I am a Tiger Daughter. I was raised by a Tiger Mom. What did that mean for me? It meant that perfection was ABSOLUTE, mistakes were not tolerated. Emotions and happiness could wait. Success was dependent on achievement. Mistakes would be a permanent scar that would always follow me. Welcome to my childhood.
Yes my childhood was that harsh and in your face. Do I blame my mother now? Nope. Did I wish for a different life? I used to. I thought it was the WRONG way to raise children. And of course the right way was the opposite of how my Tiger Mom raised me. What I did not realize was that I was doing exactly what I had been taught – Right Way – Wrong Way | Good – Bad | Smart – Dumb | Successful – Failure. Now I realize it’s not about the extremes it’s about the continuum in between the extremes.
My childhood was what it was. I can not go back and change it. I can spend time wishing for it to be different than it was. But how does that serve me today? Victor Frankel, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, states that the objective of the human race is to find meaning. The three three ways to find meaning according to Frankel are:
- through a loving relationship
- being of service
- going through struggle
My childhood taught me some extreme conditioning. During my adulthood, I really wrestled with the rules of life I was taught versus what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. It has been my struggle as an adult that has helped me learn who I am TODAY and to create the vision for the life I want.
Thank you my Tiger Mother
In the past I may have blamed my mother or wished her to be different. Today I am truly grateful for my Tiger Mom. Just a few weeks ago I realized that who I am is because of my Tiger Mother. My life’s work has been about helping people realize that it’s okay to make mistakes or not be perfect and still obtain success or achieve their goals. I have spent the past 18 years teaching and coaching kids and adults that they are not defined by a moment, and that life is a journey.
As a parent, I have learned from my mother and modified my own parenting. I have reflected, questioned and thought about what worked for me and what did not. My mother parented me her way because that was the system she understood in her country. When I understand her intentions – to give me the best opportunities to have a great life, I can let go of my past instead of being victimized by it. Now that I know better, it is my responsibility to do better. During this incredible journey of parenthood I am constantly observing, learning and tweaking.
Eastern vs Western
The firestorm of Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, touched the nerves of so many parents because we are worried that we may not be raising our children the correct way for them to thrive. Her book ignited our fears. But let’s not start judging and comparing who is right and wrong, let’s go inside and see what works for ourselves and our families. We then come from our best selves or as I like to say my full Koren shows up and then I can really use all my skills to help me make decisions and build the relationships I would like to have with my children.
Amy Chua’s book has allowed for an opportunity for us to have a discussion. It’s not about which parenting style is better Western vs. Eastern. It’s about who do we want to be as parents and what is the vision we have for our children, ourselves and our relationships with each other. Besides isn’t the “Western vs. Eastern” another form of “Success vs Failure?” Isn’t it the extremes – where one is good and the other is bad?
I want my children to Thrive. What that means to you may be different to what I make it mean. That’s the great thing about parenting. There are no right or wrong ways, there are many possibilities.
Here’s my interview on KOVR Channel 13 news.
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