Sunday, January 30, 2011

Are you a "Tiger Mother"?

So I am usually opposed to using this blog as a platform for controversial issues, but I just couldn't help myself when I saw Amy Chua on the Today Show.  She was promoting her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  Now keep in mind that I have not actually read this book and I was trying to keep an open mind when listening to her speak about the book and how it was a recollection of her journey through motherhood, raising her two daughters using a strict cultural philosophy.  In the interview she explains that the foundation of her family was one of love and respect, and in the next breath she is telling of how she used verbal threats and name calling to achieve excellence with her children.  Frequently throughout the interview she compares "Western" and "Eastern" parenting styles, which seemed to be a huge generalization and almost an excuse to defend her extremist ways.

It's not surprising that this book has grabbed the attention of the media, child development experts, and most of all parents.  It sounds like Chua's approach to parenting is highly controversial, forcing us to examine the fine line between wanting our kids to succeed, and demanding excellence at the expense of our children.  I guess success is all relative.  Chua is a Law Professor at Yale and her children are both on their way to academic success, but I wonder how they interact and maintain relationships with people.  Although the importance of education and learning has always been held high in my family and my husband's, it is clear that social and emotional factors play a key roll in a child's development.  In this interview, Chua boasts that her children were never allowed to attend play dates or play on the computer.  The true irony is that, as I watched this interview, my 15 month old son was watching a Baby Einstein video on my computer, and after the interview was finished we left for a play date.  I guess my "roar" is more like a "meow".

Watch the full interview at the link below:

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