How do I deal with Tiger parents

My life with the tiger mother

I envied my German friends their parents. About the expensive Christmas presents, about a lot of freedom, especially when I hit puberty. When I was 15, my friends with the hippie parents didn't go to parties until twelve at night. I should have taken the last tram home by then. Nevertheless, I managed to secure important crash experiences and smoke a bong during the long break. But mainly because I got better and better at creating adventurous lies. To this day, my mother believes that the school principal did not give me a certificate for the 11th grade as a punishment for returning class books too late. In truth, my grades were on the decline, and I hid the certificate in the cellar. That was probably the best thing for both of us.

It's all ridiculous compared to how my cousins ​​grew up in China. They only had one day off, on Sunday afternoons. The rest of her life consisted of teaching, preparing and following up on it. I owe it to my tiger mother of all people that I escaped this drill. After studying in Europe, she would have got a top job in Shanghai or Hong Kong on the spot. But because she wanted to spare me a childhood in China, my mother stayed with me in Germany.

Asians are fanatics of education, some attribute this to Confucianism, others to the harsh competitive climate in society. Parents work their way to death and sacrifice all their energy and savings to ensure a bright future for their children. As a child you are pampered and the central star of the family. At the same time, one has a kind of lifelong debt to the parents. Most Asians I know, whether Chinese, Koreans or Vietnamese, feel the same way: You are grateful to your parents for the many sacrifices, but the high expectations are a heavy burden.
Before I graduated from high school, my mother often sat with me in the kitchen until late at night, desperately trying to teach me curve analysis. I didn't become a doctor or a lawyer the way they wanted me to be. I dropped out of my studies and instead opted for a job with catastrophic future prospects.

I have often found the way my mother tried to train me to perform as exhausting and exaggerated. However, she never let me doubt that she had a lot of confidence in me. I think the philosophy behind it, that education is the most important prerequisite for keeping options in life open, is absolutely correct. In my opinion, this idea has not caught on everyone in Germany. I do not think that children are overwhelmed when they are introduced to numbers and letters in a playful way in kindergarten. I find the whining about the G8 reform disconcerting: the earlier school is over, the sooner life begins in freedom. I also find it strange when good students are branded as nerds in the schoolyard. Some of my former school friends, who were highly intelligent, purposely got bad grades because of the social norm for having a five in math and physics. When they tried to scratch the curve in these subjects in high school, there wasn't much left to save. Fortunately, there are waiting semesters in Germany and a second (educational) path for everything. But what is fundamentally bad about being able to calculate?

Another good thing about my tiger mother was that I could rebel against something. Raising her to be more German-minded was a difficult process, but I didn't give up. After all, that's what she always expected of me. Over time, I must have talked her rather gruffly, because after my messed up studies she only said: “Do what you want, the main thing is that you are happy. And make money yourself. "In the meantime, I regret quitting my piano teacher at the age of 14. On this point, I wish she hadn't given up so quickly.

Text: xifan-yang - Photo: codswollop /