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Dr. Wu's ebook - Chapter 4: Identify the Tiger-Parent Within Yourself

The Career That Stemmed From Dr. Wu’s Experience as a Tiger Parent

In our last chapter, we discussed Dr. Wu’s realization that she had become the Tiger parent she never imagined she would be.

“It took me a while to finally come to the conclusion that tiger parenting did not work. I realized that I was the one holding my brother back.” Dr. Wu explained in our interview.

For Dr. Wu, this style of parenting was going far beyond high expectations. It was fully taking the wheel, in an attempt to guarantee her brother’s success.

She elaborated by saying, “I was micromanaging him. I wanted him to study, grow, learn, and succeed. I didn’t want him to suffer, so I planned everything out for him. I was forcefully managing his life, and it was not working. All this experience made me realize that being a tiger parent did not help with a student’s long-term well being.”

Dr. Wu then began to recount the many repercussions that came from her micromanaging her brother’s life, and how her parenting style seemed to stunt his growth. “It took him awhile to mature, because I was unable to let go of my insecurity and fear.”

In the end, Dr. Wu was able to see the fruit of her labor once she decided to step back and guide instead of directly manage. “He was able to see the real world once I learned to let go. This journey opened my eyes to the idea that our education in its entirety, both academic and familial education, shapes our self-confidence, personality, and how fast we mature.”

Identifying the Tiger-Parent Within Yourself:

Whether it is Tiger Parenting, Helicopter parenting, or just plain old micromanaging, parents find themselves under the umbrella of “Tiger Parent” for varying reasons. Some refuse to see anything less than 100% effort, while others just can’t see their child fail.

Below we have listed a few signs that you may be “over-parenting” your child. Take a moment to self-reflect, and see if you find yourself in any of these examples.

You Struggle to Release Decisions to Your Child:

Does it bother you if your child wants to wear mismatched clothing? Or choose colors that you don’t really like? Do you struggle when your teen chooses a class or activity that you don’t think is suitable?

You Jump in Every Time Your Child is About to Fail:

If your child is young, this could be as simple as putting the puzzle piece in the right place for them. At an older age it could be completing an assignment for them that they forgot about. Maybe you remind them many times to sign up for an activity they want to join before the deadline, but they kept procrastinating. Do you give in and sign up for them?

You Communicate with Your Students Teachers/Coaches More Than They Do:

It is very important to be involved in your child’s education. However, as they mature they should be the ones who are communicating with their teachers. If they need to know something about an assignment, the student should send the email. If they will be missing a practice, the student should send the email. If they need to know details about a volunteer activity, they should send the email.

Your Child is Not Given Additional Responsibilities:

In addition to our child’s school/activity load, it is important to give them an appropriate amount of responsibility in the home. Household chores can begin as early as two years old. When we are done playing with our toys, we put them away. When we take off our clothes, we put them in the laundry basket. Each year we add more responsibility. Once our children are in high school, they should be able to function in the home independently. In addition, they should have at least one assigned task that takes care of the whole family, and not just themselves (i.e, cleaning the bathroom, washing all the dishes after dinner, mowing the lawn).

You Continually Focus on the Negative in Order to Push Your Child Harder:

Micromanaging parents often subconsciously pick out the negative in their child, or compare them to others in an attempt to push them harder. Ask yourself how often you verbally praise your child’s accomplishments, compared to how often you point out their mistakes.

You completely manage your teen’s daily schedule:

The skill of running your own schedule, and managing your own time comes with age. During the middle school years, we should be doing this with hands-off regular guidance. Once students are in high school, they should be able to manage their school work and schedules on their own. This includes managing their own homework load, keeping their activity time schedules in line, and keeping track of all the details in between.

Our Desire to Micromanage Our Children Begins When They are Young: My Experience

It’s hard to watch our kids “fail” or struggle, no matter the age. I’ll be the first to admit that the involved, but hands off approach is far easier said than done. My three year old daughter is very much in the thick of “I can do it myself.” If you have ever parented a toddler, you know that this is nearly torture for every adult. Watching them put their shoes on the wrong feet. Cringing as they slop paint on what has the potential to be a beautiful art project. Our impatience almost always gets the better of us, and we decide to step in and “help”. Otherwise known as, take over.

However, I have to remind myself that she won’t always do everything perfectly, and I cannot expect her to. One thing I know for sure, the moment I step in and start doing it for her, she immediately checks out. She is mentally done. This is now mommy’s activity, and not hers. A lesson that we as parents learn over and over again.

Overprotective parents often have different underlying goals. They helicopter over their child to guarantee they do not experience any kind of discomfort, to make sure they are making sound decisions, or protecting them from facing certain life consequences that stem from their behavior.

The Following Chapter:

Stayed tuned for Chapter 5, where we will examine the consequences of micromanaging. We will look at the direct consequences of those micromanaging areas listed today. We will also go a bit deeper to look at some research on the outcomes of over-parenting, as well as some personal thoughts from those who have been micromanaged/tiger parented themselves.

Catch up on previous chapters!

Written by Jade Rhoden

Edited by Yuhsien Wu

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