Thursday, January 13, 2011

First post

I have been contemplating for a while writing a blog, and the recent article by Amy Chua on the "Chinese Style of Parenting" was the perfect impetus for me to start. While I strongly disagree with her so called "Chinese style of parenting," I do think it is very interesting food for thought in terms of what are our responsiblities as parents.  How do we raise children that will turn out to be well adjusted, contributing members of society?  I think that is the minimum bar we set for how we want our children to be as adults. 

I found myself really analyzing my parenting as a result of this article, and it particularly struck me yesterday while I was helping my older daughter, who is in 5th grade, study for a big test. I know I am tough on her when it comes to studying. I believe that you need to study until you can get all the information correct (when you have a review sheet) in advance of the test. Also, you need to start studying as soon as you know you will have a test. Don’t leave it to the day before the test. Then, however you do on the test is the best you can do. I wouldn’t let her stop studying and watch t.v. when she was able to answer most, but not all, of the questions correctly. She had been studying for about 1/2 hour at that point, not hours. Earlier in the week I made her re-write a paragraph for a school assignment because I did not think she put enough thought and effort into it as she is capable of doing.

I struggle with whether that make me not nurturing enough, and too tough.

I came to the conclusion that it is my responsibility as a parent to teach my kids to work as hard as they can because that is a very important life skill, but then be nurturing and comforting with however they do in school. Chu wrote that Chinese parents always take the side of the teacher or coach, and that is certainly not my approach. I consider myself my children’s advocate, and have certainly spoken to teachers when I thought the teacher was off base.

However, while the two older girls were doing school work yesterday, I put on music and danced with the youngest, who is in 4 year old nursery school. This is not something that happens very often after school. Without have put any thought into this, the priority of my time after school is helping/overseeing homework, and keeping the youngest one occupied so she doesn’t disturb the older girls doing homework. I suppose the thought I did put into it, is making sure that I am home after school, as many working parents are not home until several hours after school is over. We had a great time dancing which also got me to think about whether the priority of homework over playing with me is the right priority. I realize that ideally both would occur simultaneously, but I just can’t do that, though I wish I could. I do set her up with some kind of activity or play date with a neighbor, but yesterday was unusual that I gave her one on one attention for a significant period of time after school. Part of that is the reality of three kids who have different needs, but I struggle with whether my priorities correct.

I’m sure this is an on-going challenge. Especially, because each kid has such different needs and those needs change as the kids get older. I do believe that thinking about it and discussing it ultimately does make us stronger parents.

2 comments:

  1. kudos to you on starting a blog! i hope you continue to write in here. nothing wrong with having some fun bonding time with any of your kids, as long as you know you already what priorities you have set in place for each kid for what needs to get done after school. i can imagine that it gets harder when the kids get older and have more responsibilities.

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  2. I was thinking as I was reading this post that I will have it a bit easier because my kids are so much closer together so their needs are more similar. But then comes the problem of not having the time to give them one-on-one attention as I belive they all deserve. It truly is a balancing act, and I'm looking forward to being part of your blog and thought process.
    I really don't know what I'm going to do when they start to have homework and need more attention from me other than being given dinner, baths and bedtime.

    Ilana

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