More on Tiger Moms (reader response)

In Archives, Uncategorized on January 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I appreciated the mail about “tiger moms” and the psychological consequences it bears. However, I am not sure about the idea that “there is nothing culture-specific about ‘tiger moms.'” I think the way you raise your children is a reflection of your idea of persons and societies – if you want, your ideology. In a way, you have to ask the question: what is the purpose of life? Is it happiness, or is it to serve a greater cause? I think that the idea that you raise a child so he will be an happy adult makes sense in an individualistic society; in such a case, yes, you can move to the instrumental question: “does realizing ambitions bring happiness?”

But in different types of societies, you may just expect that your child will serve the purpose of making you – and the family – happy, not necessarily to be happy her/himself. Or, you may have a theological view of society: you don’t want an happy son or daughter, you want a pious one, who will go to Heaven after death. The Catholic sense of guilt is not concerned with shaping happy people; actually, unhappy would probably be better, as suffering is a way of expiating – I am actually simplifying a bit on Catholic religion, here. But, whatever.

So, maybe tiger moms are cultural, in the sense that they are framed in a different view of what being a man, and a son, means. Thoughts?


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