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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid