I’ve long heard pros and cons for the Asian method of raising children. We’ve watched decades of Tiger Moms using these methods here in the USA. Asian children respect people more and get better grades and work long hours while doing it. Then, there’s the article I read years ago about how the Japanese have the highest rate of teen suicide directly attributed to this parental style. When they are coerced into racking up A’s all through childhood and high school, they spend their college education partying.
The caveat, of course, is to always question what you read and hear, so make no definite conclusions about anything until the truth is clear. Then you must still remain open to any news that changes your opinion.
That said, here is the newest wrinkle. Tiger Moms are fighting. Now I’ve received several points of view on the topic and can now begin to form an opinion. Asian children are expected to adhere to the direction of their parents and do as they’re told. Asian children have the highest rate of anxiety. Asian parents are fighting for their way of life. Children in the US are not prepared well and have little respect for their elders.
The Missing Link: Respect the Child
In all this furor about how to raise a child, I think the most important element has been ignored. The way in which the child should go. From the child’s perspective. First off, adults have no regard for the aptitude and abilities and desires of a child. This is evident on both sides of the spectrum, in Asia and in the US. What if we were to watch the child and develop the abilities, talents and wishes of the child from the very beginning? For me, this trumps both parodies of child rearing. The missing link. Take your cues from the child and then support them in every way possible.
A New Wrinkle
I, for one, would love to see a world where we all have the opportunities to know ourselves and live our lives fully invested in nurturing every part of us with every step we take. That’s exciting for the children and the parents. Even more exciting is how the world would change when we populate it with people who’ve been acknowledged and supported every step of the way. Now THAT”S exciting.
Instead of forcing the petals to open as the world dictates, allow a child to blossom with lots of water, sunshine and attention. After all, we didn’t choose the seeds that made these babies. How can we know how to nurture them until we see who they are? Watch. Apply love. Love is an action verb. Then we’ll see their true colors and smile as they spread their happiness.