News / USA

Tiger Mom Triggers Parenting Debate

Memoir recounts strict Chinese approach to raising children

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

A new memoir by a 48-year-old Asian American Yale professor has ignited a controversy about parenting styles.

Amy Chua admits she was hard on her two daughters. In her best-selling memoir, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," she writes about the time one of them came in second to a Korean classmate in math. Chua made the girl do 2,000 math problems a night until she regained her supremacy. She also threatened to burn all of her daughter’s stuffed animals unless she played a piece of music perfectly.

In 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom,' Amy Chua details her own extreme 'Chinese' style of parenting.
In 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom,' Amy Chua details her own extreme 'Chinese' style of parenting.

Chua says that’s the way her Chinese immigrant parents raised her and her three sisters in the American Midwest.

"I was, you know, kind of  trying to do what my parents did." Chua told NBC news she had a very strict list of what her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were not allowed to do.
"Attend a sleepover, have a play date, watch TV or play computer games, be in a school play, get any grade less than an A."

But Chua changed her way of parenting, slightly, when her younger daughter rebelled, yelling, "I hate my life! I hate you!"

"I decided to retreat when it seemed like there was a risk that I might lose my daughter," she says.

In the book, even as she mocks her own extreme "Chinese" style of parenting, Chua criticizes Western parenting. She says American parents lack authority and raise spoiled children who aren’t expected to live up to their potential.

"One of the biggest differences I see between Western and Chinese parenting is that Chinese parents assume strength rather than fragility."

Chua’s views have stirred a nationwide debate. She was bombarded by hundreds of e-mails criticizing her parenting style, describing it as abusive, and worse. But, the Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of her memoir, under the headline: "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior."

"It’s inflammatory. I think, obviously, that kind of title sparks off a debate," says Stacy DeBroff, who has written four books on parenting. "The stirring of this intense debate has to do with what does it mean to be a successful parent and what does it mean to be a successful child? So if you take away freedom and choice and the more nurturing aspects of parenting, are you raising a child who we think is going to be a successful adult? Or are they going to be an accomplished - but not a very happy adult - or secure or socialized in their interactions with other people?"

Chua’s style of parenting, DeBroff explains, is not limited to some Chinese families. It represents a traditional immigrant parenting model.

"Across a lot of different cultures, when people came to America as immigrants they knew that education and achievements were a way to solidly move their way up into the middle class, the upper middle class, to really have a future for their kids. So what I’ve seen even today in American high schools is a continuation of some of that immigrant mentality. There is no time to be social, you have to get great grades, you have to focus, because we’re counting on you to sort of have a future that extends beyond the options that were offered to us."

While those expectations are understandable, DeBroff says spending all their time on academic pursuits prevents children from developing other skills they need to succeed in life.

"The thing what’s troubling about this philosophy is that there is no room to raise ordinary kids. Like, if a kid doesn’t achieve, what does that mean? And also, if you are in a peer group where everyone has cell-phones and has I-pods and you’re denying it, then your kids are going to have a really hard time making friends and being social."

She believes the American way of parenting is more flexible - and positive - than Chua’s.

"Today, our parenting philosophy is to try to raise our kids with some of the same core values and the things we passionately believe in, but also give them the freedom to follow passions of their own. We tend to be fairly accommodating to try to bring out what we consider to be the best in our kids."

With so many outside influences today, DeBroff believes raising kids in the 21st century has become more challenging than ever. Instead of just repeating the way they were raised, she urges today’s parents to develop their own style to mold their children into the kind of adults they hope to become.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid