Amy Chua's memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is about raising her two daughters, provoked a huge number of reader responses, both positive and negative. Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law school in New Haven, Connecticut.
Chua's daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were subjected to very strict discipline as young children. As Chua writes in the book: "Here are some things my daughters... 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 to be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama....
Chua describes forcing Louisa, then seven years old, to stay up all night, without bathroom breaks or a drink, until she could play a difficult part of piano piece she had been learning.
Is extreme parenting effective? Is such strict parenting as Chua describes effective?
What is successful parenting? Is it raising an academically successful child? Is it raising a happy child?
I believe that the mandate to come out on top every time is unrealistic and condemns most children to failure. Such children also tend to lack initiative having always had their decisions made for them by their authoritarian parents. These children never develop the creativity that comes from exploration.
A more relaxed parenting style is better for building children's self-confidence because the children see that their parents' love does not depend on their academic success.
The debate over parenting styles is unlikely to disappear!!
Andersen, Charlotte Hilton. "The Question No One Is Asking in the Tiger Mom Debate." Huffington Post, January 16, 2011, www.huffingtonpost.com.
Belkin, Lisa. "On Chinese Mothers and American Kids." New York Times, January 11, 2011, www.nytimes.com.
Belsky, Jay. "Parent to Child: I Am NOT Your Friend (Nor Should I Be)." Psychology Today, September 12, 2008, www.psychologytoday.com.
Chua, Amy. "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2011, online.wsj.com.