Tuesday, March 7, 2017

[Review] Beyond The Tiger Mom - East-West Parenting for the Global Age

Ever since I embarked on the journey of parenthood, at times I will get myself some books on parenting be it eastern parenting or western parenting. From all aspects, I would adopt some (but not all) approaches, which I deemed and believed that may work out for me in raising the kids.

Just to share a summary of what I am currently going through with Xav who is in P3 this year. I am kind of exhausted from my daily reminders, naggings, scoldings and screamings (to be honest, I felt like a complete failure here) to get him to be self motivated and start to be accountable for his own learning. Ever since P1, I have set an after school routine for him to get everything in place, I reminded him to learn his spellings and ting xie(s) early so that he does not have to stress himself out to learn them at the eleventh hour.

Being in the third year of official schooling, I am expecting him to show some initiative to do it on his own without having me to keep reminding and chasing after him to do it. To add onto those blood boiling moments, there were times when he sheepishly fished out his undone homework just right before bedtime.

In addition, he is ever so generous in giving his marks to his teachers for the careless mistakes made during his tests, which he just wanted to complete it fast without checking and hand it up so that he could do his doodling or reading. Incase, you may be thinking right now if am a tiger mom who expects 100% for all his tests ? Am telling you, am not an advocate of tuition centers when Xav can cope with his work. I do not send him for tuition just to make sure that he can ace those papers perfectly. I am satisfied as along as I know he has put in his 101 effort, did his best to his knowledge. But I have zero tolerance towards careless mistakes. 

My intensity of fury was at its peak when he lamented to my younger sister "Why do I have such a hard life ? Why do I have to work harder than other people ?" This came from him even after having to explain to him that daily revision is necessary because he does not have any tuition and I am giving him a few pages of each subject to practise so that he does not need to feel so stress revising when tests are approaching. The only tuition he is attending is Chinese, just to brush up his weaker areas like composition and comprehension which is beyond my ability to teach. As well as Science, which is something new for him. I really could not fathom why, especially so when the play time + rest time is triple to that of the revision time.

At wits end as I felt burnt out from the above issues, I actually spoke to his teachers and wanted to work with them to "fix" these negative attitude and practices. I was given an option if I would allow Xav to fail, or not. I believed perhaps 80- 90% of you out there are like me, if possible we would want our kids to perform well even though it is just a common class spelling, not to mention the continuous & semestral assessements. So are you willing to deal with failure of your kids, how do you deal with it and how do you achieve the balance? I am relieved to find that this was covered in the book "Beyond the Tiger Mom" written by author, Maya Thiagarajan.

In chapter 5 - Raising Resilient Children : How Do We Deal with Failure? Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset, Maya outlined the basic characteristics of each. I could see one or two characteristics of Fixed Mindset from Xav while I am right now trying to steer him towards to develop a Growth Mindset, which is definately going to take one further in life than having a Fixed Mindset. I want Xav to develop resilience, perseverance and humility. I have to totally agree with what Maya wrote on Achieving Balance: The Parenting Seesaw

"... while they need structure and predictability, they also need a considerable amount of freedom. Without structure, there's chaos and they tend to flounder; yet without freedom, creativity and imagination are stifled."

Followed by a list on Tips for parents on How To Help Your Child Develop a Growth Mindset. Of which this is one tip which Maya shared "Emphasize that learning is not easy, but it is satisfying and pleasurable. Help your child understand that learning is fulfilling for it's own sake, not just for the sake of a grade, and overcoming challenges through hard work makes learning more satisfying and rewarding."

In Beyond the Tiger Mom, you will learn how to:
- Help your child achieve maximum academic potential
- Train your child to expand his or her attention span
- Find the right balance between work and play
- Help your child see failure as a learning experience
- Learn how to raise tech-healthy kids

These are the contents covered:


This book offers research-backed suggestions on how to combine the best aspects of Asian and American parenting and education philosophies. The ideas are practical and useful ! Through interviews with hundreds of Asian parents and children, Maya Thiagarajan offers a detailed look at their values, hopes, fears and parenting styles. Woven into this narrative are her own reflections on teaching and parenting in Asia and the West. Maya synthesizes an extensive body of research to provide accessible and practical guidelines for parents.

Each chapter ends with a "How To" section of specific tips for Asian and Western parents to aid their child's educational development both inside and outside the classroom. I have to honestly say that which parents don't love such practical tips! If you are keen to read more on it, this book is retailing at SGD $24 (before GST) in all major book stores.

About the author

A global citizen, Maya Thiagarajan has lived and worked in India, Singapore, and the US. She earned a BA in English from Middlebury College and a Masters in Education Policy from Harvard University.

Maya began her teaching career with Teach For America, where she taught at a public school in Baltimore City for two years. She went on to teach high school English at some of America's most prestigious independent schools. After a decade of teaching in the US, Maya moved to Singapore and began teaching at The United World College of South East Asia (UWC).

Struck by the different approaches to education and parenting that she encountered in Singapore, Maya began to interview Chinese and Indian parents living in Singapore. Using her own experiences as well as the stories of parents whom she interviewed, Maya wrote a book titled Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age.

In addition to teaching and writing, Maya also conducts workshops for parents and teachers on a range of education related topics.

Readers can connect with Maya on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to http://www.mayathiagarajan.info/ 

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !

Disclaimer: I have been gifted a copy of the book for review purposes. No monetary compensation is invloved and all opinions are of my own.

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