Tiger Mother - Over The Top Or On The Money?

26 January 2011

Tiger Mom

I'm a little late to the party on this one, since the whole 'mummy wars' thing kind of makes me want to bury my head in the sand, if I'm honest.

Just in case I'm not the last person on the planet to have heard of 'Tiger Mom' Amy Chua, she is an American Chinese professor at Yale University who wrote a book on how she parents her super smart daughters (secretly rolls eyes. Another expert. Just what we need.)

On the scale of parenting, let's say point A is “neglect” and point B is “helicopter parenting”, I am waaaaaaay over the centre point, much closer to those chopper blades than to the 'neglect' side of things. But even to me, Chua's philosophy of parenting just goes too far:

Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them,” Chua writes. "If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough. That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it."

Of course I want my daughter to do the best she can. Of course I want her to succeed. I'd love if she got straight A's and I'd love if she turned out the be the first female head of state of *insert country here*. But really? I prefer a little balance, myself.

An article on Yahoo! News says Chua “uses words such as "lazy" or "garbage" to describe her children should they fail to meet her requirements”

Wow. As an attachment parent, or the supposedly derogatory “helicopter parent”, I cannot even imagine the damage such insults can cause to a child that is already under so much pressure to perform. How conditional must that love feel?

On the other hand, other articles have emerged defending the book and the style of parenting. Titles like Why America needs 'tiger mom' and Chinese Tiger Mothers Needed in America make comments such as “America needs a tiger mom of its own to smack it out of its anti-achievement funk”, and “she certainly showed that evading responsibility is indeed an American trademark.

Do you think that these comments can be applied to British culture today, and that Amy Chua has a point, whether you agree with her methods or not, or do you think she's just a little over the top?

TOPICS:   News and Recalls

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