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Friday, January 28, 2011

My First Guest Post

Check out my Featured Post with another great mommy blogger, Kate, from Mommy Monologues....

Here it is...I wish I was a Doctor Mom...

Happy Weekend!!  It can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Better or Worse?...Definitely Different...

I stumbled upon a very interesting article from this weekend's WSJ entitled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior".  It is an excerpt from a new book "Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother" By Amy Chua.  It sheds light on the way that the Chinese rear their children and its sharp contrast from the typical American Way.  I found the article fascinating and even somewhat scary, but when I finished, I was unsure if this type of child rearing is genius or detrimental to a child's psyche.  It may, in fact, be both.

The book is written by a Chinese Professor and Writer from Yale Law School, a prototypical overachiever herself (interestingly, it seems that she is married to a Jewish Man).  She starts by describing a few things that she has forbidden her children to do including "going on play dates, acting in school plays, getting any grade less than an A, and not being the #1 student in every class".  And no, she is not kidding.  She, and other Chinese mothers do not believe that learning should be fun and that "academic achievement is a reflection of successful parenting."

Now, the reason I am so perplexed by my overall feelings on this article is that I strongly agree with it and disagree with it all at the same time.  The author makes the point that "nothing is truly fun until you are good at it" and that "practice, practice, practice makes perfect."  I agree with this.  I think it is difficult to tell at a young age what your child will excel at, and often I find myself encouraging the Boober and the Hot Pocket to do things that I would like them to do.  But...to a point.  I would not override their preferences with forced coercion.  I would not push them for fear of retaliation.  I would not degrade them if they were not good at something.

Last summer I came face to face with this type of "Chinese Parenting" when I decided that I NEEDED to enroll my oldest in Kumon.  I had heard about the merits of the program from many other doctors and felt it was important, no crucial, to start at a young age.  And so like many other things that I set my mind on, I took the Boober for her testing that week.  We walked into the center.  We were probably the only Caucasian people there.  The Boober was very afraid of this place.  She clearly was not ready and did not want to do it.  But, I persisted.  She sat down and was tested by a pimply faced 14 year old girl, a Kumon student herself.  She quizzed her for 15 minutes on a math workbook and 15 minutes on a reading workbook.  When we left there, I was scared.  Scared to push my baby academically.  Scared that she would not find a love for learning if I forced it on her.  Scared that she wouldn't feel like a kid if she had daily homework at age 3.

We haven't gone back.

I have written before on my thoughts about our primary goals as parents.  The cornerstone of child rearing is to raise bright, motivated and self assured citizens of the world.  There surely are various ways of doing this.  I adhere to the typical "American Way" of encouragement and praise.  Chua brings up a wholly different principle of essentially forcing a child to be good, no great, at something which will result in self fulfillment and esteem due to talent rather than inflated ego.

Her children will surely go to Yale or Harvard.  Mine will likely be Wolverines.  Hopefully, they all will be happy.

Her ideas are interesting, indeed.  I bought the book.  And now, I am contemplating enrolling the girls in piano.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I've decided to rename my children...

First of all, I love my kids names.  And if up to this point you have been reading my blog, or if you (are lucky enough to..) know me, you know their names as well.  And, I'm sure you think they are fabulous.  I'm not bragging here, because I really did not name them.  My hubby did.  So I cannot take credit.

Since beginnig to blog, I have been unsure about how much of myself to reveal, and in what way to do it.  But recently, I am happy that I have many new readers that I have met through the blogosphere (who knew?).  Up until now, I am sometimes hesitant to use my kids names.  Now, more time has passed and I have found my blogging voice.  I feel more comfortable about talking about the family, and so I have decided to rename them.

My oldest daughter, for future blog posts will be called by one of her favorite names, The Boober.  Here she is modeling after a haircut.


And my littlest, cuddliest munchkin will be affectionately known as The Hot Pocket.  This is also a nickname that she embraces. What a face!

So, there it is.  Now I can talk about them freely and not worry about it.
Whew...one less thing to stress about!
Happy Weekend.