I have just read a brilliant new parenting book called Taming the Tiger Parent by Tanith Carey which was published this week.
A few years ago I read the very scary Battle of Hymn of the Tiger Mother and patted myself on the back for not being quite so competitive and pushy a parent! However 3 times a week after school my kids are off to classes or activities despite having had a long day at school. I’ve been known to test their spellings even when they are chilling out in the bath or eating breakfast and to be honest I am often too aware of how their peers are doing and what they might be reading.
It creeps up on you doesn’t it this competitive parenting?
Tanith’s book takes a good look at what we are doing to our children through this competitiveness and over scheduling and far from seeing it as a route to success she shows how it is making out kids unhappy and stressed out.
I have to be honest the children I know seem to have so much yet they seem nothing like as happy or carefree as I was a child (and I did no after school classes!) I do want my kids to have their childhood and be happy above all else …the biggest barrier to that could be me and my ambitions for them… I need to be the facilitator not the barrier!
Taming The Tiger Parent is about how to put you child’s well-being first in a competitive world. It looks at the research around the effects of pressure on this generation of children and how we can stop this. The book is really positive; it is filled with strategies for raising children’s self esteem and nurturing them and how to help children avoid burn out and stress.
I like how simple, doable yet effective these strategies are.
Tanith talks about the importance of making a home a sanctuary where a child can relax, where families eat together, where they can talk over their day. She discusses how research has proved that time away from screens, having a pet and exercising outside can help children feel better about themselves as well as be healthier. She presents simple solutions to big problems that will benefit us all.
Tanith also talks about helping children learn to organise themselves, be optimistic, and lighten up and how all these new skills can help them de-stress. She discusses how keeping in physical and verbal contact with your child helps them (and you) feel more connected. FOMO (fear of missing out) often drives us to sign kids up for extra activities when actually Tanith suggest they need downtime and just to play and relax instead.
I relished this book and I think it is really important. It uses anecdotes, research and Tanith’s own experiences to illustrate the points made and it is an easy read on a challenging subject. Tanith doesn’t cristise though, she guides you to consider a new path and signposts the way.
It has challenged my parenting which had slipped into ‘pushy mum’ habit and it has pulled me back. But it hasn’t left me floundering, I now have strategies to cope. I think we may all be a bit more chilled out and a lot happier in both the present and the long term as a result.
No more spelling tests when you are in the bath kids I promise!