SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

A "Tiger Mom" Tells All

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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

 

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  • katiebug1998 By katiebug1998
    01.28.11  

    I guess I'll be the first to comment. I saw them discussing this book on Fox news. I personally think that children grow up to fast as it is and they need to be children. No parent is perfect but I do think that this style of parenting is a bit extreme and I don't agree with calling them garbage and pathetic! I think that extracurricular activities such as sports, plays, choir can benefit children more so than harm them. But I would rather see a parent who is trying to be a good parent than one who abuses, neglects, is a dependent on drugs or other.....

  • CarliAlice By CarliAlice
    01.29.11  

    This is the first of seen of this. I agree with Katie..children need to be children. Heck that's part of the joy of raising them. While I may agree with being strict about grades (but heck once my kids hit high school C's were good enough for me) calling names and degrading them is nothing short of verbal abuse. In the instances where I was so angry that I've called my kid a name (instead of correcting their behavior) I've always apologized. I don't want to do that to my kids...I was called names on a daily basis by my mother and it still hurts.

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    01.29.11  

    I have never seen or heard of this, but I think this chick is going overboard. I can totally relate to her forcing them to say play a musical instrument, because I have had to force my own kids into doing things they didnt want to do and they ended up actually liking it, but at least them THEM choose the instrument. It doesnt have to be an ultimatum, just something open ended thats makes then choose like ok do you want to play piano, violin, flute or tuba? Pressuring them the bring home nothing less than an A is setting them up for disaster. Sure, we would all love for our kids to have staight A's but the pressure on those kids alone must be overwhelming. I can see her wanting them to be the best they can be, but clearly when their best isnt enough they get verbally abused. what kind of message does that send? Im seeing lots of mental and anger issues when those kids are older. Poor things

  • msfriendly By msfriendly
    01.29.11  

    I think it's all about balance.....enough said.

  • girl17 By girl17
    01.29.11  

    I think the Tiger Mom style of calling your children names is inappropriate and hurtful. I also think not letting your children attend sleepovers and play dates restricts social growth. I understand wanting to have your children be good at academics but there is also a need to have your children be socially accepted too. I agree with msfriendly-there needs to be a balance when being in charge.

  • nancybaker By nancybaker
    01.30.11  

    Each parent makes the decision for their child(ren) according to religious, social, ethnic, emotional (and a hundred other) reasons. Today's american children are either being micromanaged throughout their day with school and extracurricular activities or they are sitting idle in front of a televison or computer screen. She is obviously coming from a place of deep cultural tradition and doing what she feels is best for her children; she may have strecthed the usual boundaries in some people's minds (and I personally feel the agressive and hurtful words are inappropriate) but have you seen that ridiculous toddlers and tiaras? I rest my case.

  • MadHatter By MadHatter
    01.30.11  

    I grew up in such a house hold so I know what she is trying to say. at times, i do have to agree with her at some points. I see kids on the buses or on the trains running around, hogging seats, screaming, spoiled beyond repair and the parents don't know what to do with them because if they lift a hand on their child, its abuse or such, but is it worth it to leave the child to run wild? she at least cares about her children enough to instill discipline. while most don't see it as such. I lived that life. this is how SOME Asians run their house hold. this is HER opinion and her results. I wouldn't have gone through the extent that she details in her books or follow my parents down their path in discipline, but i will probably use some of the approach with my own children.

  • sharman421 By sharman421
    01.30.11  

    How many traditional American parents allow their kids to play video games or watch mindless television for hours after school and on weekends instead of practicing an instrument or studying for an exam? I don't believe in forcing a child to play the piano or violin, but if the child shows a talent for it, it's the parent's obligation to "push". Whether that child is talented in math, writing, singing,or any of the arts, the parent should push the child to excel in that area; to make it a steady diet and part of their normal daily routine. If the child excels in science, then he/she SHOULD bring home A's in that area. The idea is to find your child's talent. Not every child is capable of all A's. But some are. And it's the parents' job to know. Children should have an extracurricular activity whether it's an instrument , a sport, a school club, or a hobby. Chua may be the extreme, but many families could glean something from her ideas.

  • jenndta69 By jenndta69
    01.31.11  

    I saw this woman on the Today show. When I heard of how she treated her children, I wanted to go into the TV and smack her in the back of the head. She might be getting results now, but someday, they will act out. They did everything she demanded of them, and still was criticized. I understand discipline, we are pretty strict with our daughter. But, if she does well in school and helps around the house, we praise her. It's pretty simple. She she messes up, we let her know. Children need supportive parents and love.

  • Von411 By Von411
    01.31.11  

    This is so sad. I just can't understand why she would do such a thing. I am sure her childeren would have exceled just as well if she had just shown them love and affection. I hope they do not do the same thing to their kids..

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