Vote: Battle ensues over “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”

  • By Sarah Jackson
  • Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:03pm
  • Local News

Ah, parenting.

Nothing could be more complicated and yet everyone, even some parents, seem to think it’s simple.

Enter Amy Chua, a Yale law professor and the author of the sensational “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” her first-person account of the dramatic differences between Western and Chinese parenting styles as illustrated by her experiences with her daughters, now teenagers.

The Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt of the book on Jan. 8 and it now has more than 7,000 comments online, nevermind the growing media firestorm.

Her excerpt details parenting techniques you might call pragmatic, strict or, perhaps, extreme. She also rails against the supposed softness of Western parents.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America.

Chua details the great lengths she’s gone to in pushing her daughters toward excellence, including one of her daughters at age 7 having trouble with a difficult piano piece:

Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have “The Little White Donkey” perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

Protecting a child’s psyche from harshness is counterproductive, Chua argues.

I’ve noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.

It’s interesting to be sure, right?

What do you think? Let’s take a poll. Vote below!

Do you agree with Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua’s parenting advice as captured in the Wall Street Journal excerpt?Market Research

More in Local News

If vehicles crash and tumble, rescuers want to be ready

The Puyallup Extrication Team practiced with other fire departments on cars, SUVs and even buses.

Man arrested after stolen car crashes in Everett

The accident occurred in the 100 block of SE Everett Mall Way.

5-vehicle crash in Arlington kills 62-year-old woman

Medics had transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

2 men hospitalized after rollover collision on U.S. 2

Two men were taken to the hospital with minor injuries… Continue reading

Marysville police serve a warrant — across the street from HQ

A man who fled was taken into custody. Police were serving a warrant for alleged drug-related crimes.

Marysville man charged with stabbing wife who sought divorce

Nathan Bradford, 45, found divorce papers while going through the woman’s car.

Man on ferry accuses child of theft, allegedly pulls knife

The man was arrested, no one was hurt, and the ferry was delayed 30 minutes on its way to Mukilteo.

Coming together as family

Special-needs students and teachers at the Transition Center cooked up a Thanksgiving feast.

Front Porch

EVENTS Snohomish man’s legacy The life and legacy of William Shelton, the… Continue reading

Most Read