Thursday, January 13, 2011

Parenting 101

Since I'm really on a roll here...Sister Sunshine's Pet Peeve this Week In History: Parenting 101

I just so happened to be exposed this week to two very different parenting philosophies that have me all tied up in knots.

Amy Chua is an idiot. I'm angry with her, and I don't even know the woman. She's written a book about parenting the "Chinese Way" (whatever that racist statement means). I am indignant on behalf of her children (who probably adore her, but face it--crack moms are loved by their offspring). What kind of mother completely prohibits sleepovers and camp and school plays, makes her children practice musical instruments for three hours daily, calls her children names and takes away their toys for infractions such as not playing the piano up to snuff, and then GLOATS about it as a parenting model? An insane one, that's what kind.  I thank God that I'm raising my children "The Western Way" (which she insinuates is inferior) as opposed to raising performance-driven socially inept little machines who can't spend the night away from home. Here is a link to this piece of work.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

Hot on the heels of that topic, I just finished a book yesterday called The Film Club, by David Gilmore, which is about a father who allows his son to drop out of high school if he agrees to watch three films a week of the father's choosing. This Father of the Year sets the parental expectations bar so low that we get to watch this reject son of his drink, not have a job, sleep until 5:00, start a 'rap career', date a series of worthless women, and do drugs without repercussions all while father and son "bond" over questionable films (okay, so a few of those were my all-time favorites, but still). I was as appalled by this style of parenting as I am by Mrs. Chua's.  I don't want my 16-yr-old jobless derelict drop out sleeping off a hangover in the basement of my house anymore than I want to call my daughter a "piggy" when she eats too much or "garbage" when she fails at a difficult task.

Seriously, can we not find a happy medium somewhere, Folks?

Mrs. Chua, I know you might find this shocking, but I don't have any desire to raise concert pianists. This will result in my having to attend countless recitals to watch other people's kids perform piano badly. It will also require me to stand over my children screaming about practicing the piano, which I could give a flying rip about.  I don't even really like the piano unless Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard is playing it.

Mr. Gilmore, it is okay to have expectations of people who live with you. I expect my husband to have a job. I expect my children to brush their teeth. I expect the dog to hit the pad or make it outside. This is not infringing on their delicate sensibilities. It's just setting an acceptable standard of behavior.

Since these intellectuals clearly missed the mark, I'm going to write my own essay on childrearing for normal people with normal children and normal expectations. Y'all just hang loose for that.

1 comment:

mommyvsarmyof5 said...

Good post! I read the article about the Chinese mother--amazing. In fact, she's SO astonishing I may write in my own blog about her! I think we are all searching for that happy medium in parenting though, and we all go about it in our own way. One thing I have found: the longer I am a parent, the MORE compassionate I am towards other parents and their struggles. Apparently it works the other way for some self-satisfied moms! Thanks for the thought-provoking post!