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February 2, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

A Kid On Parenting: Worst Of The Worst

I’m probably only doing this article because of Amy Chua, but I have my resources, and several other parenting books that should be deposited in a toxic waste dump by guys in hazmat suits, so I’m doing it.  First of all, let’s focus on the infamous “Tiger Mother”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t downright hate Amy Chua.  She’s got a good career at Yale, so there isn’t much to complain about-except for her “Chinese Mother” parenting strategy.  I admit, I’ve read the New York Times letter from Sophia, so I can take this lightly, and I will.  So based off of what I read in that article, maybe the Chuas aren’t as bad as they seem.  But the whole Chinese Mother idea really nags me.  According to Chua’s essay on why Chinese Mothers are superior (actual name of essay), Chinese Mothers push their kids to the limit, and can call them garbage without expecting their kids to have an emotional breakdown.  Call me crazy, but doesn’t calling your kid names seem a little, you know, harsh?  I mean, pushing your child to the point where you know they can still succeed is a really good idea, but dozens and hundreds of practice tests?  Thanks, but no thanks, Tiger Mother.

If you really want to help your child succeed without flying into a fit of rage every time they get a B, you have to understand that instead of forcing them to go through three grueling hours of violin practice (or piano, depending on what you read), you should make learning fun.  If there’s a massive math test (the worst kind) in a week, every evening, go through a practice test or two (small, to reduce stress), and after dinner, play a few rounds of 24 as a family!  You see, good parents are fun parents.  Still, Sophia’s letter tells a slightly different story.  I learned that you can cram four people and two dogs onto a single couch and argue over what to download on Netflix, that Lord Of The Rings can be torture the tenth time, and I just might have picked out tomorrow’s dinner menu.  So I guess there’s an up side and a down side to the Chinese Mother.  The up side is that your child will grow up academically successful, and the down side… you know what?  Just read the book.

Once upon a time, in schools across this pretty darn good country (remember that now), children were taught about America’s founding fathers, and how they fought back British tyranny with democracy and intelligence that they were born with.  Now, according to How To Raise An American, said founding fathers are often portrayed in schools as neurotic and sometimes tyrannical themselves.  How To Raise An American, written by Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston, talks about how popular culture and (gasp) even schools portray America as violent and dumb.  Then they ramble on for about two hundred pages about how you can raise a child that loves our country, and will help it through it’s darkest hours.  I suppose the real problem here isn’t in the popular culture OR the schools.  It’s the viewpoint.

I can see how these two women would get involved in a project like this.  Chriss Winston was the first woman to be the Chief Speechwriter for the White House, under President George W. Bush.  Don’t worry, I won’t get involved in any political propaganda.  I’m just saying, I can see how these two women would get involved.  One of my problems with this book is the fact that it lies a bit.  You see, the description says the book will help you define Americanism as a priority, but not a chore.  Well, if you follow this book exactly, it will be a chore!  Time to really get cracking.  How To Raise An American is not only rather forcing, but it contains opinions that would probably insult Madonna, possible racisim, and sarcastic humor (It’s Hard Out Here For A President).  Again with the rather forcing problem.  They keep talking about the democratic way, so why not vote on to use this book or not?  A simple decision could choose the difference between freedom and extremely boring vacations.

Time for a little math here.  Bunch of neighborhood kids and your kids as well+art activities and camcorder=yikes!  That’s what the beginning of Raising G-Rated Kids In An X-Rated World states.  Actually, it goes into a lot more detail than that, but you get the idea, don’t you?  Now, I have to admit, I don’t have much of a problem with this book, so it only gets one paragraph of criticism/revision.  The idea is that kids see way to much violence and inappropriate romance on TV and in the movies these days, and I can’t blame them.  It seems like that for every five movies, there’s only one that kids 8-15 will enjoy, understand, and will not be affected by.  But eventually, a parenting book will cross the line.  It suggests family meetings with prayers and songs.  BOOO-RIIING!  It suggests using cute kiddie cartoon band-aid fridge magnets to express feelings.  I mean, if you don’t have the guts to deal with a sad child directly, you shouldn’t be a parent.

So, all in all, there are up sides and down sides to parenting books.  But I think the one thing that goes for a lot of parenting books is this-there are more down sides than up.  That is, except for G-Rated.

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One Comment

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  1. vegas710 / Feb 2 2011 11:31 pm

    “I mean, if you don’t have the guts to deal with a sad child directly, you shouldn’t be a parent.”
    Bravo!! Great post!

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