Imagine growing up without being allowed ride your bikes around the neighborhood, cheer on your high school football team, go on sleepovers or — heaven forbid — get a B in chemistry.
Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.
But according to Amy Chua — she’s a Yale law professor and mother of two — this Chinese-style approach to parenting results in higher-achieving kids. This theory was the basis for her bestselling (and, let’s face it, controversial) memoir-manifesto, “Battle Hymn of the Chinese Mother.” (Listen to an interview with Chua on National Public Radio.)
Oh, it’s an interesting read.
In addition to forcing her daughters — Lulu, now 15, and Sophia, now 18 — to practice the violin or piano (no other instrument) at least two hours a day, she would toss back unimpressive birthday cards, ordering them to do better. They weren’t allowed sleepovers or play dates. Chua even threatened to burn Sophia’s stuffed animals if she didn’t improve her piano playing.
“What Chinese parents understand,” Chua writes, “is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.”
I don’t think I’d last past preschool in her house.
It’s no surprise that this book has spawned all sorts of criticism — even death threats — about everything from Chua’s racist views on parenting to her overly harsh methods for pushing her children to succeed. But her oldest daughter, told the New York Post that her mom’s “strict parenting forced me to be more independent.”
So what do you think about Chua’s severe methods of parenting? Too much? Or do you think children these days need this kind of strict guidance to keep them on track?
Amy Chua responds to uproar on PBS
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Amy Chua’s method of book marketing is good–her method of mothering (if her book is truly nonfiction) hurts. Some child psychology theorists contend, given the correct nurturing, children have a good idea of their own chosen creative purpose in life by the age of five (ex: Bill Gates). The scariest horror movie in Hollywood was the one where the child realized the monster under the bed is, well, Mom.
I wonder if she has another set of rules for managing her husband?? LOL
@eric That’s in Volume 2. 😉
Oh, Amy. I grew up in a household of high expectations and know others who have, but this beats everything I’ve ever heard of. This isn’t raising a kid; this is scarring a kid for life.
in college i had a gig as the lifeguard at the Student Center pool. every Wed night, twins,Winston and Elizabeth Chow were brought in by their mother and made to jump into the deep end.
Winston and Elizabeth could not swim worth a damn. water terrified them. as soon as i saw them come onto the pool deck, all ghost white, cold, skinny and shaking like leaves, i climbed down from the tower chair, got the long pole off the wall, let it out for them to grab onto and hauled their asses in.
many nights Winston would forget to take his glasses off and they would go to the bottom and i would retrieve them. he was alway so appreciative
i may be a slacker instead of a brain surgeon, like Winston’s mother insisted he would be, but if he is, at least i helped him survive the journey.
you can gen your own tiger-mom meme. BuzzFeed has a bunch displayed. the Bob&Ray of Asian chixxx, Jen&Diane, aka disgrasian have a good review on their website.
for every gem that plays Carnegie Hall at 14, how many countless others didn’t have the innate talent for the endeavor they were pushed to? what happens to them? how scarred are they as adults? most people are “average” by definition. a few outliers will shine in any given field, but the rest will flounder and burn out, probably.
Musically, i could have been made to practice 8 hours a day on any instrument and I still would have produced sounds that scare cats. if that psycho was my mom, she would have dropped me off at Carnegie Hall, only to find me, passed out in the ultimate kanak attack in a plate full of pastrami at Carnegie Deli.
Most Chinese kids don’t even flinch when they read about how strict she was, although not having play dates or sleepovers seems a little extreme. Not every Chinese mother is as extreme as Chua was, but many are strict over different things. IMHO most parents now are way too easy on their kids.
As a parent, I also stress hard work, delayed gratification and responsibility. I don’t use the same tactics as Ms. Chua, but I am strict, supportive, and have high expectations. More than I fear appearing to be over-the-top, I fear raising entitled, irresponsible and ill-prepared children of the everybody’s-a-winner generation, who struggle to create their own success and happiness as adults.
At the same time, it’s very important to me to allow my hard-working, serious kids the opportunity to develop their own talents, discover their own passions and know that their parents love them unconditionally. It’s a balancing act, for sure.
Of course her daughter will support her mom’s views. She’s probably scared to death of her!
She’s a tyrant. Her kids will probably resent her later in life, and transfer her tyrannical ways to the way they treat their own kids… by then her husband will have surely left her for a woman who doesn’t mind him holding onto his own balls. She probably keeps his in a drawer, LOL!
…and I’m basing most everything from what I read in the Wall Street Journal link about her that’s been going around all week.
CAT: I wonder if her kids will resort to drugs and alcohol as a result of their parents? If they don’t then the parenting was good. I told my kids my job was to see to it they survive to adulthood. That often meant being strict. Life is not easy…maybe some kids think that it is, so are so cavalier about drugs, sex, and alcohol. Strict parents never kill kids…drugs and alcohol have.
@Annoddah_Dave Growing up, the wildest kids in school were what we called the “PKs”–preachers kids. They rebelled against their strict parenting, and were always the ones getting into all the trouble.
I grew up with Japanese parents. My dad was only second generation, so he was a bit more of a tradionalist than my mom. While I felt my dad was a disciplinarian in our family, he never ever did say he “expected” us to be a doctor, lawyer or whatever profession which might be deemed highly respected. Instead, we were expectecd to do well in school, not get into trouble (bring shame to the family like get arrested) and find something we loved to do as a profession. It might surprise a lot of people because they think that Asian parents are very hard on their children. Yes, my dad and to some extent my mom was hard on my brother and I. But never did they deny us things like sleepovers, playtime with friends, extracurricular activities, etc. So I was never the greatest flute player, but it didn’t stop my parents from purchasing a flute for me. I doubt if they used Ms. Chua’s method I would have gotten any better. With my own children, I am the disciplinarian in the family. But this is in the sense that I want my sons to grow up to be respectable young men. My oldest son (4) is already hard on himself when he cannot figure things out. He gets mad and frustrated. It is not because we push him but rather he pushes himself. Is that not a better way? I think it is funny that my mother tells me not to push him too much. She worries about things like kids commiting suicide because their parents push them. I would much rather have a son who has self-motivation and self-pride rather than one who has to fit himself into what I want him to be. This past fall he played soccer. So he wasn’t the best player on the field, and maybe soccer isn’t the sport for him. But he had fun, learned a lot and maybe someday he’ll find it’s the game for him. I, as a parent, love him and will continue to support him in whatever endeavors he decides to take.
@islandgirlinnc Sounds like the healthiest parenting advice I’ve heard. ;^D
We need more like her.
Well I have to agree with @padams , I’m a little leery of Ms. Chua as it is my personal feeling that she is slightly exaggerating things to push all the right buttons to get people to talk about and/or buy her book. Note that I said “slightly”, as I have witnessed parenting close to this with some of my former classmates, but I dunno…something about her story just doesn’t sit right with me IMHO.
But anyway, let’s have some fun with it. Here’s Taiwan’s Nma.tv’s take on this whole thing using their infamous animation:
Also, the creation of the meme: “Tiger Mom Says”:
I’m Chinese and my mom wasn’t even close to raising us like that.
I’m all for ultra strict parenting
Just watch the MTV show “Skins” and you’ll see what happens when parents don’t put much effort into raising their kids.
Below is how I believe you should encourage a child’s interest, instead of forcing them into your own pre-programmed interests with no individuality or passion for what they want to do. And what better a success story than below?
From Mark Zuckerberg’s dad in a USA Today article:
“Probably the best thing I can say is something that my wife and I have always believed in,” he said. “Rather than impose upon your kids or try and steer their lives in a certain direction, to recognize what their strengths are and support their strengths and support the development of the things they’re passionate about.”