Tiger Mothers

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    Jan 29, 2011 3:11 PM GMT
    I'm sure many of you have seen an interview, news segment, or perhaps heard of Amy Chua's new book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," but I wonder if anyone here has actually read it.

    I think the contrast between Western and "Chinese" parenting styles is quite interesting. I find much with which I agree. By the same token, there's much with which I emphatically disagree.

    I concur that a sizable majority (though not an overwhelming majority) of American and western parents are too soft. However, not all western parents approach child rearing with what would appear to be an MTV-guide to parenting, and not all Chinese parents follow the traditional curt Chinese model--particularly in modern times.

    I think no single parenting style is better, but rather a healthy combination of those two and other parenting styles. Academic achievement is important for many reasons, but there are indispensable things kids learn in life that can never be found within the short perimeter of a textbook.

    I hope the discussion is kept civil, even if it ends up being a short thread.

    Here are two excerpts from the controversial book.

    __________________
    (Chua and piano lessons with her daughter)

    “Get back to the piano now,” I ordered.

    “You can’t make me.”

    “Oh yes, I can.”

    Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have “The Little White Donkey” perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

    At this point Chua’s (Western) husband stepped in.

    He told me to stop insulting Lulu — which I wasn’t even doing, I was just motivating her — and that he didn’t think threatening Lulu was helpful. Also, he said, maybe Lulu really just couldn’t do the technique — perhaps she didn’t have the coordination yet — had I considered that possibility?

    “You just don’t believe in her,” I accused.

    “That’s ridiculous,” Jed said scornfully. “Of course I do.”

    “Sophia could play the piece when she was this age.”

    “But Lulu and Sophia are different people,” Jed pointed out.

    “Oh no, not this,” I said, rolling my eyes.

    “Everyone is special in their special own way,” I mimicked sarcastically. “Even losers are special in their own special way.”

    Eventually Lulu learned the piece, and even felt triumphant about it. Western parents worry a lot about their children’s self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there’s nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t.
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    Jan 29, 2011 4:52 PM GMT
    Yes! I read an excerpt of this book.

    Part of me believes this is a shameless ploy to be controversial since her last book didn't sell well. Although I know some parents can be crazy- and she most likely is the worst of them all.

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    Jan 29, 2011 4:57 PM GMT
    I was a tiger child. I'd crack down on myself and nothing I ever did was good enough for me.
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    Jan 29, 2011 5:08 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidI was a tiger child. I'd crack down on myself and nothing I ever did was good enough for me.

    I haven't read the book, so on thin ice here. I've been my own harshest critic since I was a child, my late parents actually fairly benign with me, if not always very rewarding & praiseful, either.

    I think the job of a parent is to help a child determine their natural talents, which can be different for each, and then to encourage & help them to realize their individual potential in those areas, sometimes with a firm hand at times. The worst thing a parent can do is to impose their own arbitrary agenda on a child, even if well-meaning. If they misidentify or ignore their child's true abilities & interests they are setting up for a lifetime of conflict, lost opportunities, underachievement & misery for them.
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    Jan 29, 2011 6:05 PM GMT
    Why do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jan 29, 2011 6:56 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidWhy do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.


    It's hard to separate animals and proverbs from the Chinese language. The word for a female tiger and a shrewd, strong, almost overbearing mother are the same (母老虎 mǔlǎohǔ).

    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a direct translation of the Chinese film title, which is 卧虎藏龙 Wòhǔ cánglóng,which is a Chinese idiom meaning that talent and strength is hidden or unseen and waiting to manifest itself.

    Even more interesting was an Op-Ed piece in The Times talking about how Ms. Chua's parenting style was too lenient, but took a totally different spin on how she should have parented her children: "Amy Chua is a Wimp" [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/opinion/18brooks.html?scp=10&sq=%20the%20tiger%20mother&st=cse[/url]
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    Jan 29, 2011 7:15 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidWhy do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.


    I don't think Amy Chua qualifies as a "bitch." She's a prolific writer and a very smart woman. I enjoyed her book because it is thought provocative and well written. I don't agree with her parenting style, but the book reads more like memoir. It is easier to read than academic writing, which is why book sales for this will probably be better than other things she has written. Of course, the media picks up on her most controversial snippets. But they hardly mention how she acknowledges her own shortcomings as a parent in the book. I think the media--as usual--creates controversy where there should be very little of it.
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    Jan 29, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    Bunjamon said

    Even more interesting was an Op-Ed piece in The Times talking about how Ms. Chua's parenting style was too lenient, but took a totally different spin on how she should have parented her children: "Amy Chua is a Wimp" [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/opinion/18brooks.html?scp=10&sq=%20the%20tiger%20mother&st=cse[/url]


    I just read this piece. Brooks talks about what I mentioned in the opening post. That is, academic achievement is important for many reasons, but there are indispensable things kids learn in life that can never be found within the short perimeter of a textbook.

    I don't agree with Brooks' argument that Chua is coddling her children; a wimp, so to speak. While it is true that social skills learning can be intellectually demanding, it is not at the same cognitive level of certain academic exercises. They are simply different sets of skills that humans should master because of their importance in creating a well-rounded child. That is why I don't endorse either parenting style, but a mixture of those two and others.
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    Jan 29, 2011 7:29 PM GMT
    collegestudd said
    AvadaKedavra saidWhy do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.


    I don't think Amy Chua qualifies as a "bitch." She's a prolific writer and a very smart woman. I enjoyed her book because it is thought provocative and well written. I don't agree with her parenting style, but the book reads more like memoir. It is easier to read than academic writing, which is why book sales for this will probably be better than other things she has written. Of course, the media picks up on her most controversial snippets. But they hardly mention how she acknowledges her own shortcomings as a parent in the book. I think the media--as usual--creates controversy where there should be very little of it.


    i was totally kidding. I don't know anything about her. I just felt like using the word bitch. I use it when I know the person I am calling a bitch won't be offended since I don't mean to be offensive. However, I am sure she does want book revenue but thats normal.

    I sense that you want serious responses which I can't provide since I never read the book. I hope you do get them though.


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    Jan 29, 2011 7:30 PM GMT
    Bunjamon said
    AvadaKedavra saidWhy do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.


    It's hard to separate animals and proverbs from the Chinese language. The word for a female tiger and a shrewd, strong, almost overbearing mother are the same (母老虎 mǔlǎohǔ).

    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a direct translation of the Chinese film title, which is 卧虎藏龙 Wòhǔ cánglóng,which is a Chinese idiom meaning that talent and strength is hidden or unseen and waiting to manifest itself.

    Even more interesting was an Op-Ed piece in The Times talking about how Ms. Chua's parenting style was too lenient, but took a totally different spin on how she should have parented her children: "Amy Chua is a Wimp" [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/opinion/18brooks.html?scp=10&sq=%20the%20tiger%20mother&st=cse[/url]


    ugh you just get hotter and hotter.
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    Jan 30, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    AvadaKedavra said
    collegestudd said
    AvadaKedavra saidWhy do all Chinese book titles sound like chinese proverb, street figher moves, or has an animal in it? "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Panda Express" "Spinning Bird Kick" "Oriental Anal Gang Bang III" "Big Mama Love You Long Time". oh wait, those arent books.

    Anyways, this bitch wants book revenue. Good marketing I tell ya.


    I don't think Amy Chua qualifies as a "bitch." She's a prolific writer and a very smart woman. I enjoyed her book because it is thought provocative and well written. I don't agree with her parenting style, but the book reads more like memoir. It is easier to read than academic writing, which is why book sales for this will probably be better than other things she has written. Of course, the media picks up on her most controversial snippets. But they hardly mention how she acknowledges her own shortcomings as a parent in the book. I think the media--as usual--creates controversy where there should be very little of it.


    i was totally kidding. I don't know anything about her. I just felt like using the word bitch. I use it when I know the person I am calling a bitch won't be offended since I don't mean to be offensive. However, I am sure she does want book revenue but thats normal.

    I sense that you want serious responses which I can't provide since I never read the book. I hope you do get them though.




    Gotcha. Thanks for elaborating.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 30, 2011 2:21 AM GMT
    Thank God and Buddha that she didn`t have a gay son. He`d be on rooftop with an automatic weapon.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 30, 2011 2:29 AM GMT
    I had very overbearing jewish parents. My brother got into a lot of trouble starting form when iw as 10 until i was 14, I was laregely ignored at this point, I was the gifted child who competed in GYmnastics, I was fending for myself and doing fine, as far as they could tell.

    As a child my father kept me playing piano for hours, as I cried and cried and became exhausted. My mother didn't intervene, as she felt it was unnecessary, my father would scoff at my failure to produce the musical talent he had had at one point. I am adopted as well, so it's not even like genetics could have kicked in.

    My parents have always been entirely academic, both having more than one PHD and being self made successes. Upon hearing I got into UBC, ranked number 3 in Canada and 28 in North America, I was told I could have done better, and gone to McGill like they did, the number one school, and like 8th in NA. I got into a program that is the top outside of Asian, except at the university of Hawaii, and I was one of 10 first years to be accepted. None of this as good enough.

    I don't know that I've ever managed to make my parents truly proud. Except when I made anime costumes and won international awards, my mother felt it was a good artistic outlet. When I won nationals and palced in the top 5 at worlds for trampoline, they asked why I didn't win.

    I think I gave up wanting to impress them, but I still wish I had done at least one thing that made them proud. My brother failed them utterly, dropping out of highschool with drug problem and having 2 children by the age of 23, at least I could have amde up for it. They adopted two kids who could have been much better.
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    Jan 30, 2011 3:25 PM GMT
    I have a tiger mother. Although not as insensitive as the one portrayed in the OP.

    She was not typical in her child-rearing. She was a fierce defender of her 'cubs'. Was not exactly a home-maker, but she prized intelligence, playing devils advocate with her 'cubs' to stimulate their minds, she was very sporty and passed this on to her young, she never let them win in games but pushed them to be the best, and so once they could eventually beat her, they knew that they had really achieved something. She would push her young out of their comfort zones on a regular basis, in many aspects of their personality. She did not suffer fools, nor tantrums or self-indulged weakness. She pushed her cubs to be independant and have a strong sense of self, to find happiness in times of hardship, to strive for the best and never settle for less than is achievable, to not be push-overs, to be leaders not followers, to always question rules, authority and dogma but still to remain respectful and have decorum. She prepared them for a life that does not molly-coddle.

    I am thankful for the bad-ass tiger mother who raised me, as i'm now myself a remarkable crouching tiger/hidden dragon specimen by consequence icon_cool.gif
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    Jan 30, 2011 3:27 PM GMT
    rawr, my little tiger icon_wink.gif
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 30, 2011 3:43 PM GMT
    My mother was no tiger mother, but did have some elements.....

    There were stellar expectations. I knew how to read .. well.. by the age of 5, mostly because my mother was a teacher. We had a thread about "combating laziness", I can tell you when I was small, my mother "combatted it". I've been doing simple chores, like making my bed, since I was a little kid...

    In heaing about the "tiger mother" thing, I think it probably is a little over the top, but .. expectations, instilled at an early age.. is certainly acceptable to me.
  • jock5827

    Posts: 52

    Jan 30, 2011 3:55 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan said
    In heaing about the "tiger mother" thing, I think it probably is a little over the top, but .. expectations, instilled at an early age.. is certainly acceptable to me.


    True. Kids need free time, but structure and guidance never hurt anyone. If you don't learn about sacrifice and dedication when you're young, you'll find it a lot harder to learn about those traits as an adult.

    As for Brooks' article: I find his argument pretty ridiculous. I think that people learned about social skills long before they had sleepovers in suburbia. Socializing is good and healthy, but its gotta be balanced with the development of substantive, marketable skills that people can employ, the sort of skills that require hard work and, yes, hours of practice. This doesn't necessarily demand "Tiger Mother" tactics, but it does mean that motivation and goal-setting have to be nurtured and encouraged.
  • TheIStrat

    Posts: 777

    Jan 30, 2011 4:12 PM GMT
    She's a bitch.