Power Ballad of the Tiger Mama

By now you've all heard about or read the brouhaha about Amy Chua's book "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." For those who haven't, there are thoughtful reviews of it all over the place (here's the first one I happened to find).

There are myriad problems with Chua's book and parenting style (I will never get over how proud she is that she called her child "garbage" in public), but what makes me angriest is how she took the word "tiger" and made it dirty.

You see, in my family, a "Tiger Mama" is a mother who fights hard for her cubs. It is really the highest honor my own mother can bestow on someone, that she (or he) fights for their kids, in all kinds of situations. And protects them, and teaches them to protect themselves.

When I think about it, the parents I know and love (including you), are Tiger Mamas and Tiger Daddies. So I thought I'd write down what being a Tiger Mama/Daddy means to me.

A Tiger Mama knows that she is not her children and her children are not her. And that she can, and should, help her kids figure out who they want to be and then run toward that.

A Tiger Daddy is working through his own childhood and how he was parented, and takes the good and leaves the bad behind.

A Tiger Mama trusts her gut and gets a second opinion.

A Tiger Daddy gives praise and constructive criticism, and teaches his children to take both and use them.

A TIger Mama thinks about the question "Would you want to be a child in your own house?" and takes it very seriously.

A Tiger Daddy verbalizes the process, so his kids can hear how we work through trial and error.

A Tiger Mama gets a diagnosis, gets therapy, gets an IEP. Rinse, repeat.

A Tiger Daddy stops and listens and when his children say something.

A Tiger Mama sits back and watches, and then steps in with a suggestion about how they can work it out themselves, so eventually she won't be needed to mediate anymore.

A Tiger Daddy thinks about policies more than rules.

A Tiger Mama knows that equal isn't fair.

A Tiger Daddy is proud of his child for choosing a career that brings satisfaction.

A Tiger Mama gets up every morning, scrambles through the routine and dropoff, and goes to work with a good attitude at the job that feeds her family.

TIger Mamas and Daddies get their kids out of bad situations. Even if that means they split up so they can be good parents separately instead of mediocre parents together.

Tiger Mamas and Daddies hug their kids a lot, and laugh with their kids a lot.

Tiger Mamas and Daddies pay attention to their kids.


What would you add?