MMS News February, 2011




Monday 2/7: In-House Trip: Lauren Hooker, “The Fire Children.” At 10:30am in the Westclass for: PM, West, South and North. This is a one hour show.

Thursday 2/17: Staff Meeting: All 1:30 children are picked up at 12:25. Everyone else’s schedule remains the same.

Monday 2/21: School Closed: Due to President’s day.

Tiger Mom vs. Western Parenting

I am always suspicious when multi-faceted issues are boiled down to two opposing points of view. It nearly always oversimplifies the heart of a discussion. Unfortunately, the current discussion not only oversimplifies the issues at hand, but loses the life lesson that is at the crux of this argument. The crux being: raising a successful, actualized human being. To define the current argument, Tiger Mom, and I paraphrase, says that high standards must be set and failure is not acceptable. She argues that what she defines as “Western Parenting” style is too permissive and raises children who cannot succeed in a global society. The argument that many make in response is that Western parenting, inaccepting and praising children, also seeks to protect children from failure, thereby giving them positive self-esteem. One can argue that in effect, “Western Parents,” have removed challenges and expectations from children’s lives. Do we remove challenges, thinking that failing to succeed dents developing self esteem (and that dent cannot be undone)?

In case you have not read any articles about Tiger Mom’s parenting memoir, I will provide you with a brief explanation. Chua, the author of a parenting memoir of raising her two daughters, elucidates on how she parented with the same high achievement standards that her parents placed upon her as a child. Coupled with these standards, she accepted little short of prodigy level performance. She feels that the validity of this parenting style is demonstrated by the achievements of her and herchildren.

The other side of this coin is what has been called, “The Western Parenting “ style. This, as typically described, is where children are praised constantly for their natural giftedness. Mistakes or ‘failures’ are glossed over and few limits and expectations are set. Proponents of this style say that the self-confidence felt by their children is the proof that this is a good way to raise one’s children.

In my opinion, here is what is lost in both of the above parenting paradigms: People need challenges in order to develop a real sense of accomplishment. Expectations are a necessity, and failure is one of the most effective teaching tools life offers if we, the parents, take it as such. Prodigal levelstandards are not the healthy way to challenge and motivate children. Praising children for their efforts, as opposed to the outcome or their natural “specialness,” teaches them perseverance, while instilling the belief that if you try your best, something good will come out of it.

Expectations and challenges are nearly a biologic requirement for humans. We crave opportunities in which we have exerted effort. If the value of effort and the bravery of trying something without knowing the answer are validated, children pursue them. Think of that in contrast to being shamed for failing…. or meaninglessly praised all the time. Parents need to set high expectations for their children. But what does “high expectations” mean? Are they the same for every child? Are parental expectations a list of “markers” that must be met by the children? Could they instead be a reflection of achievements by that child? What if the expectation for a child was simply that he or she does his or her best work?

Parental expectations should set a guideline for a child to judge him or herself by. If an expectation is not met, what could that mean? Criticism and shame only serve to wound the developing child’s psyche. Instead position the “failure” as an event to examine and grow from. This self-examination offers your child the ability to develop self-awareness, a lifelong skill. A failure only remains a failure if it remains an unexamined experience.

An Unusual Request

Karyl and I have been trying to set up a new in-house trip for April. We would like to find a person who has visual impairments and lives with a seeing eye dog come to school to talk to the kids and show the kids how the dog helps them. We would also gladly have a trainer of seeing eye dogs bring a dog who is still in training. All the places we have called and emailed will not come to pre-schools. If anyone has a friend or a contact who fits the bill, would you be willing to connect me to them? Thank you very much!

Auction Enticement ……

We on the Auction Committee are already hard at work! We have created a theme (aren’t ya’ dying to know what it is?) and are buckling down.

Stay tuned for more info….