Extreme Parenting

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Extreme Parenting
There is a child who is never allowed to attend a sleep over or have a playdate. A child that must constantly practice the violin, do homework, and is never allowed any free time to do as she pleases. This is the child of an extreme parent. Parenting methods have long been a subject of controversy, but a new trend in parenting called “Tiger” parenting may be the most controversial of today. The method of extreme parenting or parents that go to extreme lengths to give their children a head start over their peers can actually be quite detrimental to a child’s proper development.

Extreme parenting is considered effective by some but, ineffective and bordering on abusive by others. Extreme parents, also known as “Tiger” parents, go beyond normal extremes to compel their children to succeed. They do this by forcing their children to participate and excel in a certain activity. They often use harsh punishment for failure, but believe that their actions better their children. They are different from the “typical” parent because of how they define their child’s success and happiness. According to the article “Key Events in the History of Extreme Parenting” from Facts On File the release of Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in January 2011 sparked a debate between people who see Amy Chau’s extreme parenting style as essential to help children reach their full potential and those who think it borders on child abuse. (Key Events) The subject of extreme parenting is a sensitive one in which many people have very strong and differing opinions.

Most people agree that children need discipline in their lives but the line between what is appropriate and what is not has been blurred. Both extreme and permissive parents believe that their style of parenting is what is best for a child’s personal growth. An extreme parent is very involved with their child’s life and often makes all of their decisions for them. These parents will use harsh disciple to keep their child in line. A permissive parent allows their child to have a great deal of freedom and will use few or no forms of discipline. Both kinds of parents, of course, believe that their way is the best.

What harm or good can come from a parent being too controlling or demanding of their child is the main dilemma for parents. Another main area of discrepancy is what each kind of parent considers abusive behavior. In an article by C. J. Newton, a learning specialist, he helps to distinguish exactly what constitutes emotional child abuse. The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect describes it as “acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.” The article then goes on to list the various kinds of abuse. These include belittling, coldness, cruelty, harassment, isolating, and rejecting. (Newton) However, not all parents may agree with this definition of abuse or feel that the benefits still outweigh the faults.

The children of “Tiger” parents may be good at school, sports, or playing instruments but there are definite drawbacks. Many different studies and surveys have been conducted on the subject and they have all come up with very negative results. I also conducted a survey on extreme parenting. The survey was given to 50 random students who are currently members of Professor Van Eck’s English 250 class at Ferris State University. The results of this survey were also considerably critical of extreme parenting. “Tiger” parenting is extremely rough on children and can hurt them psychologically and emotionally. The lasting scars that this parenting style inflicts on children can never measure up to the benefits.

Supporters of extreme parenting say what many people consider aggressive or extreme parenting techniques are just a part of good, responsible parenting. Amy Chau is the Chinese American mother of two daughters and the author of...
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