With summer vacation just around the corner, the kids are so ready for a break from school. If you're a working mom, you'll need to plan out their entire summer and there's a lot to consider.
There are two types of extreme mothers out there: the TIGER MOM, and the HELICOPTER MOM.
The Tiger Mom is based on Amy Chua's book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. After that book came out, there was a huge outcry from American moms who were horrified with Chua's parenting style. If you missed it, she demanded that her daughters play piano, and she wouldn't let them play with friends or go to parties because frivolous activities like that took away from studies and piano practice. The Asian stereotype!
The Helicopter Mom stops games before they end so that nobody's feelings get hurt, and she hovers over her children -- hence "helicopter", often doing their homework and chores for them. The overprotective stereotype!
Children raised by moms of either stereotype are doomed for some type of failure:
The Tiger Mom's kids might be virtuosos and mini Einsteins but they probably suffer from anxiety -- never being quite good enough and not having the autonomy to make their own decisions.
The Helicopter Mom's kids, on the other hand, might be stress free but they probably lack a full personal identity because they haven't had the opportunity to challenge themselves and work hard towards a personal goal.
Both types of moms interfere with their children developing personal character, having a sense of real accomplishment for reaching their goals, and understanding how to deal with setbacks and obstacles in the real world.
This summer, don't be a Tiger Mom. Don't make your child practice endless drills for the sake of "getting into college." Don't hold them back from being children because you want them to develop skills that you have decided are good for them. And don't control every moment of their lives so they feel like they're dead inside. You might be squeezing the youth right out of them!
This summer, don't be a Helicopter Mom. Let your child get some bumps and bruises. Stop catching them as they begin to fall because they'll never be able to make good choices if they don't have experiences to learn from. Living in a bubble will get boring and they might turn into terrors when they're older. That's bad for everyone! You might find that your kid loses motivation for doing anything because there's no real point in doing them. Let them experience the highs of winning and the lows of losing. That's how they become stronger, motivated, and wiser.
This summer, find a balance for your kids. Give them an enriching summer experience filled with teamwork, creativity, and challenges. Let them be part of the planning, implementation, and completion. Don't create unrealistic plans and don't micromanage their every move.
I like to call this "third way" the American Tiger Mom - that's what I label myself. By working with my girls to lay out exciting summer plans that included musical theater productions in our garage, culinary classes, and some academics (you don't want their brains to turn ENTIRELY to mush over the summer), their summers added the much needed break from school but gave them opportunities to lead and explore activities that they didn't have time for during the school year.