Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tiger Mothers

Recently I read an article Are Chinese Mothers Superior? based on the recently published book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mothers by Amy Chua.(
A 'tiger mother' isn't necessarily Chinese or even Asian, though stereotypically most seem to be. Rather it appears to be  a parenting technique that withholds affection or even material goods unless superior performance by the child is obtained. No treats for A minuses. No sleepovers, organized sports, dating until college, TV, computer games.... If a child has not achieved a particular skill, one harangues them and withholds food until they do. The author insisted she was brought up this way and she turned out 'fine' and is now raising her daughters similarly. My children were friends with some of these 'tiger cubs'. The tiger moms don't stop their techniques just because their cubs now are adults. Plus living in the US, the cubs are exposed to how other kids live and they identify more with their 'western peers' than their tiger moms' values. The opposite approach, the so-called Western parenting technique is to increase self-esteem of the child at every opportunity. If a child only gets an A minus, well they tried.

Obviously there has been much discussion concerning this. Some tiger cubs point out that they are now undergoing years of therapy due to their tiger mom.
What is success? Good grades? High paying job? No teenage pregnancies?
Do the cubs actually have a good  relationship with their moms?
What does a tiger mother do when a child has some sort of handicap? Unthinkable I know. What if their child can't get all As? Do they drown the child? Continually call it 'garbage'? (A term Chua calls her child when she misbehaves).
I know some tiger cubs have fled and haven't looked back.

1 comment:

Teri Bernstein said...

OMG...I just read this article today. Oh well...too late now (thank goodness)


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