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Puma moms- The Latin version of the Tiger Mom

Carli eliIn my field of work where I am exposed to working with the community all the time,I get excited every time I see Latina moms establishing their authority between themselves and their children. It takes me back to when I was a child and it was crystal clear who was boss in our household. In the Latino culture, we practice old-school values of respecting our elders and to never question, negotiate or demand in an aggressive, vulgar or disrespectful tone at risk of getting a “chanclaso”. According to urbandictionary.com, a “chanclaso” is an Hispanic term used when a flip-flop is tossed on your head as a form of disciplinary action the minute you crossed the line. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chanclaso Ask any Latino what that is and they will start off with a personal story of their own. Nowadays with so many regulations, laws and political correctness in our communities, “spanking” or being strict with your kids has been eradicated as an instrumental form of parenting. Unfortunately, this leaves many parents frustrated in child rearing because they fear that 1) the police may get involved or 2) fear of being ostracized in public by other adults or parents because disciplining your kids is “uncool” in our laissez-faire hip and modern society.

What are parents to do when their child is an unruly one? Is “time out” really effective for a child with a rebellious and difficult personality?http://www.parenting.org/article/time-out-guidelines-parents  Now let me be clear that I’m not in favor or support of abuse of anyone much less of a child but I do support and believe that parents have the absolute right to practice corporal punishment against their children in their homes. With so many kids who are taught in school to call 911 should their parents lay a hand on them, many parents refrain from doing so and the power ultimately lies within the child. Perhaps if corporal punishment was brought back into the home and in the school we wouldn’t see so many kids engage in unruly and abusive behavior against their peers and against their elders. In my opinion, all people need discipline and children are no exception and when done correctly the outcomes of a happy, healthy, structured, self-controlled child is often the result. Discipline, setting expectations and challenging children is the ideal model to raise stable, confident, dignified citizens of the world. Recently, I finished reading Amy Chua’s book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in which she reveals the secrets to her daughters’ success credited to her tough Chinese style of parenting and as a Latina I wholly applaud, endorse and promote her leadership as a woman and mother. http://amychua.com/  I remember when her book was released, many American moms criticized Amy for her tough stance and dismissed the practice of being a “Tiger Mother”, and I asked myself why the criticism if Amy’s daughters were highly successful? The establishment of rigorous, academic and extracurricular standards followed by high expectations allowed her daughters Sophia and Lulu to be accepted to play at Carnegie Hall and to study at Harvard and Yale. After reading this book, I asked my own mother “why weren’t you stricter with me as a child”?

Don’t get me wrong, 13 years in a Catholic school with already strict, conservative parents was enough to handle but at the end of the day I was an Honor roll student and a decent athlete; however, looking back I wish I could of done more! Had my parents demanded more of me perhaps I could have had an opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall or something similar with significant achievement or value. As a daughter, I am blessed to have had two amazing parents who have done everything in their power to raise me as a solid human being and professional.Values such as respect, character and dignity followed by love and a great education has allowed me to be the woman I am today. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many of our young Hispanics whose futures are bleak due to the alarming ropout high school rate. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 15% of Hispanic students are dropping out compared to 4% of Asian-American students. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16 Could this be attributed because Tiger mothers in Asian households are more stringent and exigent with their cubs? I think so and imagine what Latino moms can accomplish if they take a few notes and put this philosophy into practice? As Latinas, we should channel our love, our resiliency and our determination to strive towards excellence for ourselves as well as for our children. Because we value hard work and family so much, I think our time is now to be the new feline of the pack known as the “Puma mom”. I’m not an expert, not yet a mother but one thing is certain when that day finally comes, you’re looking at one!

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. -Dorothy Canfield Fisher



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Just as a point of reference, I AM a mother, have four kids, have never laid a finger on any of them and the school aged children are all on the honor roll; my eldest achieving the highest overall average of her entire middle school, which happens to be a gifted school. I grew up with corporal punishment, and can tell you with complete confidence that it has nothing to do with raising respectful, successful children. There have been many studies on the effect of corporal punishment, and if you cannot speak from the experience of raising a child, perhaps you may want to look into reading one of those.

Love your article!! I am blessed to have three daughters 15, 19 and 22. My older two were successful in high school and are successful in college and their career choices. I have always been a strict parent. When my kids were growing up I did spank their butts when necessary. As they got older, I was still strict but the spankings stopped and extra chores kicked in. Yes, our society as a whole is WAY to easy on kids today. We do have too many patents that want to be their friends instead of parents. I have always been the strict patent because I was raised by parents who let me be a free spirit, who didn't have rules and let me rule myself. I feel if I would have had someone kicking my butt and expecting something out of me I may have accomplised a little more in my life. Nothing is wrong with being a Puma mom as long as you balance love, strict patenting and encouragement through words and hugs.

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