Tiger Moms – Indian Style

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Amy Chua, the author of controversial book “Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mom” seemed to have opened a whole Pandora’s Box with her controversial account of how she brought up her two daughters in a strict traditional Chinese way of upbringing.

But today’s article is not about Amy’s book. This article is written with the express purpose of evaluating whether Indian mothers are in fact closet Tiger Moms? Or in some cases may be self declared ones!

The importance that India parents attach to good examinations results and their reluctance to let children play outside before the homework is finished are two great examples of how we discipline our children. In effect parents are just paving way for their children to excel academically and better their chances of having a financially successful career. The end is clear, but the means to achieve this is what we are questioning. Here’s a look at a theory about why tiger parenting could have come about in India.

An average Indian parent spends more than half their take home salary on their children’s education.

Millions of Indians migrate to bigger cities in the hopes of providing better education and opportunities to their children. When parents face hardships for the betterment of their children, they think it only natural to expect that their children don’t drop grades. And for this they impose rules and strict discipline.

The drive to see children excel academically has lent its color to alternate fields as well. We see parents pushing their children’s latent talents like singing and dancing owing to overcrowding in areas like engineering, medical field and MBA.

But this isn’t all there is to it. There are certain parents who do believe that nurturing their child’s inherent liking and talents will eventually lead to an excellent career later.

They believe that expecting a child to excel all the time even in areas where he/she has no interest whatsoever, can be more detrimental in the long run (Math phobia being a case in point for many)

The question we should really be asking is, what is the reason Indian kids have more successful careers than a western kid? (Based on averages) Why do prestigious western universities see more Indian admissions than any other country? (China may be an exception, and they too follow a highly disciplined methodology for raising children)

Does the answer in fact lie in the method and discipline we follow when it concerns our children? Or does it have to do with our genes? (At the risk of sounding racist)

I think the answer is for each individual parent to decide. Both types of parenting have upsides and downsides, the choice is yours. And who knows, if you are lucky, you may even be able to carve out a middle path that will be beneficial to both of you without being stifling.