Sisterhood Blog

(Jewish) Mothering on My Own Terms is the Converse of “Tiger Mothering”

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share

I had decided that I was going to stay out of the “Tiger Mother” fray, but a visit to the local public library made me change my mind.

If the number of holds at the library on Amy Chua’s “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” (83) as compared to those on Wendy Mogel’s new parenting book, “The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers” (7) is any indication, then the answer to Allison Kaplan Sommer’s recent post asking whether Chinese mothers leave Jewish mothers in the dust would be a resounding “yes.” And that worries me.

In fact, Kaplan Sommer referenced a Jewlicious post that mentioned Mogel’s book. Being that it was Jewlicious, Mogel’s main point about the importance of letting kids screw up, learn from their mistakes, and find their own way (within reason) was humorously paraphrased for maximum satirical effect. I, on the other hand, am dead serious about following Mogel’s sage advice, given the fact that it is possible — if not probable — that the kind of pressure put on kids by the kind of parenting advocated by Chua has contributed in some way to the recent cluster of teen suicides that has plagued my over-achieving community of Palo Alto, California.

This morning, I saw a sign outside the high school down the block from my home advertising a talk called, “Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap.” I am assuming that the speaker is going to address the fact that we are turning our children into “teacups” and “crispies,” as Mogel calls them. “Teacups” are teens who are so fragile that, once they are on their own at college, can’t handle any adversity, and “crispies” are ones that are so burned out from high school that by the time they graduate they have lost all intrinsic love for learning. We’re talking “snap, crackle and pop” — but not in the fun, tasty breakfast cereal way. It’s more like “crash, burn and shatter” into a million little pieces that are very hard to reassemble.

Sure, I’m a Jewish mother. I even blog as “The Gen X Yiddishe Mamme.” So, it goes without saying that I want my children to achieve and be successful. But ultimately, it has to be on their own terms, not mine. I can only provide them with a positive role model, encouragement, and space to figure out who they are and what they want to be. There are a lot more instruments out there to try than just the piano and the violin. Independent thought, a will to explore and challenge, and healthy rebellion are music to my ears.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewlicious, Amy Chua

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.