She says her children were never allowed to:
attend a sleepover;
have a playdate;
be in a school play;
watch TV or play computer games;
choose their own extracurricular activities;
get any grade less than an A;
not be the number 1 student in every subject except gym and drama;
play any instrument other than the piano or violin and
not play the piano or violin.
I had countless numbers of sleepovers, and playdates every weekend. I was in school plays, I watched TV, and I was allowed to choose my own extracurricular activities. I played the guitar, after a few years at trying my hand at the recorder and violin. Clearly, this mom would have disowned me.
Last summer, my four year old played soccer for the first time. Initially he didn't want to, but I told him to try first, and then decide if he didn't want to play. With each game, he got more comfortable on the soccer field. He never scored a goal, and he didn't bend it like Beckham, but I was still the proudest mom there, cheering from the side lines. After each game, I hugged him and told him I was proud. He felt like a soccer superstar, and I'm glad. It is very satisfying to see confidence grow in your children.
When I was growing up, I played soccer, too. I never scored a goal. I was more concerned about my hair, and my friends and I would huddle together, gossiping, as the other team scored against us. My dad was the coach, and he'd tease us after each game and we'd laugh along with him. After all, we were only playing for fun.
As a child, I was enrolled in many extracurricular activities: tennis camp, swimming, ballet, jazz, guitar lessons, Brownies and Girl Guides, Greek school, Sunday school, art classes and more. I was never forced to take anything I didn't love.
I remember staying up late some nights with my father, practicing my Greek school homework, and to this day I have a story memorised that I struggled with in grade four. I was pushed to do better, but I was never pushed to be perfect.
If I wasn't doing well in a certain class (always math) my mom would hire me the best tutor around. She wanted me to succeed and to do good, but I never felt immense pressure. I was allowed to be me, faults and all.
I watched as much TV as I wanted—it was never an exorbitant amount of television, because we were so busy doing everything else, but I didn't hear the word 'no' too often.
We travelled a lot, and spend our summers in Greece. Being a well travelled child taught me a lot more than the textbooks did.
Of course, I did have plenty of rules, coming from a Greek household.
Greek parents are strict, proud, and want the best for their children. However, their hearts are filled with love and acceptance, too. And that's the most important thing. To know that no matter how many B's (and C's) you get on your report card, you'll still feel accepted and loved. That's what makes a confident child, a successful child.
Greek mothers feed their children well. Greek mothers spend hours in the kitchen, making the perfect meals for their family, three times a day. (*with the exception of Loukia.*)
Greek mothers worry about their children all day and night.
Greek mothers insist their children don't move out of the house until they find someone to marry, and then they hint about how great it would be if they moved in the same neighbourhood.
Greek mothers are proud of their children's achievements but don't necessarily push them to the point of exhaustion.
Greek mothers would rather their child has a good night's sleep, rather than waking up tired after staying up too late studying for a test.
Greek mothers know that if you put your mind to something,you can make it happen and if it doesn't work out, it's okay, too.
Greek mothers yell and fight and make a big deal about every little thing, and scare you with stories of 'back in the day', but at the end of the day, all troubles are forgotten. And you're given more food to eat.
I can't imagine not supporting my children, even if they aren't perfect at everything they do. I am so glad I'm a Greek-Canadian mom and not a Chinese mom, if Chinese moms are, in fact, the way Chua describes in her article.