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Education is a social process; education is growth;
education is not preparation for life, but is life itself.” ― John Dewey

I recently read an article about ‘Tiger moms’ and ‘Elephant moms’. No, this has nothing to do with animals, or even Astrology. The article outlined two different types of human mothers. A ‘Tiger mom’ is a strict disciplinarian – a mom who wants to instill in her children the competitive spirit. While an ‘elephant mom’ is a more protective, nurturing mother who believes that her children will do well only if they are raised in a caring environment with plenty of support and encouragement.

Here’s an interesting conversation between the two types of moms.

[TIGER MOM]: I do not believe in the saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child”
[ELEPHANT MOM]: It probably means that if you don’t beat your child, your child will… becomes irresponsible? I’m not sure it’s true!

[TIGER MOM]: No, it doesn’t mean ‘beat’ in the literal sense. More like ‘discipline’.
[ELEPHANT MOM]: Discipline is alright. I think a certain amount of discipline is necessary,  especially for children. As long as they are not treated like circus animals!

[TIGER MOM]: Children need to be ‘nudged’ in the right direction from time to time as they can lose their focus easily. They are young and inexperienced. They do not know right from wrong.
[ELEPHANT MOM]:    But not rods, sticks or baseball bats and what not! It is important that they learn from their experiences also. We shall protect them to make sure they do not land up into any trouble. After all learning on one’s own means learning for life!

[TIGER MOM]:  I like to prepare a schedule for my daughter and I expect her to follow it. Else she knows I will not be lenient with her.
[ELEPHANT MOM]:  Well, I believe that children can flourish without the bounds of discipline.  A  pinch of encouragement, a dose of care and a dollop of trust are great ingredients to success, methinks.

[TIGER MOM]:  Methinks this is a recipe for lazy, careless and unsuccessful kids! [LAUGHTER!]
[ELEPHANT MOM]: Well, for a child to be emotionally well balanced, you need to care for them.

[TIGER MOM]:  Many ‘tough moms’ have successful children. And they even credit their moms for it.
[ELEPHANT MOM]: True. But I know a lot of successful people who have had a more lenient upbringing. And research has shown that most of these adults are happier. After all success does not equal to happiness. And life is more about being happy and healthy than merely successful.

[TIGER MOM]: Hmmm… Maybe it’s also how you discipline your child, right? Parents often yell at their kids if they’ve had a bad day at work and children are easy targets. In fact, I think a parent needs to assign responsibilities, and then take action, if they it’s not done properly.
[ELEPHANT MOM]: Yes, but you can do it without the negative reinforcement. Just a calm, firm “No!”, or “Please get it done at the earliest!” Should be fine.

[TIGER MOM]: Not in my house. “Getting it done at the earliest” means different things to different children!!!

[ELEPHANT MOM]: If children are sensitive, responsible and well-behaved then they are entitled to enjoying life.
[TIGER MOM]: They have all their life to enjoy. Once they are successful they can have their fun.

… And the debate between goes on…

Both mothers had their own point of view about the right way to raise children. Who’s right, and who’s not is still up for debate. While the ‘tiger mom’ camp will point out to various studies that prove that children of tiger moms are financially better off on an average, the ‘elephant mom’ supporters will question if they are happy, content and emotionally balanced?

In conclusion, I’d like to paraphrase Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar, a mom and a blogger: “The best parent you can be is the one that you want to be. There is no perfect parent, just as there is no perfect kid.”

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