Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
A parenting style that’s either confoundingly nuts or refreshingly sane
Amy Chua’s parenting style is either confoundingly nuts or refreshingly sane, depending on your perspective and also how far into Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother you get. “Chinese parents have two things over their Western counterparts,” she begins. “1) Higher dreams for their children and 2) higher regard for their children in the sense of knowing how much they can take.”
Chua falls on the Chinese side of the parenting spectrum that she posits, and her strategies for child-rearing include literally forcing her daughters to play instruments, drilling them on the full complement of arithmetic operations while their classmates are still playing with beads, and rejecting unsatisfactory birthday card efforts as “garbage.” No kidding. Of course — thankfully — Chua hedges, noting that she doesn’t want her daughters “to end up like one of those weird Asian automatons who feel so much pressure from their parents that they kill themselves after coming in second on the national civil service exam.”
Inspiring and scary by turns, Chua is never less than totally engaging as she narrates her own book. Is she an outlier on the parenting scale? Sure, but in the case of this much-discussed book, you’d better believe the hype.