I remember all the controversy when the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother originally came out a few years back. I made a mental note to add it to my “to read” list and eventually made a request at the library, adding myself to the already long waiting list.
I was curious about the controversy, to see if it really was that appalling, but also to get a peek into another mom’s (and culture’s) parenting style. And I got it.
A few weeks ago, I was at the lake with the kids, diving into the book. When they came to sit with me for a few minutes, for a drink break, I read them a section from Amy Chua’s book, more specifically what she won’t allow her children to do:
• have a play date
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin
“See how easy you have it?” I asked them, really driving home Chua’s point that she believes that Western parents are too lax on their children. “You think I’m hard on you now, can you imagine if this was how I parented?”
The dividing line between how the Chinese parenting style versus how Westerners parent can perhaps best be summed up by a quote right from the book … “Chinese parenting does not address happiness…”, it addresses accomplishments. By many accounts, though, to be fair, Chua’s methods of extreme parenting do not wholly represent Chinese parenting across the board. Keep in mind, this is not meant to be a parenting book. It is more of a memoir of one woman’s journey. That being said, Chua is prone to sweeping generalizations, whether it comes to her own cultural background, Westerners, or even dogs.