Amy Chua is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She came to Yale in 2001 after teaching at Duke and serving as a visiting professor at Columbia, Stanford, and NYU. Her expertise is in international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law. (Source.)
The New Yorker tells us
Until this week, Amy Chua was best known as a Yale law professor, but now she stands, with arms crossed confidently, at the center of a raging online battle between detractors and defenders of the parenting approach she proclaims in her essay, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”
The essay “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”, published in The Wall Street Journal, is based on Ms. Chua’s recent book ““Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. Her essay has been controversial to say the least. The WSJ article has received well over 7,000 comments and over 330,000 thumbs up.
Ms. Chua explains why Chinese kids excel academically relative to American kids. She says it has to do with parenting methods. She says that a Chinese mother is very strict and very demanding of her children and more:
I’ve noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.
She describes in detail and with actual examples of how she raises her daughters. Please read the WSJ article. I assure you it will provoke a response one way or another. Many American mothers have atacked her methods as atrocious. But before you settle on how you feel about her methods, I suggest you read this defense by her eldest daughter Amy, who is now 18. Amy admits it wasn’t always easy being the daughter of a Tiger Mom but here is how she ended her defense of her mother:
To me, it’s not about achievement or self-gratification. It’s about knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential. You feel it when you’re sprinting, and when the piano piece you’ve practiced for hours finally comes to life beneath your fingertips. You feel it when you encounter a life-changing idea, and when you do something on your own that you never thought you could. If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I’ve lived my whole life at 110 percent.
And for that, Tiger Mom, thank you.
My two cents worth is that I doubt that very many American moms are going to sign-on to become full fledge Tiger Moms. I don’t think the Tiger Mom approach to raising children can work for all children. However, perhaps when we know deep inside of us that our child is not achieving up to his/hers potential, maybe there is something we could learn from the Tiger Mom.
Please read Ms. Chua’s essay and her daughter’s response to those who criticize her mother and let me know what you think.