In Contrast to The Tiger Mom: A Slitty Eye Approach to Child Raising

Many elements of The Dangerous Child approach to child-raising also pop up unexpectedly in other places, times, and cultures. Consider this approach, from The Slitty Eye blog:

All the tiger mom talk we see, I felt that what is missing in the equation are three things.
1. material deprivation.
2. early responsibility.
3. Self direction

… An example of the success of material deprivation was the raising of William Randolph Hearst, whose mother “took joy in depriving her son of material things”. I think without that, he would not rise to be the titan that he was. A life in which the wants are always sated is a life ruined because it rob them of their good senses and their drive.

Early responsibility is also important. My kids picked out their own clothes to wear each day from an early age. They took baths on their own since about five or six. My daughter, at nine, is not only helping out with household tasks, but also helping to cook. She really love to do the work and got recognition from our Thanksgiving guests for the outstanding dish she made. There is nothing like taking responsibility and the initiative to do something and getting feedback that you have done a good job. No amount of empty praise from adults can substitute the feedback of real success.

A big portion of the CEOs of the world had something happened in their childhood caused them to step up and take responsibility not only on their own lives, but also for their sibling’s.

I think early childhood responsibility is crucial in developing a strong adult.

Finally, I think that kids should be given the freedom to initiate their own projects and to pursue their own interest. This is the antithesis of the tiger mom way of raising kids, where every minute of their life is crammed and filled to the brim with work. This creates initiative and develop interests at an early age where they developed passion for somethings of their own choosing.

Unfortunately, both here and world wide, the trend is to give more things to the kids and shield them from any responsibilities to take care of themselves and others. Even in China, where life of the parents were difficult, it was always the norm to leave the kids with more material things and to shield them from hardship and responsibilities. And I think Chinese everywhere have a tendency to be the tiger mom when given the chance and not to allow their kids to pursue work on their own. I think more then the dysgenic trend, which would have an effect in a century or two, this trend of child spoiling will result in a lost generation in as little as a couple of decades. You can already see this in the current generation of Americans… _The Slitty Eye

The Slitty Eye blog is written by an “overseas Chinese” who specialises in Chinese and Southeastern Asian issues. He recently took time off to highlight a friend’s method of child-raising which contrasts with the “Tiger Mom” method made famous by Amy Chua.

The above “bare bones” three-point method is more suitable to older children than to very young children, who need to pack a great deal of basic learning (music, languages, motor skills, interpersonal skills, executive function, etc.) into a number of quickly closing windows of development. But even in early childhood, the above guidelines can be very useful.

In The Dangerous Child Method, early responsibility and self-direction are central. Material deprivation takes the form of a controlled gradual exposure to our decadent popular culture over a number of years.

Dangerous Children are trained in a wide range of competencies and skills development which would shock and scandalize most modern parents and child-raising specialists. So an outsider might well wonder why Dangerous Children and adolescents are so gradually exposed to the decadent popular culture. The answer is easy: Popular culture has cleverly evolved an ability to slip beneath an immature mind’s defenses in the fashion of hypnotic suggestion — particularly when constantly reinforced by peer pressure and relentless exposure to electronic media.

First help the child become strong enough to stand on his own terms — mentally, emotionally, and morally. Then he will be more than able to fend off the dysfunctional seduction of pop cultural programming.

Still, the brain continues to develop well into the twenties, and must be protected from damaging influences through most of adolescence — just as a fetus in utero must be protected from certain damaging influences until it is more developed. Different children will develop at different rates, but in general The Dangerous Child is expected to be capable of financial and life-planning independence by age 18.

In The Dangerous Child Method, if a child lacks the groundwork for responsible self-initiative by the age of 18, you may as well send him either to prison or college. And heaven help his professors, classmates, or fellow inmates if they try to push him around. 😉

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4 Responses to In Contrast to The Tiger Mom: A Slitty Eye Approach to Child Raising

  1. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Over the years I have seen many children raised to perform or to “be” geniuses. Some were indeed intelligent but in general what I think the parents did was not too dissimilar from teaching a dog to perform tricks. An illusion, a skiled performer, a dancing bear. Some do indeed go on to make something of themselves but most are one trick ponies who rise to the level of their incompetence in some field and dance through life. By contrast the numbers of successful people who rise above their roots usually on their own far exceeds the successes from tiger moms or Jewish moms. I suspect that a child’s position in the family, i.e. oldest, youngest, only girl, only boy, etc. is a far more useful predictor of success in life.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Quite right. Baby genius training etc. is not ready for prime time.

      But there are ways to detect aspects of nascent genius inside children, if it is there. If detected, parents have to decide how they wish to feed that genius. Expert opinion is all over the map.

      Here at the Al Fin Institute for the Dangerous Child, we believe that genius does not usually come ready-made, but must rather be boot-strapped from an assortment of more primitive tools. It is the shaping and use of those tools which forms the foundation of The Dangerous Child Method.

  2. Hell_Is_Like_Newark says:

    Finally, I think that kids should be given the freedom to initiate their own projects and to pursue their own interest. This is the antithesis of the tiger mom way of raising kids, where every minute of their life is crammed and filled to the brim with work. This creates initiative and develop interests at an early age where they developed passion for somethings of their own choosing.

    This^^^ x 1,000:

    I have never been comfortable with the ‘Tiger Mom’ approach. I had a ‘Tiger’ upbringing of sorts (though not to the level of Chua) and regretted it. So many hours spent forced on activities I had no interest or talent for was simply a recipe for misery. I didn’t find out what I was good at until I got out of my parent’s control in my late teens. Liberty to run your own life (even when you make mistakes) is precious.

    Chua’s methods to me turns kids into something between a performing monkey and an encyclopedia with a pulse.

    The Dangerous Child reminds me a bit of one scene in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” where the protagonist does a voice over, commenting on Marines towards the end of basic training. Paraphrasing here to the best of my memory:

    “Our commanders are pleased to see that we are growing out of their control. The Marines do not want robots! They want killers.”

    • alfin2101 says:

      HILN: I understand your point. But I am not ready to write off all of the methods of the Tiger Mom for every child. Some children require something of the sort while they are waiting to discover what they want to do. Children between the ages of 2 and 12 often have not decided where to direct most of their energy. If they are able to hit adolescence with multilingual skills, advanced musical/artistic/”dance” skills, outdoors skills, and a solid grounding in maths and basic sciences, their choices for more focused learning and training are almost unlimited. Young kids love to learn as long as there is a playful element involved. Let them wait until they are older to discover than not all children are given that type of boost.

      Youth between 13 and 20 need to be given progressively more freedom and responsibility simultaneously.

      Humans are natural killers, for the most part, under the right circumstances. Dangerous Children are, in fact, less likely to kill in a given situation than most, given their training in handling stressful situations. More capable of killing, sure, but less likely to do so.

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