Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, published earlier this month. And the buzz has only snowballed. Just yesterday, I heard people talking about this book at my gym, grocery store, on television, and in my local newspaper. It's impossible not to have an opinion, or at least a reaction, on this subject.
Amy Chua, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, and her Jewish husband decided to raise their two daughters in the "Chinese" way with strict, uncompromising, old world values where academic success, musical excellence, and respect for authority is expected, not hoped for. She did not want to raise "soft, entitled children" and equates Western parenting with failure. Suffice it to say that the "everyone gets a trophy just for showing up" practice would not go over well with her. As a result of her parenting methods, she claims that her daughters, now teens, are the envy of neighbors and friends.
I have mixed emotions about Chua's parenting decisions. On the one hand, some of her actions (e.g. keeping her daughter outside in the cold when she didn't practice enough piano) border pretty close to abuse. Yet, on the other hand, it's far better parenting than a lot of the clueless parents I see today who seem far more interested in their text messages, cell phones, and reality shows than they do in raising healthy, happy, well-adjusted children.
In my opinion, the answer to good parenting doesn't lie in the extremes but somewhere solidly in between. I do agree with some of Chua's methods, like a respect for authority and having high expectations for her children, although perhaps I might cringe at her methods. And, seriously, if I ruled the Galaxy Far, Far Away, I would require all potential parents to demonstrate basic parenting competencies (e.g. maturity, the ability to nurture, care, and afford children) before they could procreate. But that's just me and a pipe dream.
Have you heard of this intriguing memoir? What do you think about Amy Chua's parenting methods?