Find Tuition/Enrichment Centres

Why I Won’t Be A Tiger Mum

I remember as a young child, my mother who is the disciplinarian, nurturer and provider all rolled into one, would cane me with a clothes hanger when I did not write my alphabets and numbers properly. I hated those beatings and resented her then. But as I looked back now, I have no doubt she did it out of love. She instilled discipline in me from young and as a result, I’ve grown up to be self-disciplined in my studies without her having to worry about my academic results. I was an above average student and had never failed a single subject in school tests and exams. But my mother is far from a tiger mum. She gave me freedom to choose my own schools and subjects I wanted to study.

The recent controversy stirred up by Yale law professor Amy Chua’s book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ set me thinking about my own parenting style.  I admit I’m a strict disciplinarian. I do not condone unreasonable temper tantrums and rude behaviour from my child. And I have no qualms letting my child know that I am displeased with her through time-outs, stern warnings, reprimands and the occasional smacks on the backside.

Of course, I have not and would never insult my daughter with esteem-bashing names like "garbage" which Amy Chua called her elder daughter in a fit of anger. I think that would be detrimental to her self-esteem and may have adverse effects on her self worth as a human being. And I don’t think I would force my child to take up enrichment courses that she doesn’t like or has an aptitude for. Neither would I demand that she gets straight A’s in her academic results, nor force her to practise on her piano from morning till dusk.

I say I wouldn’t be a tiger mum to my daughter because I don’t have the "fire" to impose such restrictions and rules on my only child. I think it is both mentally and emotionally draining to be a tiger mum, to be constantly lashing out at your child for not doing well or enough. I also do not want my child to fear me instead of love and respect me. I want her to grow up knowing that she has a choice, and that she has to be responsible for her own choices, good or bad.

My parenting styles would combine strict disciplining with generous doses of love and affection thrown in. I would always make sure she knows she is deeply loved, but I would also dish out punishments when she misbehaves or is unreasonable beyond control. And I would expect the best out of her, even if her best is not the world’s measure of success.

I don’t need my child to become a top scholar or world-renowned pianist, but I would be overjoyed if she is. As long as she has given her best and is happy, I would be contented.


Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing

 Tiger Mum is just telling

 Tiger Mum is just telling her story. She has her own character and own parenting style. She demonstrate a extreme example of tiger parenting. but she also agree that it is not applicable for all child as each child is different individual.

There is no one-size-fit-all kind of parenting. We, as parents, also need to do try and error, to figure out which is the best parenting suitable for our own children.

Hi duriz, you are very

Hi duriz, you are very blessed to have parents like yours, and you are passing this blessing to your daughter. Good for her!

I believe not many of us have parents who never hit/scolded or belittled us. That’s why some parents unconsciously or subconsciously modeled after their parents in parenting becos that’s the only ways they knew how. It’s sad but true.

So it’s important that we cut off those bad/negative parenting habits from our parents’ time and apply only the good/positive ones so that we don’t pass down the bad parenting styles to our children, and they pass down to the next generations. Like you said, parenting is never easy.


Hi Wesim, you are so

Hi Wesim, you are so blessed to have such a bright and teachable child!  

Like you, I’m strict with my child but I also allow her play & TV time (of course no violent shows), but she only likes to watch advertisements.

I can understand perfectly when you say you are stopping at one so that you can invest everything in her and give her all your undivided love. My sentiment too. But I won’t complain if God were to bless me a second child. 

Not me. I could never

Not me.

I could never be.

My parents never once belittled nor hit my brother and I.

Thus I now parent-by-example.

I truly believe and find it much more rewarding to be able to talk and reason with my 17-month old, rather than lecture (unnecessarily) or hit her.

I’m not saying that parenting is easy.

But look at those little faces, beautiful smiles, wonderful laughter and beating hearts that were once inside you.

Take a step back, a deep breath and tell yourself AND your child(ren) you love them.

No matter what. Unconditionally.


Confession of an almost-a-Tiger Mum

erh….my cousin & aunt said i have 40% traits of Tiger Mum. I do have a strict curriculum for my coming-to 4 years old girl. I did yell at her at times when she did her work incorrectly. However, she does have her play & TV time, so long she has completed all her work. 

Her phonics teacher said she is a fast-learner (i got this comment a lot from the rest of the teachers & relatives) and an extremely bright girl. She is able to do K2 assessment books and is now into series 9 Peter&Jane book (ladybird). So, i know she is at least more or less well-prepared for P1.

 I don’t expect my precious only daughter to get straight As all the time when she goes to school. She is no genius. She is able to make this far, mainly because of my strict teaching + a lot of reinforcement + enrichment classes + time & lots of $$$ invested in her.

That is why i am stopping at one.


Indeed, Tiger Mum methods are hard to implement and focus on extrinsic fear of failure, which is not predicated on real passion, hence temporal in nature. I support intrinsic motivations.

i suppose that is all

i suppose that is all mother’s wish

Yes, I am a daddy. My wife

Yes, I am a daddy.

My wife and I have an agreement. Should and when any of us feels that we are losing our cool over our son, we would walk away to chill out and let the other take over the situation.

I do hope our son will pick up our strengths and not our weaknesses.

Dear Alicia, I'm glad you

Dear Alicia,

I’m glad you feel connected with my article, and thanks for sharing the same sentiments as me. 

Well said on "We need to teach them how to think through education and love, not how to meet another person’s expectation. Becoming great in any field but lacking love, respect and an open mind will only create a selfish narrowminded person in the future." I totally agree with you!

Dear desertwind, Thanks for

Dear desertwind,

Thanks for sharing this interesting taxi story. I may just do the same before my DD starts primary school (bring her to a foodcourt! ), though I don’t quite agree with using monetary benefit ALL the time to motivate kids as it may cause them to grow up thinking that money is everything.

Money is definitely very important, as is proven in the taxi driver’s case in motivating his kids. But it should not be the main driving force in life.

Dear Mambobb, I feel so sad

Dear Mambobb,

I feel so sad and sorry for the mother who was lashed out at by her son at Mac. No matter what she did or said, she didnt deserve such treatment from her son in public.

Thanks for liking my article. I’m sure most parents want their kids to be able to keep up with society, but it’s crucial not to force it too hard on them or it may backfire one day.

Thanks, happy-to-be-mum.

Thanks, happy-to-be-mum. Glad to find several parents here with the same wavelength as me. 

Dear foreverj,I understand

Dear foreverj,

I understand what you mean by losing your cool during "meltdowns", but it’s good that you recognised it and apologised for it. That’s admirable cos not every parent believes in saying "sorry" to their kids. 

Personally, I feel that the one who did wrong shld apologise, regardless whether you are a parent or not.   

Happy Chinese New Year to you too! And yes, I will keep writing articles to inspire and encourage others. Thks for your encouragement!

Well said, tankee! I'm

Well said, tankee! I’m guessing you are a daddy, and a very hands-on and dedicated one too from your write-up. It’s so important for a father to have self-control cos most sons look to their daddy as example and role model.

Good job, Augmum! I'm sure

Good job, Augmum! I’m sure your kids appreciate you for your parenting style. I’m sure it’s not easy to hold our tongue sometimes in a fit of anger. But we must always try to curb our tongue than to say something we may regret later. Words are like water, once out cannot be retrieved.

Dear Chenonceau,

Dear Chenonceau, Trapwithin, Schweppes,

Thanks for appreciating my article. Nothing is more gratifying than when my article touches another person’s heart. 

Great writeup

Thank you for sharing. I felt an immediate connection when i read this as i share with you the same beliefs, stamina, discipline, respect and love for my children.

Choices will determine where a person will be headed in the future. Didn’t we grow up from this? And our children will grow up to make those choices themselves. Can we stop them?

Army(my son), Job, Marriage Partner….

We need to teach them how to think through education and love, not how to meet another person’s expectation. Becoming great in any field but lacking love, respect and an open mind will only create a selfish narrowminded person in the future.

(I can bet that given any opportunity, your kids will abandon a tiger mother when they earn enough money. Especially if the tiger mother becomes old and a financial burden, they will just dump them)

Mamalicious Alicia

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing Angelight, 

I don’t think it is easy to be a Tiger mum and being one may not guarantee that the kid will definitely do well.  No further comments except that to be able to bring out the best in our child is not an easy task and kudos to all parents who are able to do it – even more admirable are those who can do it without being a Tiger or Tigress! 

Recently one taxi-uncle shared with me how he motivated his 2 kids to do well in school.  He said during his time he failed in practically every subject and his report cards were full of red marks.  He passed up his Chinese paper blank with just one sentence – "I have done my best and this is all I can do".   Now his daughter is a graduate and a doctor and married well.   His son is in JC and aiming to go university.  How he motivated his kids when they were  young?  He said the day before they were to start primary school, he brought them to the food court.  What can you see at a food court?  Cleaning ladies and men.  He asked them do they want to be like them when they grow up or grow old?  Because that would be what they would only be able to do if they don’t study well when they start school.  Once they start school, the first test papers or two they may come back with 60+ marks.  Do not scold them or make any comments except to encourage them.  He said to his kids perhaps the next time you can try for 70+, and the next time 80+ and he rewarded them.  He told his girl he will reward her with SGD100 for each subject she obtain 90+ marks and SGD1,000 if she became the top girl.  True enough her girl was so motivated she topped her class for quite many years and into secondary school.  He has now promised to give his son SGD10K if he could get into the university.  He said he has no money now but he promise first and he will do it.  He is just a taxi driver but his kids really do him proud and he give advises to his friends/old class-mates/relatives on how to bring up, encourage and motivate their kids.

It was a really enlightening taxi-ride for me.  He was not a tiger dad and I admire him for it. 

I totally agree with you.

I totally agree with you. It is not easy to be a parent who is disclipinary and showered them with lots of love together.

I dont understand why my daddy used to cane me when I was naughty, or rebellious to my grandma. I believe RESPECT is the key word to learn since young.

I saw one incident one morning while having breakfast with my DD at Mac, one youngster around in his early 20s scolding and pointing his finger to his mum while having breakfast too. He doesnt show any respect to his mum at all. And he is showing to his younger brother a bad example too. 

My view of parenting is to keep our kids from harm, and always stay healthy. No lies , and respect others. To keep up with others on all the enrichment classes? Is not my cup of tea.. heehee..

Glad to read this article here. Not those competitive and finding ways for our kids how to keep up with the society.


great article!  totally

great article!  totally agree with you! 🙂

agree wif u that its

agree wif u that its emotionally draining to be a tiger mum. u need to be on your toes at all times, prick your ears and strain your eyes to monitor the kids 24-7. hence if anyone is a tiger mum, i honestly "salute" that person.

personally, i wld not call my dd "garbage" but i do not deny that during melt-downs, i may have lost it b4 and have used other equally demeaning words, for which i will always apologise. now that i’m a more experienced parent, i exercise more restraint over the usage of words even when i’m very angry. thankfully such situations r few and far between.

btw happy new year, and to more good articles ahead!! 





I absolutely agree on the "esteem-bashing".

It is actually similar to "people management"; eg criticise the act & not the person, give constructive criticism, never tell anyone off the open, give constant feedback, and don’t be stingy with encouragement & praises.

When DS mishaved, I will pull him aside and tell him the behaviour he just displayed is not appropriate and what is the desired behaviour. Never in the open, never use words like "what’s wrong with you".

Children model their behaviour after their parents. If we can’t control our emotions and create scenes in public, they would think that it is ok to behave likewise.

And similarly, we are happy as long as he has tried his best and checked his work for careless mistakes. Getting good position among his peers is a bonus.  

Thank you for sharing,

Thank you for sharing, Angelight 

Hi Anglelighti share the

Hi Anglelight

i share the same parenting style as yours. Some light punishments (like time out, or forbidden of computer games/ TV) at appropriate time when my child did something wrong when she was young. And i always reminded myself not to use harsh words on her in a fit of anger. 

Thanks for sharing.


I feel the same way. Thanks

I feel the same way. Thanks for putting those thoughts in writing.

This is so touching...

This is so touching…

Find Tuition/Enrichment Centres