Amy Chua: Taking a Fresh Look at the Controversial “Tiger Mom” of 2011 by Cornelius Grove

Parenting Opinion
6 years ago

Amy Chua: Taking a Fresh Look at the Controversial “Tiger Mom” of 2011

Her book brought a torrent of disagreement. Amy Chua said "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" was supposed to be about how Chinese parents are better at raising kids, but it turned out to be about a bitter clash of cultures. Let’s take a fresh look. Chua’s mothering personifies key features of East Asian parenting. They… 

  • make academic superiority the unrivaled top goal for their kids.
  • accept and maintain full responsibility for this goal’s attainment.
  • relate to each child in a manner like that of an athletic coach.
  • respond to poor performance as a diagnostician and remedy-dispenser.

Each of those implies the absence of practices typical of American parents. East Asian parents DO NOT… 

  • make well-roundedness the goal for their kids (with academics as one element).
  • assume that teachers have primary responsibility for kids’ academic learning.
  • relate to each child in a manner like that of a supporter or cheerleader.
  • respond to poor performance by maintaining the child’s self-esteem.

Yes, a bitter culture clash. We’re paying attention because East Asian kids are academically superior. But why? It’s largely due to their parents’ child-rearing practices.

What do you think?

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Elisa Schmitz
This is fascinating, Cornelius Grove ! I remember when Amy Chua's book came out, and yes, it was so controversial. But since then, there has been the advent of the Helicopter Mom and even the Lawn Mower Parent, which shows that there are many parenting styles that today's parents seem to be adopting. I try not to be judgemental, but parenting has certainly changed since we were growing up. My parents gave me a lot of independence and I learned so much by doing things on my own. While it was hard at the time (being a latch-key kid, etc.), I don't think I would go back and change it because I am who I am in large part because of it!

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