Archive for January, 2011

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Parenting, parenting, parenting

January 17, 2011 – #2

But exactly what kind of parenting is the question these days.  (And, of course, Carnegie Hall is just a placeholder for whatever a parent’s idea of success is now.)

A new book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and a documentary titled Race to Nowhere are stirring the conversational pot on the standard for “successful” parenting.  One takes the “Chinese mother” super-disciplined view while the other argues that we are over-programming and over-stressing children into an unhealthy state.

An excerpt from the book appeared in the Wall Street Journal and generated roughly 4,000 responses to wsj.com and 100,000 to Facebook.  Here’s a glimpse of the book’s philosophy –

“Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

  •  Attend a sleepover
  •  Have a play date
  • Be in a school play
  • Complain about not being in a school play
  • Watch TV or play computer games
  • Choose their own extracurricular activities
  • Get any grade less than an A
  • Not be the No.1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • Play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • Not play the piano or violin.”


Photo:  Wall Street Journal “Sophia playing at Carnegie Hall in 2007″.

Whether you’re cheering that list or recoiling at a vision of social misfits, you’re not alone in having strong feelings about doing the right thing for our children

DYG SCAN® confirms that Americans almost universally (81%) believe that “once you have a child, your own needs come second”.  And we have shown a significant shift from indulgence to preparation when it comes to our children.  More and more agree that “good parents make and enforce strict rules for their children”.  In 1990, 57% strongly agreed; that number has risen to 71% today.

Of course, concepts like “strict rules” are defined differently across our culture. One certainty is that there is increasing attention, time and money being spent on preparing our children for success – whether that means Carnegie Hall or simply a happy life.

Business Implications: If anything has been amplified as a result of the economic implosion, it’s our collective conviction that we need to ensure that our children are prepared to succeed. Parents will reward marketers who help them find the effective balance in preparing their children for a productive, happy life.

Comments, questions, or just want to discuss this topic? Call or e-mail us anytime.