Did I read the controversial book "Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom" by Amy Chua? Of course I did. I needed to read and see what it's all about. I watched Stephen Colbert's Show where she was a guest and how she was being criticized. I must say, it was an enjoyable read and I was amazing to see such a strong cultural agenda for education and perfection as well as her efforts to parent her children just the way she was parented by Chinese parents. It was also clear that her attempts were failing, she wasn't parenting from the space of play, freedom, joy or even present time. Her parenting was a chore and one of the daughter consciously went with the expectations while the other rebelled. We don't talk about it but it happens all the time, in all families. Children rebel against strong, underlined, overly moralistic, repressive values. Children always are asking to be seen just the way they are, not what we want them to be, to do and to have. And here lies a fine line between nurturing, giving them freedom to play, to explore, creating chances for them to grow, learn by enrolling them to dance class, music class, reading books, playing and sometimes forcefully imposing what's "good" for them. When I was 6 years old, my mom enrolled me in a classical piano lessons which I didn't care for. I was also expected to practice daily but all I wanted is to be outside and play. Now as an adult, I love classical music, love piano but rarely play.
Parents can only offer a space of freedom and play, also assisting and nurturing children's dreams without any expectations. It means to step away from cultural, social pressures and demands, Be present here and now and have fun. It's one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your children.