In the past few years there has been quite a lot of press about cross-cultural differences in parenting. In particular "tiger" parent popularized by Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, has received a lot of attention. The whirlwind of information is confusing! As moms, do we need to more strict? how strict is too strict? Should we really force our children to practice that musical instrument, until they cry?!

Our newest study, to be published in Developmental Science, my colleagues and I were interested in looking at how psychological control, a characteristic of 'tiger parenting', influences children's stress response.

We asked mothers about their parenting style and computed a score for "tiger" mom characteristics, such as threats to withdraw love, over control, and shaming. We then put children through a small stressor. This stressor is designed to be similar to a stressful event that all children will experience at some point in their life. Specifically, children play a difficult game that is impossible to beat. We measure a stress hormone called, cortisol, in their saliva at multiple time points, before and after the stressor.

And the results are as you would expected. Higher levels of maternal tiger parenting is associated with higher levels of stress hormone cortisol.

One important caveat to keep in mind is that not all stress is bad. Sometimes we need a little bit of stress to motivate us. So perhaps the conclusion is everything should be done in moderation, even a little tiger parenting! 
 


Comments

sam
05/08/2017 1:24pm

wow

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Children who are raised by strict parents has a hard time dealing with stress, especially once they reach teenage years. I have seen some of my friends who have a hard time dealing with the problems that they have. Kids often talk back when they can't handle the mount of issues they have. Tiger parenting should not be used all the time for it only forces the children to do things that they do not want. A calm approach always work for the relationship between both parties does not get affected.

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06/25/2017 6:15pm

I am glad that I didn't experience tiger parenting. Tiger parenting is mixed of positive and negative parenting habit. This is where the parents are going to force their kids to be successful. I am glad that my parents are never like this because they are very u understanding. Even though your parents are tiger parents, they are going to have a kid that is successful, responsible for what they are doing in life and productive. We can be a tiger parent, but we nonetheless have to show them that we love them. We have to make them realize that what we are doing was entirely for them.

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07/01/2017 1:59am

This is why I don't understand western parents Your kids are not your friends, they are your freaking kids. Your parents are not your friends, they are your parents and you better show them respects the thing about parents, they love their kids, protect their kids and always want their kids to be successful. They support their kids financially, emotionally. I don't know about western parents. My mother is my mother, she's the best, she's not my friend. She is my MOM.

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05/09/2017 2:21am

I am not in favor of tiger parenting. I believe that balance is the key.
Your parenting should be a mixture of firm and soft parenting style. I think that if your parenting style is too rigid, there is a tendency for resistance and rebellion in the side of the child. On the other hand, if the parenting style is too soft, the child will be spoiled and will grow with no respect to his or her parents.

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05/10/2017 7:18pm

The role of parents is very important ,home is the basic institution The way parents behave counts a lot ,sometimes they have to punish the child too. Nice discussion love to read the post thanks .

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05/12/2017 10:55am

"Tiger" parenting, huh? I haven't heard about it before. I should find some more information.

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05/31/2017 10:51pm

I agree, stress can motivate. But anyway it's not good for our health.

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Sean Flowers
06/27/2017 7:26am

This is a fascinating post! I agree with what others have said about the need to provide love to balance out the controlling aspect of the parent-child relationship. However, I believe that this love must be expressed in a way that allows the child some level of independence in addition to nurturing. This relates to the "secure base" and "safe haven" concepts of attachment theory. And, just how the balance between control and love is struck will probably look differently based on cultural context, in the same way that secure attachment can vary in its expression.

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I can say that I have been raised in a strict household. My parents are very conservative. Our house can be described as the bulwark of innocence. I do not know if I should be fortunate for this upbringing. But I certainly at least am grateful that I have a household that I grew up in.

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