Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog Fodder

This morning, the Today Show was full of blog fodder.  I like to share my opinion, in case you haven't noticed.

Case A: "The Tiger Mom"
Some of you may have heard of this Chinese American woman, Amy Chua, who wrote a book titled The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  She and her American husband raise their two daughters according to strict rules, common in the Chinese culture, which is how she was raised.  People are going crazy over this.  Personally, I think... MORE POWER TO YOU!  Amen, sister.  Look, maybe it's totally easy for me to say that, because I don't have kids, but the American society has gotten to a point where coddling our children is the norm.  There are no winners at Field Day, sports teams don't keep score, everyone's a winner, it's okay that you didn't do well at ________ (fill in the blank).  Bull crap, people.  That is not life.  There are winners and losers and things aren't always easy.  Sure, maybe she goes a little overboard on some things (no sleepovers, being one), but I give her kudos for raising her kids with a good work ethic, to know that there are certain areas in which it is not okay to fail (i.e., school and life in general), and to know that she's the  boss.

I don't expect that my kids are going to be the best at everything, but if they are the worst on their soccer team or in their violin class, I don't want them to think they are the best.  They can work harder to improve (and know that they need to) or try something else where they may excel.  I don't want my kids to think that mediocrity is okay in every area of life.  Every single one of us has something that we are good at, and I think part of our roles as parents is to help our children find that thing that they can be proud of.  If they are okay with being the worst on the soccer team because they love to play soccer, then I think that is awesome, and I will encourage the heck out of them. 

I think it also comes down to your children having a level of respect for you.  My mom was by no means the strictest mom in the world, but we learned at a very young age that no meant no.  You would never see any of us having a meltdown in a grocery store, because we couldn't have a piece of candy.  I hated hearing it, but the phrase, "Because I said so," was enough.  It might have gotten a few, "But why"s in response, but no acting out (Mom, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this).  I also think that it's not too much to ask to expect your children to have basic manners and to not get something until they say please and respond with a thank you.  And, even though my mom had rules that I might not have always agreed with and didn't always let me do what I wanted, get what I wanted, etc., guess what... she's one of my best friends today.  So, proof positive that you don't have to be your kid's best friend for them to love you and have a good relationship in the future.  Plus, you know we all look back now and say, "Thank God we had parents that didn't let us act like little terrors!"

Case B: "Financial Infidelity"
There was a survey done recently that found that a lot of people "cheat" financially on their spouse... they lie about how much they spend, have secret credit cards, secret bank accounts, secret cash stashes, etc.  The so-called "financial expert" said that she didn't think because you get married, you should become one in the state of finances.  Look, I say whatever works for you works for you.  Matt and I share our finances completely, because we trust each other, communicate needs/wants and thankfully, have very similar financial personalities and goals.  But, you should have heard this lady.  Thankfully, there was a voice of reason in the form of a psychologist who rained right down on Miss Financial Expert's parade.  I know people that do not share finances and it works for them.  But, the thing that was killing me about what this lady was saying is it completely negated the need for trust and communication in the relationship.  Whether or not you share finances completely, how can you not talk about what you need and want?  Whether my fun money is in a joint or separate account, I want Matt to know what I'm using it for and why (and vice versa).  However, I will go back to the "similar financial personalities and goals"... we definitely lucked out in that aspect.  We spend similarly, so frankly, I have never made a purchase that "offended" him.  We don't spend above our means or frivously unless we both agree.

So, anyway.  That's my two cents for what it's worth (approximately, two cents).  Thoughts, comments, opinions?  Do you think I'm crazy (don't answer that)?


Alyse said...

I recently heard about the tiger mom and I've been wanting to read that book! I want to check it out, but I do agree that we are too quick to run and say, "oh it's okay. it's okay." A good push from a parent and their confidence in us is sometimes exactly what it takes to do something we didn't know we could do before.

ty said...

OMG. AMEN. To Tiger Mom. Parents are too quick to tell their kids that they're the best and the brightest for fear of destroying their self-esteem. There's a happy medium, too!

Meghan said...

Loved this post! This is my first time at your blog. :) I see too many people these days NOT parenting their kids and it's so sad. I don't have kids yet, but I can honestly say that by observing the parenting around me, I've learned more about what NOT to do than what TO do. Thanks for sharing. :)

Amy said...

Always enjoy your $.02 :). I agree with you... I see a lot with other young moms I'm around that very much have a "protect and rescue" mentality with their kids.

I'm not sure there is a full-proof method to avoiding tantrums in toddlers (if there is, let me in on the secret). HOWEVER, we have learned that as long as they know the answer won't change regardless of their irrational tantrum the length and frequency really diminish, especially as they get older... Even Noah who is much more prone to tantrum type behavior is learning that he gets what he needs more quickly if he's calm and polite. I can't imagine my children throwing tantrums as 6 or 7-year-olds because by then they will know from experience {hopefully} that it won't get them what they want. But I'm blown away by how often I see this, or hear parents "arguing" with their kids. Mostly, we're figuring out all the ways NOT to do things by our own trial and error, but I think above all, consistency is key (as you said, no means no).

Todd and I are also lucky to have similar views on finances and spending. Financial "secrets" can be so damaging... it was a really easy, natural transition to joint finances for us and throughout the years as we've both been employed, then Todd in grad school, back to both employed and now just Todd employed it's made all the changes easy.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

I will lie a little bit about how much something costs, but not very often. We're pretty much on the same page when it comes to money!

Kristin said...

Amy - I agree with you 100%. Young kids are going to throw tantrums, and that is to be expected, but you hit the nail on the head. You don't give in/you ignore it. They'll learn fairly quickly that that type of behavior is not rewarded and they will level off. If not, you end up having a 7 year old child who should have self control throwing a fit in public. I love the way the Duggars parent and the values they instill in their children at a young age... the biggest one being self control. Michelle Duggar has the patience of a saint (I doubt I could ever be like that), and I have the utmost respect for their parenting style.