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Monday, February 21, 2011

Amy Chua: Tiger Mom?

Amy Chua is of Chinese descent, a Professor of Law at Yale Law School since 2001 after teaching at Duke Law School. She has written three books, the first is “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability“ (2003), the second is “Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall” (2007), and the third, which is the most controversial is the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” (2011).

Author, Amy Chua
Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” has gained so much attention and criticism. In the book, she tells about her experiences as a strict mother to her two daughters. According to Wikipedia, “Chua listed a number of rules that she said she enforced on her two daughters. According to the article they were not allowed to”:

·         attend a sleepover
·         have a play date
·         be in a school play
·         complain about not being in a school play
·         watch TV or play computer games
·         choose their own extracurricular activities
·         get any grade less than an A
·         not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
·         play any instrument other than the piano or violin
·         not play the piano or violin

I guess, with just the list above, we can already feel the strict discipline she has enforced to her growing kids.

Some critics say that her way of raising her daughters is very harsh. Some agrees that strict discipline is essential in a growing child. Some believe that a child’s academic excellence can be traced to good parenting. They argue that a child’s poor performance in school means that the parents are not doing their job.

The list above seems to say that Amy has been trying to filter her children from what can distract them from school. I guess any parent especially a mom would like to make sure that her child does well in school and she will do everything to help him or her.

I guess, this has been a battle between cultures. The western teaches us that nurturing a child’s self-esteem is very important. Eastern culture, on the other hand, teaches us that discipline would mold a child’s future. Perhaps, the two schools of thought can guide parents in bringing up their children.

My mom has Chinese ancestry too. She has recounted a similar experience from her strict Chinese father. I recall one story she has told me, her father would not allow them to eat at a friend’s place unless they have been invited to an occasion. Otherwise, her father would ask their mom to cook whatever food they have eaten and he would ask them to eat everything until they throw up. Her father would say, “Don’t we have food at home that you need to eat at somebody else’s house?” Up to now, it’s hard to invite mom to parties.

I guess, each parent has a way of bringing up his or her children; to guide them and prepare them to meet the challenges of life. I believe King Solomon when he said, “Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it”. Proverbs 22:6

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