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Any thoughts on Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother"?

  1. Ralph Deeds profile image62
    Ralph Deedsposted 7 years ago

    Here are mine:

    The New Yorker

    Dear Sir:

    Elizabeth Kolbert’s review was, in my opinion, too kind to Amy Chua and her book. Amy Chua’s “superior” Chinese mothering technique called to mind Natalie Portman’s mother and her ballet director in “Black Swan.” Even though Amy Chua’s approach may produce academically successful children and high achieving adults, too often it produces dull, egoistic, sharp-elbowed people bent on personal success at any price who are not the most pleasant people to be around socially or in the work place. Second, encouraging and supporting a child’s spontaneous interest in art, a sport, music or mathematics versus Ms. Chua’s approach is a vital distinction, in my opinion. Finally, Kolbert didn’t mention that the PISA test results that are of such concern to Arne Duncan are comparing apples and oranges. A better comparison would be test results with students at Phillips Academy, an urban magnet school, or a first rate suburban high school with the results from Shanghai.


  2. wyanjen profile image81
    wyanjenposted 7 years ago

    It's harsh, but I can't argue the results. The children seem to be well balanced, and intend to be strict with their own children.

    I haven't read it, but I did read an in-depth review of the book along with some excerpts.

    The concept that strikes me is this: Tiger moms assume strength in their children, while helicopter moms assume frailty. My folks were not nearly as strict, but I'm grateful they assumed that we were strong children. There was no hovering in my family... we weren't protected from the scary things. There are plenty of lessons I'm glad I learned as a child instead of an adult.

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image62
      Ralph Deedsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Parents who assume their children are strong give them a good example by their own behavior, expose them to a variety of experiences, and encourage and support them in the pursuits that interest them. They don't force them to take piano or violin lessons and practice five hours a day. And they don't criticize them for an A-.

  3. gracenotes profile image90
    gracenotesposted 7 years ago

    Ralph, that was a good letter to the editor.

    Ms. Chua has to raise her children in the manner she thinks best, and I respect that, but personally, I don't care for her methods, based on the excerpts I read from her book.

    I will always be grateful that my mother insisted that I learn a musical instrument as a child.  I have a much better appreciation for music than my mother ever did, to be honest.

    I don't comprehend why Ms. Chua insisted that her two girls only learn to play the piano or violin.  My mom insisted on the piano for me, and I guess it's what she knew from her own upbringing.  My brother was encouraged to learn guitar playing, for whatever reason.  When I got to junior high band, I took up the clarinet, with guidance from the band director, who didn't know what he was talking about (but that's another story).

    I don't get the "it's either the piano or the violin" bit.  What is wrong with the trombone, the flute, or the recorder?

    I think music is important, and it would be a tragedy if it weren't taught in school anymore, but there are other areas where kids can excel -- and parents should guide their kids based on aptitude and interest.

  4. Mighty Mom profile image84
    Mighty Momposted 7 years ago

    Either her kids will turn out exceptional (oops -- I've got exceptionalism on the brain, it seems), or, they will turn around and rebel -- and it won't be pretty.
    Setting high standards for your children is important.
    Giving children no latitude to be individuals is stifling.

    I don't know, but I suspect that Ms. Chua could be the Dr. Spock of the 21st Century. Having swung so far in the other direction with helicopter parents (I really like what wyanjen said!) raising entitled kids and seeing the results of that, perhaps today's parents are looking for the next great parenting prophet...

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image62
      Ralph Deedsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Well, I hope Chua isn't the prophet. I come from a completely different viewpoint, in my experience growing up and with my three children. I don't recall ever being criticized about my grades, which were far from perfect, or told what colleges to apply to or what career to pursue. We pretty much did the same with our three children who are adults and doing very well supporting themselves. They are self-motivating and independent. I do believe that there is no single best child rearing approach. Children differ in their needs and each is a unique individual.

      For an example of horrible parenting see the movie "Somewhere" which is about a big Hollywood star and his 11 year old daughter.
      I did a mini-hub review of it. "Somewhere, Movie Review." There is a lot of bad parenting going on, but I don't think Chua's approach is the answer.

      1. Doug Hughes profile image57
        Doug Hughesposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I read an example of this 'tiger mom' rejecting a handmade birthday card.
        "I deserve BETTER!"..  Mom didn't approve of the quality of the artwork or whatever.. I couldn't describe this without using a word that rhymes with 'witch'.

        It's not necessary. I have a 7 YO daughter. She's fluent in Russian and English. She's in the gifted program at her elementary school, which means my daughter gets advanced math and science. Kathy is taking piano, with the understanding she can quit if she wants. She's taking gymnastics and she can quit. She's in chess club.  Her mother and I support her, and push her, but not by the formula of the tiger mom. 

        That's excessive, it's abusive and it puts the child second in importance to the work they are doing. My daughter is important, not piano, not gymnastics, not chess club. Put the child first.

        1. Ralph Deeds profile image62
          Ralph Deedsposted 7 years agoin reply to this