When the Definition of Achievement lies in the Hands of “Tiger Mom”

by Faye Rogaski on February 7, 2011

Self described “tiger mother” Amy Chua and her book on parenting, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has outraged parents and hit hard at a national sore spot-adding fuel to the fear that the US is losing ground to China and other rising powers starting with education. A prepublication excerpt in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” amassed more than a million click throughs online with over 7,000 comments.

As an adjunct professor at NYU, I see firsthand the result of over-coddled and over-programmed students, which is where the idea for teaching social skills came about. I saw a general dearth in the valuable social interaction and communication skills needed to not only get a job, but succeed at a job, particularly in a tough economy. While I ardently believe in hard work and perseverance and instill these lessons during socialsklz:-) workshops, Chua’s traditional “Chinese parenting” takes away the very essence of learning to interact with others. During playdates and sleepovers (which she doesn’t allow) children learn to manage status rivalries, group dynamics, and learn first-hand that there exists a natural hierarchy in life lead. These valuable lessons lead to the development of essential cognitive skills.

What the whole “Tiger Mom” surge of coverage has left me feeling is that I couldn’t be more passionate as I teach socialsklz:-) workshops to children and young adults day after day. Amidst a world of modern technology, video games, social media and “tiger moms”, these skills are more essential than ever and are the very essence of achievement on the playground, in school and ultimately at the workplace.

About the Contributor: Faye Rogaski, founder of socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern world, is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of modern day social skills for children, tweens and teens.

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