is the Tiger Mom.
I remember reading Amy Chua’s book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother long before I had kids of my own and loving every bit of it; She stirred up a lot of controversy with it but I could completely relate to that style of parenting. While it originated from the Chinese, it is typically used to refer to a style that uses a mix of strict rules, tough love and discipline to raise successful children. Growing up in Nigeria, I had Tiger people everywhere; my mom, aunts, teachers, and random observers offering their opinion while I was being reprimanded for something. The entire society takes the quote “it takes a village to raise a child” quite literarily.
Some of the other popular parenting styles you may know of are free range parenting, elephant parenting, authoritarian parenting and helicopter parenting. Most conversations tend to focus on critiquing the different parenting styles and promoting one over the other. It can be both confusing and exhausting. I am learning that it is more productive to consider all these modes important tools in my parenting toolbox with the objective of figuring out when and how best to use each one.
Research has shown that the extremes of any of these parenting modes have detrimental effects on the child. A child whose mom is always in Tiger mode, might end up becoming alienated from that parent. On the other hand, a child who only gets the helicopter treatment, might end of growing up dependent and unleashed.
However, when each these modes are employed appropriately, you can create a healthy equilibrium that really allows your child to thrive.
So while you need to put important rules in place, reconsider guarding everything by a rule; learning is very important and we should consistently push our kids to go further but know when its time to lay off and let them relax; give your child trust to form and maintain relationships but make sure you are vigilant about who and what the nature of those relationships are. The scenarios go on and on.
In the end, the goal is balance. It doesn’t have to be a perfect science but the more you inform yourself and practice, the more natural it will feel to be exactly the kind of mom your daughter needs when she needs it.
What parenting mode is your most dominant one?