'Ditch the fierce Tiger Mom act, try Panda Parenting instead', says Esther Wojcicki, mother of two of America's wealthiest women
Seventy-eight-year-old Esther Wojcicki, the mother of two of America's wealthiest women Susan and Anne Wojcicki, believes that the time of fierce Tiger mom and helicopter methods of parenting is over. Instead, she advises mums to take a more relaxed Panda method of parenting. The mother to Susan, who is the CEO of YouTube with an estimated fortune of £385 million ($489million), and Anne, the co-founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer DNA testing company 23andMe who is worth £542 million ($689million), says that nagging will do no good.
"As a parent, you have to keep it zipped," Esther tells Daily Mail in an interview. "Panda mums aren't lazy. What they do is give children scaffolding to let them go free. Instead of always intervening, you only help when they need it." She believed in the method throughout her girls' growing years. So much so that when Anne wanted to drop out of Yale and be a nanny, she didn't intervene. Anne changed her mind later.
She also has advise about screen time. "You have to compromise. Let children have two hours screen time, with one hour on apps you think are important. Then, during the other, they can play on ones they think are important," says the author of 'How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results'. She also points out that parental control only works till they are 14, following which one can only "respect your kids' ideas and preferences, otherwise communication shuts down, just when they most need your support."
When Anne split from her husband in 2015, it was a troubled time for Esther as well, who really wanted to support her without being interfering. "That was really tough. I tried politely, but what can I do? Mothers are supposed to be quiet, right? I wish Anne and Sergey had had my book to read, put it that way. I’d have loved to have helped more, but you have to butt out," she says.
"We've sanctioned divorce to such a degree, a lot of us break up for silly reasons," says Esther. "Of course, I’m not talking about people in abusive relationships, but if someone's had a one-night stand that's regretful, but is it a reason to throw away a whole lifetime of memories? If you divorce, the model kids see is: 'I can’t work things out. I have no grit'."