Parenting Techniques

by Katy Yut

Preface

Parents majorly influence their child throughout their lifetime-- leading, teaching, and supporting during the essential years of development. It is during these years that children find who they truly are and what they are passionate about. Without a proper upbringing, people may grow up to be lonely, unsuccessful, and unhappy. The struggle for most parents is in finding the balance between overly challenging their child and not pushing hard enough.

The Struggle Towards Success

As a human being, each individual spends their entire life striving towards success. Since birth and until death, every action is made to attain happiness, wealth, love, status, power, and other goals. Parents are a key component in this process, raising their child while instilling certain characteristics in their personality. When parents give their child a heavy burden to carry with the expectation of them to carry it, the child will either rise to the challenge and achieve greatness or give up and accept defeat. But if parents never allow their child to struggle, success will never be attained due to the lack of confrontation, because, as Napoleon Hill once said, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”

Research Connection

After surveying a multitude of middle school and high school students, it became evident that many children agree with their parents' parenting techniques, but would make certain changes. Parenting is not a science, but an art. The interpretations are infinite and there is no right or wrong answer, only a right or wrong outcome. A majority of students surveyed ranked their childhood as a 70% or better, while none ranked it lower than a 30%. Most parents were said to be moderately strict academically, and not strict whatsoever in visual arts, which some students complained about and others desired (Yut). The figures in The Struggle for Success are shown facing adversity, represented by the large boulders. Those at the bottom of the slope are putting forth the least amount of effort and getting the least results, while those at the top are investing all of their strength and are being rewarded.

Failure in Happiness

I wasn’t a failure because I was committing suicide. I was committing suicide because I was a failure.

My entire life was flashing before my eyes-- snippets of happy memories turned sour. I had an amazing childhood, with hardly any adversity and constant fun. My parents never forced me to participate in activities I didn’t enjoy and tried their best to make life easy for me. And it was. I didn’t do sports, or art, or music, and I wasn’t particularly smart. I spent my time in my room, watching movies, reading books, playing video games. Life was good.

Then everything changed. I graduated from the tiny, decrepit local high school and the real world smacked me in the face. I didn’t get into the college of my dreams, I couldn’t get a job, and my social life started to crumble. I realized that while I was strolling through life putting in zero effort and only doing the bare minimum, everyone else was striving towards their goals and accomplishing amazing feats. I had never earned anything in life, and yet I had still expected to succeed.

My life until that point was a complete waste-- the epitome of failure. I decided to change, to turn my life around and accomplish greatness. But no matter how hard I tried, I failed. I had spent the first two decades of life perfecting my technique of doing absolutely nothing, and now it was a habit I couldn’t break.

I couldn’t live with myself. My existence was a waste of space. I didn’t deserve to walk among people who succeeded. My parents never made me work for anything-- they gave me everything my heart desired. But that had to end. That’s not how life works. Suicide was my gift to myself and to everyone around me. I would no longer be a damaged disappointment to humanity. My death would be my greatest accomplishment.

Research Connection

In contrast to the Tiger Mother style adopted by Amy Chua, the narrator's parents demonstrate the opposite extreme-- permissive parenting. Permissive parents are lenient and indulgent, often attempting to be "more friend than parent" (McGolerick). Instead of using adversity to teach their child essential lessons in life, these parents eliminate hardships at all costs to mitigate as much stress as possible. While this may yield a happy childhood, eventually "the real world [will smack the child] in the face" (Yut). As these children age and develop, they struggle to succeed because their parents had "low expectations of maturity and self-control," which causes them to have low levels of maturity and self-control (McGolerick). If the people who raise and teach their child, who are ideally supposed to love them the most, do not believe in their ability to accomplish their dreams, how can they? Without success many fall into a state of depression, believing themselves to be a "damaged disappointment to humanity" (Yut).

My Parents Always Said

My parents always said

That education is essential.

That without it,

I wouldn’t get into college,

Or get a job,

Or be successful.

That life without success

Is like the sky without stars--

Dark and empty.


My parents always said

That 100% isn’t enough.

That there is always someone else--

Someone better.

That no matter how hard I try,

I will never be the best.


My parents always said

That friends are a waste of time.

Time that could be spent studying.

Or practicing.

Or working.

Time that had better uses

Than friends.


My parents always said

That anything below perfect was Unacceptable.

Shameful.

Embarrassing.

Dishonorable.

That perfection wouldn’t strive for me,

That I would have to strive for perfection.


My parents always said

That I would never be good enough

If I didn’t work hard

Every single minute

Of every single day,

Because time goes on,

Even when we waste it.


I always said

That my parents were too mean,

Too strict,

Too forceful.

That they were wrong,

And grades didn’t matter,

And practicing was pointless,

And friends were great.


I always said

That life was no fun

The way my parents wanted me to live it,

And they didn’t know

What was best for me.

That no matter what I did,

They would never be proud,

Or content,

Or happy

With what I do.


Now I always say

That without my parents,

I would be nowhere.

That they were right,

And the struggles I faced made me strong,

And independent,

And talented,

And smart.

That my accomplishments

Are all because of them,

Because they taught me discipline,

And passion,

And focus,

And perseverance.

That the world is a mean place,

And because of them I’m strong enough to fight it.

That they gave me the greatest gift of all--

Myself.

Whole, and capable.

Renowned, and accomplished.

Successful, and happy.


Now I always say

That my parents

Took away everything

And taught me how to earn it all back.

Research Connection

As seen throughout Amy Chua's "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," success is the key to happiness, and hard work is the key to success. The meaning of the poem "My Parents Always Said" as a whole embodies that "[n]othing is fun until you're good at it" (Chua 29). Perseverance and focus lead to great accomplishments, which is the primary aspiration of a majority of the world. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children's future happiness by pushing them to strive for the best. Children are vastly underestimated and can typically achieve high expectations if the correct parenting styles are employed. In today's society parents spoil their children with anything and everything their heart desires, when, in contrast, they should "[take] away everything/ And [teach them] how to earn it all back" (Yut). Children of today should be taught that money, success, and happiness are not their birthright, but a privilege that must be earned with constant effort and determination.

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