Your Tiger Mom Talking Points

You can either be a lady or a tiger. Or both, if you’re a Chinese Mother, I guess. Basically, Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother discussed the emphasis Chinese mothers put on excelling academically over social interaction. According to Amy in the Wall Street Journal:

Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover

• have a playdate

• 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.

But, by God, they did well in school. Now. Quick. You’re out and someone asks you about Amy Chua. You have to form an opinion. Here are your talking points.

I Think Tiger Mom Is Grrrr-eat!

Amy Chua says that “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.” Nothing is fun initially, but we shouldn’t just let our kids give up. We don’t just say “it’s okay, you don’t have to be toilet trained” to our kids or “no, you don’t really have to learn how how to write” – we make them work. Why shouldn’t we extend that mentality to other activities later in their lives?

She’s not wrong, maybe you’re just lazy and want to plop your kids in front of the TV.

Look, her kids clearly came out okay. They’re defending her parenting style. And her eldest daughter sounds pretty hilarious with quotes like “A lot of people have accused you of producing robot kids who can’t think for themselves. Well, that’s funny, because I think those people are . . . oh well, it doesn’t matter.”

She’s genuinely trying to do what she thinks is best for her children.

You just didn’t get it! It was mean to be a memoir about adjusting to Western Values, and everyone read it as a parenting guide!

I Think Amy Has Taken This Way Too Far

She rejected handmade cards from her children because she claimed they didn’t put enough effort into them

When her daughters were disrespectful, she told them they were garbage

She refused to let her daughters get up to go to the bathroom while they were practicing piano for two to three hours.

According to Amy, “the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child.” Amy says that’s okay because Chinese parents assume their kids are strong enough to handle it – but what if their kids aren’t that strong? What if they’re emotionally fragile? Some people might thrive under that kind of pressure but others might crumble.

I liked her when she had courage of her convictions, but now Stephen Colbert is trying to provide her with a bicycle so she can backpeddle faster.

It feels like an Amy Tan book. I already read this.

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