We only need to look at Michael Jackson to realise that denying children the freedom to discover who they are and find their passions as Amy Chua suggests, could lead to a tragedy. Jackson’s draconian father used similar parenting techniques to Chua, denying him a childhood, hitting him if he didn’t practise enough, and accepting nothing less than his son being a star.
In trying to heal his pain, Michael sought to relive his childhood through his ‘Neverland’ estate and seeking the company of children, changing his appearance, and finally succumbing to drugs to numb his feelings. Will Chua’s children end up doing the same? Perhaps not, but the stakes are too high for parents to gamble their children’s future on this parenting style.
Being a "good enough" parent as Judith Ancer suggests, is also not sufficient. As parents we have a specific responsibility to our children to be consciously present as they discover their uniqueness, bearing in mind that each child is as exclusive as his fingerprint.
Our role is not TO DO TO our children by rewarding, punishing, disciplining, and controlling them. Nor is it burden them with adult responsibilities as we abscond from ours. It is only by letting them be and paying attention to who they are that they can truly fulfil their passions.
Our function as parents is to keep the connection between us and our children strong by taking an interest in what gives them joy and pleasure. Let them express their desires, dreams and wishes without passing judgment. Allow youngsters to make mistakes and learn to persevere despite their failures. Teach, guide, support, and role model appropriate behaviour, while letting them discover their own uniqueness, and in doing so fill them with a special kind of love - feeling understood by their parents.