In the January 20 edition of Time Magazine, there appeared an article asking this question. The article is a response to Amy Chua’s new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Time’s article, and presumably the book, leave one wondering: Is it good parenting to forbid your daughter’s attendance at slumber parties, to forbid computer games, and to make her sit at a piano for five plus hours (until she gets it right)?
Good parenting, like good teaching begins with the knowledge that children are born persons. They bear the very image of God. As such, every child must be loved, cherished and treated respectfully.
Children are born “with a sense of may and must not, of right and wrong.” None-the-less, they are by nature often weak and ignorant, selfish and lazy. Thus, they must not be left to their nature. Sadly, “this is precisely what half the parents in the world, and three-fourths of the teachers, are content to do…
Well aware of our stance towards them, children “are always playing a game – half of chance, half of skill; they are trying how far they can go, how much of the management of their own lives they can get for the taking, and how much they must leave in the hands of the stronger powers.”
It is the duty of parents to be the “stronger power”, to support each child in doing what she “ought”, especially when she lacks a self-compelling will. In doing so, a “stronger power” exhibits the strength of a peaceful and fixed presence. There is no need for anxious invocations, name-calling, lectures or threats. At times, this means peacefully sitting on a piano bench beside the child, while she repeats each measure again and again. At other times, it requires overseeing from afar. In either case, the child must reckon with the presence of duty and must.
Growing children to maturity requires great effort from both directions – that of the parent and that of the child. On any given day, at any given time, it may not be easy. This is tough parenting! It is the office of parenting. Parents are compelled by duty to bring up every child to be his or her best.
 Charlotte Mason, Home Education, p. 14.
 Charlotte Mason, Home Education, p. 102.
 Charlotte Mason, School Education, p. 31.