Guest Post: Tiger Mom & Eagle Dad

This is a guest blog post from TutorMandarin – an online Mandarin tutor service that teaches students how to speak Chinese using an innovative mobile app and PC Software.

 

“Tiger Mom” and “Eagle Dad” are now both commonly recognized terms by Western and Eastern parents alike. These terms refer to a strict type of parent that are prevalent in both the Chinese culture as well as other Asian cultures. Today, we’ll dive a bit deeper into where these terms come from, what they mean, and what they say about parenting.

What is a Tiger Mom?

“Tiger Mom” came into widespread use after the Yale law professor Amy Chua published her book – Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). Amy Chua is a second generation immigrant and was raised in a traditional Chinese way. Her book reflects on how traditional Chinese parenting affected her and how she applies a similar strategy her kids upbringing. Her book shows her attempts to use traditional Chinese parenting techniques with a modern Chinese daughter who frequently rebels – forcing her to decide whether to double down on her traditional parenting style or adjust. The book is a memoir of her transformation of being a mother of two daughters while bringing them up in the traditional strict parenting way.

 

How Strict is a Tiger Mom?

Amy Chua revealed in the book that she never allowed her kids to have a playdate, sleepover, watch TV, participate in a school play, or choose their own extra-curricular activities. The kids were also not allowed to “get any grade less than an A” or “not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama.” On the weekends, they were made to take piano and violin lessons, in which they had to reach certain goals or else they didn’t go a break or even dinner. Chua claims these strict policies are the reason that her children became so successful later on in school and music studies. She argues that this type of parenting is common in Asian families and acceptable.

What is an Eagle Dad?

In 2012, a video of a 4-year-old Chinese boy shivering in the snow with only his underpants went viral. His father was filmed while his boy trembled and begged for his dad to hug him. Instead of doing so, the dad made the boy lay on the cold, freezing snow first before he actually held him. The dad, Li Sheng is the former president of a bedding company from Nanjing, was given the nickname “Eagle Dad.” He didn’t just want his son to succeed, he wanted him to soar. “Like an eagle, I push my child to the limit so he can learn how to fly.

 

How strict is too strict a dad?

Duoduo, the shivering boy, who was born several months premature. The doctor announced that he might suffer from cerebral palsy. Due to this, his dad made him undergo extreme physical and mental endurance to build up his strength. At age 5, he became the youngest person ever to fly a light airplane, covering a distance of 30 km. At age 6, he completed a 5.5km marathon with his father wearing only a red underwear as well. Now age 8, Duoduo has signed up for sales management courses at Nanjing University. Duoduo is home schooled by a private teacher along with his Eagle Dad. Waking up at 6:30 every morning covering studies such as art, math, music, business and finance, languages, technology, 3D printing, robotics, and even military exercise training. He’s even going to participate in a world-class robotic programming competition in the UK soon.

Does strict parenting work?

People might argue that strict parenting is against nature. Children should have the right to have a happy childhood without too much pressure. However, others might argue that making certain rules since they are young is an effective way to train them for the future. We are going to break down into two parts, upside and downside.

The Advantages of Strictness

Like the movie Whiplash, as the professor once said “I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity.” Some believe that by pushing people to their limits, parents must be strict. Amy Chua truly believes that strict parenting is necessary for her children’s success. Eagle Dad believes that Duoduo will thank him in the future for what he did for him. At the heart of it, they harbor a belief that children are too young to know what is good for them and what is not. By following their past experience of success, strict parenting seems like a perfect model to follow. However, is that the only path to success?

The Disadvantages of Strictness

Children brought up through strict parenting often turn out either extremely obedient or wildly rebellious. Also, it is noted that children of Tiger Moms and Eagle Dads are so afraid of upsetting them, they are prone doing whatever it takes to avoid punishment or trouble. This includes lying, concealing their feelings, and more. Also, a lifetime of the following order hampers both their critical thinking and creativity.

 

To be strict or not to be strict?

It is the number-one question among all parents. Children’s personalities and abilities vary and change over time. Parents can start from either authoritarian or permissive method, step by step observing how your kids adapt to the style. Once you’ve made the decision to parent in a certain way, make every effort to stick with it. Whether you get advice from the people around you or follow the academic research, you will have to decide what is going to work best for you, your family, your child, and the society in which you live.

 

What do You think about Tiger Moms and Eagle Dads?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My food is much Better

Dear Chinese mother-in-law is honoring us currently with her presence and thanks to that I have no shortage of stories to share with you. Originally I had something else planned for today but this blog is like a therapy for me and I really need to get this out. You have read it probably too often already but my MIL is certainly something else. She knows everything better than anyone else and she does everything better than anyone else, at least that is how she sees the world. The reality is very much different but she would never accept that.

Just look at this delicious food!

Before coming to Germany my wife gave her mother a little food shopping list. To be precise this shopping list was all about Liangpi 凉皮 the best noodle dish ever created. There are specialized restaurants in Xi’an which offer these noodles in a box to take away and mix the noodles and sauce yourself. You should consume the food within two weeks otherwise it might be not that good for you any longer but two weeks are more than enough. When we were last time in China we brought home 16 boxes for just the two of us. I think they didn’t even last a week and I don’t even feel bad about it as they are just too delicious. When MIL heard that she should buy them for us her first reaction was “They don’t taste at all, they are terrible, I don’t buy them!” (She has never tried them before). Her second reaction was “They are too heavy, I don’t buy them!” (She wanted to take more of her weird stuff with). However my wife insisted that MIL would get them and her third reaction was “My homemade ones are much better!”. In the end my wife won and MIL took at least a few boxes with to Germany.

And even more of that, I am so hungry now

Now coming back to “My homemade ones are much better” I have to say that her Liangpi ain’t bad.  They are actually pretty good as soon as you add some salt and spices (something she never does, she never uses salt for anything). But they are still no match for the takeaway Liangpi yet alone to the freshly made ones in certain restaurants. My mother-in-law believes that her food is so much better than in any restaurant. Last year she tried to proof that to me and my dad when we were in China by making Pizza for us. She had never made pizza before and had no clue what to add. She even tried to put in Durians and Bananas, thankfully my wife stopped her from that. I can’t remember the taste but I do know that my stomach was upset for the next two days.

Our kitchen looks a bit different now with MIL being here

MIL is preparing food for us now every day, same as she had done during the past visits over the years. While her noodle dishes are rather good, the other dishes are barely eatable. Whenever she made some dishes to be eaten with rice I prepared myself for the worst. The good thing is that my wife concvinced her mother to make noodle related dishes at least five times a week. No matter how much my wife complains about the cooking skills her mother still believes she is the best chef who has ever walked this (round) earth (MIL kind of believes that the earth is flat). In fact MIL does not even like most of the food she prepares but she won’t admit to it but we can clearly see it when she suddenly stops eating after one or two bites. Her explanation for that is usually that she doesn’t want to eat too much so that we have more, yeah right.

How are your cooking skills?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

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Airport Adventures

My crazy Chinese mother-in-law is back. I mentioned in the last post already that some destructive force is living with us once again and I have to say that so much has happened already in the past two weeks. I do not know how she does it but she certainly has this profound ability to wreak havoc where ever she is. It is not only about the stuff she can destroy without even trying it is also about the way she thinks (mentioned multiple times on this blog already). In her opinion there is only one way to do something: Her Way.

I know best

Though the title of this article is Airport Adventures is actually started already before she even reach any airport. Just two weeks before flying to Germany my wife double checked with her that everything is in order. This means that all necessary snacks for us have been packed (serious business!) and that she has all documents with her. Documents such as the invitation letter that she needed to get the Visa and also is required to have on person when arriving in Germany as there is our telephone number listed so the border control can call us when needed. This is important as MIL has messed it up before in 2014 when she was nearly sent back to China again. When you have such a traumatic experience you will always remember what mistakes to avoid – not MIL. She did not only forget about the whole invitation letter but she had thrown it away months ago! All she had to say way “I didn’t know that this is important”.  Well she also threw away her flight tickets because she had taken pictures of them with the phone so that should be enough according to her…

I bet her Marriage Certificate has been thrown away years ago

As you see we had our fair share of trouble already before she entered the plane. Needless to say my wife had to organize all the papers in record time and get them somehow to China in that short time period. After that my wife actually thought that the worst was over before her arriving in Germany, oh how wrong she was or let’s say how naive. The journey started pretty well as she got from Xi’an to Helsinki without any troubles. In Helsinki she then had to wait for nearly three hours for her connecting flight to Hamburg.

Yo, Granny is Crazy

My wife told MIL to send her a message when the boarding would start. Nothing happened within 5 min so my wife asked her again about the boarding and to take a picture of the boarding screen – no reply. Then 15 min before the boarding would close MIL said that the flight is delayed as there is no boarding. So my wife asked MIL yet again to take a picture of the boarding screen to make sure that she is at the right Gate – again ignored by MIL. Wife all nervous started to check on her phone about the flight and voila the Gate had been changed to another one just 20 metres away. Quickly she sent her mother about it and to rush to the new Gate. You can guess what happened. MIL did not listen to her daughter and still insisted that the flight was just delayed. Then when she finally went to the right Gate the plane had just left.

You can’t even imagine how furious my wife was. MIL had ignored all messages, it could have been all avoided by just taking a picture of the screen right in the beginning. MIL’s excuse was only “But I was at the right Gate, how could I believe that you would know  what is going on and which Gate to take?”. Through some miracle my dear Chinese mother-in-law got another flight to Hamburg a few hours later but it was all so exhausting especially as I had to pick her up from the airport around 1am instead of 7 pm.  This whole situation was so frustrating and I do not even dare to mention it again in front of my wife.

What is your worst Airport experience?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.youtube.com/

My crazy Chinese Family I married into…