In a time when spankings and raised voices are often being traded for timeouts and “talking it out”, it is not surprising that Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is receiving so much attention. After the Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt from the book, thousands of people began commenting expressing anger over Chua’s self-proclaimed strict Eastern parenting style. The author later revealed in a follow-up interview with Wall Street Journal that she has received many emails and even some death threats in response to the excerpt.
So, what is it about the “Tiger Mom” parenting style that is getting everyone so worked up? In the initial excerpt Chua reveals some of the ways she believes the typical Chinese household produces children who are academically and musically superior to most other children. Chua says that she has never allowed her two daughters to go on playdates, attend sleepovers, watch TV, or be in a school play. They are also not allowed to choose their own extracurricular activities or bring home a grade lower than an A. Her daughters were forced to play and master both piano and violin and were not allowed to play any other instrument. If the children were disrespectful or showed disapproval of her parenting style she admits that she has called them “garbage”, “lazy”, and “pathetic” as a way to shame them.
And though controversial, Chua is quick to point out the success of many Chinese children who rank way above American kids in both music and academics. She admits that she is strict, but also says that she is more lenient than her parents were with her and has a great relationship with them. She has recently appeared in many TV interviews defending herself and the negative response she has been receiving. During an interview with Meredith Vieira on the Today show, Chua points out that many people are missing some of the humor in her book. She also points out that the last part of the book depicts an argument she had with one of her daughters that has since inspired her to loosen up a bit and allow her children to have a little more freedom.
What do you think of the response Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother is receiving?
Do you think the “Tiger Mom” style of parenting is too strict or can it work for some families?
Check out this video of Amy from TodayMoms -