Amy Chua's controversial book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," and the accompanying publicity definitely got parents talking. Chua endorses a take-no-prisoners method of parenting where excellence is expected and excuses are not allowed. While it might not be the right type of parenting for every family, Chua outlines some of her rules -- including those regarding sleepovers -- which even more relaxed families can consider.
Chua made headlines with the release of her book in 2011 and the extreme parenting views it touted. In fact, Chua can be credited with coining and popularizing the term "tiger mom," which identifies parents who push their children to be almost perfect. In the book, Chua proudly lists off some of the things her children were never allowed to do, with social time, parties and sleepovers on that list.
Chua named specific motives for keeping her two daughters away from social experiences -- she preferred study and instrument practice time over time with friends. Rather than go to a sleepover, her daughters were expected to use their time in more constructive ways. A tiger mom is insistent that her children pursue excellence, which often means sacrifice at the child's expense. Sleepovers are seen as frivolous and unnecessary and are therefore replaced with other pursuits. In an article by Chua for NPR, she notes that the only pursuits which are acceptable to her are those which will eventually result in a medal -- so no sleepovers.
While Chua's method of parenting seemed to produce satisfactory results, it's not for everyone. Becoming a "tiger mom" and stopping your children from enjoying social experiences could backfire in the form of rebellion and missing out on social development. Even if you prefer that your child doesn't attend sleepovers, you can use alternatives to ensure your child doesn't completely miss out on the social aspect of spending free time with friends.
While sleepovers aren't for everyone, neither is banning social outings altogether. If you prefer your child doesn't attend sleepovers -- whether because you think they're a waste of time spent in better ways or you have safety and supervision concerns -- you can use alternatives to help your child feel included. You could have a "late-over" instead, where friends come over for a late night, but not to stay the night. Being in charge of the event means you get to create the rules and supervise to ensure your child is safe, happy and not spending too much time with activities you deem inappropriate.
- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother; Amy Chua
- NPR: Tiger Mothers: Raising Children The Chinese Way
- iMom: Sleepovers: A Sleepover Strategy that Works
- Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images