Tiger Mothers, Unite!

Tiger Mothers, Helicopter Dads, French Parenting, Free-Rangers… We’ve managed to create some fancy labels for styles of parenting.

As soon as the kids hit the front door in the afternoon, I start working on the checklist. Heathy afternoon snack? Check. Homework? Check. Outside playtime? Check. Chores? Check. Practice? Um….


the cub of the Tiger Mother

Sometimes motivating the kids to practice is harder than asking them clean up their rooms or (gasp!) take a shower. They are in third and fourth grade now, and while I’m sure list of to-dos and the things we struggle over will change as they get older, practicing is never going away.

In our house, practicing is not negotiable.

I share many of the same ideas about raising musical kids as Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Her book sparked much debate among parents about “Chinese-style” parenting. The term Tiger Mother become shorthand for parents who push their children to high levels of performance in music (or dance or sports). In some circles, the term is derogative, implying criticism for a heavy-handed approach that disregards what the child wants. But I want to reclaim the term. I think that it implies conscious parenting, a style that nurtures confident children who understand that hard work creates success.

The parent guilt can be overwhelming so when I come across articles that reaffirm our family’s commitment to music, I eat them up like candy. Here’s one from PBS that explains some of the benefits of music education.


As parents we try to help our kids build strong bodies and strong minds. I’d like to argue that practicing a musical instrument is just as important as eating vegetables and exercising.

Exercise, good food, and practicing a musical instrument= the perfect trifecta for smart, healthy kids.

Carry on without guilt, fellow Tigers.

(If you haven’t read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, run out and get it today. This books has sparked much debate, but struck a deep chord [pun intended] with me. More on this in blog post Battle Hymn Book Review.)