A "Tiger Mom" Tells All

   By drodriguez  Jan 28, 2011

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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mammamoy by mammamoy | Bronx, NY
Feb 26, 2011

I think "the tiger mom" has good intentions but her methods were definitely extreme. Being of Asian descent and also a mom, having raised three children I obviously would have changed some things but not go the "tiger mom's way". Children need structure and discipline in their lives but doesn't "fun" play a important part in their development. Children need motivation but to what end do we push our children without breaking them. They also need room to make decisions and mistakes so that they can learn from them.

skunky14 by skunky14 | PIKESVILLE, MD
Feb 06, 2011

I respect the way that the mom raises her children. But there are some flaws, just as how are the children suppose to learn from their mistakes and become better in life, if a mom is hovering over them and telling them what to do. Sometimes i feel that the mothers are controlling the kids life because that the children might repeat the mistakes that they did. How are the children suppose to have a life???

worthwhile by worthwhile | FRANKFORT, NY
Feb 05, 2011

There are many people who succeed outwardly but who are a total mess inside. Just look at the craigslist killer. He was extremely bright and going places in life until.....

desireemartika by desireemartika | Clarksburg, WV
Feb 03, 2011

Children should be able to be individuals and express themselves. Extra-curriculars make children well rounded and more accepting of different kinds of people (as after school programs integrate children of all cultures and backgrounds). I wouldn't say that being a "Tiger Mom" is wrong, although it seems to me entirely too strict and narrow minded. I had strict parents and appreciate it, but there is such thing as too strict; and calling your children "garbage" and "pathetic" is too far in my opinion. There are better ways to encourage people, especially the young and impressionable.

edbingham by edbingham | FORT WORTH, TX
Feb 03, 2011

I teach middle school and would agree that many of today's children lack a sense of pride or personal responsibility. While a few of 'Tiger Mom['s]' practices may seem harsh, I respect her decision to raise her children with high demands while really emphasizing the relationships and repect that she has with her children. It's a shame that many would rather ridicule her than look at a great deal of the parenting population, especially in low SES areas, that fail to provide their children with the support and family foundation that they need.

jane2581 by jane2581 | Tulsa, OK
Feb 03, 2011

I think its all about balance. She is a little too strict and most American parents are too lackadaisical, worried about being friends with their kids, and supportive of mediocre results. Its why we, as a country, continue to fall behind in education and innovation.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Feb 01, 2011

I don't condone her calling her children names but I see what she means with the kids of today! There should be more parents out there like her and we wouldn't have a high rate of teen pregnancies, gangs, and school dropouts! I believe in discipline not the kind were you beat your kid but the kind were the kids know who is the boss! I see so many kids that are spoiled and talk back to their parents! I would love to see "Tiger mom" give some pointers to those parents that just let their kids do anything! I command her for trying to give her kids the discipline, morals, and education they deserve! To bad so many parents out their don't care as much!

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Feb 01, 2011

LISA2699 - someone who gets my drift! :) I agree with your points! That is exactly how I feel about this situation. my parents beat me with a bamboo stick or a long feather duster! To this day, i never blamed them for how they raised me. I actually thank them and love them very much because with strong discipline, they also supported me with my decisions i have made in life.

LISA2699 by LISA2699 | Saugus, MA
Feb 01, 2011

I think that her children are probably going to be more well rounded giving members of society than some of the other children that are raised with more "love" than discipline. One of the reasons why I don't have children is because our country has gone crazy with letting children dictate how they want to be treated. They are children and we are the adults who should take responsibility and raise them. I don't really see calling a fat kid fat as verbal abuse. Maybe if we stopped enabling children we wouldn't have the most obese and ignorant children that this world is producing. Perhaps if I lived overseas I would have a child because then I could raise it how I see fit without people questioning how I choose to do so. In my house there was no way I could come home with a C. My mom would beat me with a wooden spoon. And even if she was just threatening to do it, I didn't want to find out. I got A's. I love that I was raised by parents who wouldn't accept failure.

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Feb 01, 2011

jenndta - I think after a while of the verbal abuse, you get use to it. I know that I have, and I don't let that ruin my day because I hear it so much, its normal. I don't know but each time i hear my dad calling me "useless" or "why get an education when you are worthless?" I actually strive to do better and better. However, that is why I feel and speaking from experience and growing up in such a house hold as the Tiger Mom illustrates, it's really not too bad. That is only my own opinion. :)

jenndta69 by jenndta69 | SHERMAN OAKS, CA
Feb 01, 2011

Your right, I do find it unacceptable. Especially because it happened here in the USA, not in another country. This was not discipline, this was verbal abuse that she did to her kids.

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Feb 01, 2011

jenndta - just because you find it unacceptable, doesn't mean that in another country its unacceptable. she was probably disciplined like this when she was a child so most parents will instill the same system that they themselves grew up with to their own kids.

Von411 by Von411 | El paso, TX
Jan 31, 2011

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..

jenndta69 by jenndta69 | SHERMAN OAKS, CA
Jan 31, 2011

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.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jan 30, 2011

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.