7 Signs You Might be a Tiger Mom

mom and daughter

If you haven't heard the term "Tiger Mom," you may be surprised to learn that people consider you to be one. You don't think of yourself as overly strict, rather, you set rules and expect your kids to follow them. You're not mean; you're firm and direct. You're not overbearing; you're protective. You don't push your children to succeed; you encourage them strongly in the right direction. For the tiger mom, all roads lead to success.

Is that you?

The term "Tiger Mom" became widely known thanks to a book by Amy Chua that presents a generalized view of Asian-American parenting styles as being superior to the styles of other cultures. However, the term has been around for a long time, defining parents who are heavily authoritarian and known for pushing their children to succeed at all costs.

mom holding baby

You Might Be a Tiger Mom if:

1. You make your children's choices for them - While parents should set boundaries, there is a difference between borders and prison walls. Kids need to experiment, try new things and even fail. Tiger Moms, however, can't handle that. Their kids have to excel and take the path to success, even if they don't choose it for themselves. For instance, if their daughter wants to play the electric guitar, it is forbidden. Instead, she is forced to master the piano or violin. If their son wants to join the soccer team, his interest is struck down--chess is better. Sound familiar?

2. Your kids aren't sure you love them for who they are - Tiger Moms tend to show their pride, support, and love when they are happy with how their kids perform. Even though their love may be unconditional, it's not expressed that way. While encouragement is great, Tiger Moms link their love to performance and push for the best every time, with great disappointment at failure.

3. Your well-meaning words are actually hurtful - Your kids know you better than you think they do. You can say something nice with a tone that conveys an entirely different message and they'll get the point.

mom talking to preteen daughter

4. You watch while they do the work - Children of Tiger Moms are often left to themselves to carry out orders. Parenting is about guidance and relationship-building, but Tiger Moms are too intent on kids doing it until they get it right, even if they have to stay for hours in isolation to "focus."

5. You're relentless - Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially kids. Being the constant watchful eye is not only exhausting for you, but it's also worse for your kids. Feeling constantly policed can even breed rebellion and lead to them breaking away from the rigid structures you've set.

6. Your relationship with your kids is centered around "activities," not each other - Your kids need you, but will they want you? Many kids of Tiger Moms withdraw and pull away from meaningful relationships because of the constant pressure to be perfect. In the long run, you risk losing them permanently once they're old enough to get away.

7. Your parenting style is exclusive to you - Parents talk, so do kids. Take a look at what other parents are doing. If you're the only parent with the number of rules, expectations, and scheduled activities that you have, you may be going overboard. While many parents have rules, few have them to the level of a Tiger Mom. If you're always the strict one, it may be time to reevaluate.