Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gym Mom -Tiger Style

When I first read Amy Chua's WSJ essay, my thought was if only she was a gym mom. I then found "Confessions of a Failed Tiger Mom", and the following paragraph gave me a good laugh.
I was also told, like Chua's kids, that anything less than an A was an unacceptable grade in school. Then, after my parents found out that there was an even better grade, called an A plus, they were no longer satisfied with a plain vanilla A. My grades all had to be A pluses. Except for physical education class, which was an exception that Chua also made for her kids. Chinese parents don't really care whether their kids are jocks, and they consider team sports a complete waste of time. However, if it's an individual sport where you can shine and make them proud -- such as figure skating or gymnastics -- that's okay.
But I believe there must be some tiger style gym moms out there. And today a friend forwarded this link.
(Dr. Leow Mei Ling with husband Ooi Khean Min and daughter Emma Ooi. Emma’s is a straight-A student as well as a Malaysia WAG national team member who is gearing up for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.)

Confession of Dr. Leow Mei Ling:
I believe discipline is necessary for a child to have a disciplined outlook in life, whether in sports or education. This is the kind of training I gave her from the time she was a toddler. I insisted she has her own table and chair from the time she could sit. I don't believe in children running around the house.

Emma's schedule is packed, straight from the moment she wakes up to the time she goes to bed, with no time for television, play or anything else. Her day begins at 6am, with preparations for school. She leaves school at 2pm to go for gymnastics training, where she is in the national team. That ends at 6pm. Then it's home, dinner, homework and bed. This is her routine seven days a week, with music and Latin classes squeezed in as well. Emma is also not allowed to sleep late and is up by 8.30am. I also monitor her diet strictly.

I restrict fatty foods and salt.

I don't think I'm a tiger mum but I believe there should be discipline.

Confession of another mom Datuk Farshila Emran- managing director:
If any one of my children is rude, I will slap them no matter where they are. I don't care if they are embarrassed. Some parents do not want to take action immediately when their children misbehave. They prefer to do so in private. But if you take action later in the day, the child might have forgotten what she did.

I told them I don't care if I beat them in front of their friends because their friends are not going to be there when they're in trouble.

Children will forget the pain of a beating but they will not forget the pain caused by harsh words. For example, if your mother hit or pinched you when you were young, would you still feel the pain now? Of course not. But if your mum had called you 'garbage' when you were younger, won't you still remember that?

When I beat, I really beat. I do feel bad about it later and cry in the shower. However, I never show them I am upset.
I found some good responses from the US gymnastic community by Anne Josephson, from Josephson Academy of Gymnastics, Culver City, California. In her first blog- A Defense of “Western” Parenting, she argued that the end doesn't justify the means in parenting and there is a very big difference between the success of the outcome and the success of the process. And she also gave the bad example caused by the tiger-style parenting or coaching in the the gyms training. But in her 2nd blog-"Lessons from the Tiger Mother" , she points out that the goals for Chinese and Western parenting are not mutually exclusive, and there are some points to Ms. Chua’s ideas that are worthy of adaptation with a heavy emphasis on adaptation.
1. Our kids’ self-esteem is not as fragile as we might believe it to be.
2. Struggle and adversity does not demolish a child’s sense of self-worth, in fact it increases it.
3. Not everything that is ultimately worthwhile is immediately fun, especially not in the beginning. Furthermore, you cannot always know immediately just how good your child might be at something.
4. Parents do have a right, if not an obligation, to demand certain things of their children, including telling them no, setting behavior expectations and enforcing consequences.

For me, I don't think I can be a tiger parent, as I am too like the failed tiger mom who is not good at demanding obedience from others. And I shared her belief that children should be allowed to pursue their own dreams, even if those dreams are wildly impractical. But I am forever grateful that I was raised by a tiger mom. And my dear Mom, bless her heart, is a pain in the ankle to live with. If she were with me at this very moment, I would be hearing the yelling from downstairs "Are you still up blogging nonsense , didn't I tell you to freaking quit it already."


  1. To be honest, i go to school with both her daughters and shes not as strict as most people think, in fact both of them are kinda sluts. but yes, there are certainly some tiger gym moms out there

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