Are Tiger Moms Raising Tiger Spouses?
What is a Tiger Mom? Author Amy Chua is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Note: I have not read her book). According to an article in Time magazine, “Chua’s reports from the trenches of authoritarian parenthood are indeed disconcerting, even shocking, in their candid admission of maternal ruthlessness. Her book is a Mommie Dearest for the age of the memoir, when we tell tales on ourselves instead of our relatives . . . Though Chua was born and raised in the U.S., her invocation of what she describes as traditional ‘Chinese parenting’ . . . stories of never accepting a grade lower than an A, of insisting on hours of math and spelling drills and piano and violin practice each day (weekends and vacations included), of not allowing playdates or sleepovers or television or computer games or even school plays . . .”
I’ve talked to friends who were raised by Tiger moms, and “authoritarian” often included being hit, pinched, and belittled, with little to no emotional support or even recognition that the child had feelings or something to say.
Does Being Raised by a Tiger Mom Result in Tiger Spouses?
I’ve seen many clients who were raised by Tiger moms/parents, and as I see them in a couples setting, I’m starting to wonder if this style of parenting is resulting in Tiger spouses? It wouldn’t be surprising; many of you parent in ways you were parented – no matter what cultural background you come from – and unless you make a decision and an ongoing concerted effort to parent differently than you were raised, the chances are very high of repeating patterns.
So now you’re grown up, and have a special person in your life – a spouse, a committed partner. Are you behaving in an authoritarian manner? Are you treating your partner as though anything less than an “A” in relationship is unacceptable? Do you hit your partner – verbally? Do you belittle her? Do you undermine him? Do you threaten if your needs are not met (e.g., divorce, or by spending your time with others and not as a couple, or by lack of respect and care)? Do you get defensive? Do you shut her out? Do you roll your eyes and show contempt when he talks? Do you work much of the time and not connect emotionally? Do you know how to connect emotionally? How is your sex life?
Are you happy? Is your partner happy? I don’t have the answer for you. But I am asking the questions. If you want a happy marriage, are you willing to look at your way in the world and in your relationship? Are you willing to change?
Couples of all backgrounds deal with issues of happiness, and could benefit from looking into their upbringing to understand current behavior (not to blame parents).
Look at your relationship, think about the Tiger Mom phenomenon and consider where you are the spectrum. Please don’t take offense and think I am being hard on Asian culture. I am sharing what I‘m noticing. Now it’s up to you to decide what to do with it.
Photo by rupertjeffries @morgueFile