Tiger Mom vs. Soccer Mom _ Who’s Right?

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.

16 thoughts on “Tiger Mom vs. Soccer Mom _ Who’s Right?

  1. Nicely covered and I like the way you’ve contrasted the two methods. When I read the article about “Tiger Mom” I actually came to almost exactly the same conclusion that you did. I took another look at the way I’m raising my sons and at my parenting philosophy and the article helped me identify my goals a lot better. I found that I have been favoring some of the parenting philosophies that Amy Chua uses without realizing it. There just has to be a very delicate balance between encouraging your children to meet their potential and pushing children in a way that will create resentment for learning. I feel more streamlined with my parenting from the article now though. Great post!

    1. I’ve always thought it is a shame that children don’t come with instruction manuals. Ms. Chua’s methods may seem harsh, but I’ve no doubt she loves her children every bit as much as you and I love our children.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  2. Great catch Jim. Having seen both methods up close and personal in 100’s of cases, maybe 1000’s, Tiger mom wins hands down for me. Within that view, you might very well find the differences between the left and the right.

    I would offer up one the best reads of all time, perhaps the perfect blend of soccer mom and tiger mom, the “Last Lecture.” He did some you tube vid before he left planet earth a couple of years ago.

  3. This is a very nice summation of the Tiger Mother phenomenon.

    I think you’re right-this ain’t for every kid, but it would be nice if we didn’t just blindly coddle our children.

  4. The difference between the western parents and asian parents is that we want to be their friends, while asians stick to being their parents.

  5. White American parents have been lazy since the Boomers, which is why enemy aliens took over the country from within adn we get things like the Iraq war and bank bailouts and illegal immigration.

    However, I think that we’ll wake up and raise our kids to be competitive with the Chinese and Indians, now that the competition is right on top of us and unemployment is 20% and rising. Amy Chua’s book is a wakeup call to slacker-loser Americans who let foreigners steal the country.

    Ever wonder why EVERY single conveneince store is owned by Indians? Because slacker-loser Americans let it happen. Soon we’ll be impoverished and lorded over, and that generation will understand the cauldron of globalized racialized competition.

    Every Hispanic and African who immirgates to the US is immediately eligible for affirmative action. Take that slacker-loser white Americans. Don’t you dare say a discouraging word or I’ll call you “racist.”

    Conservative on fire? Yes, committing suttee is more like it. Everything worth conserving is getting burned up under you.

    1. I thought long and hard before I decided to approve your comment. I finally decided to let my readers see what kind of scum is floating around in our society. You are one sick SOB!. Take your white supremacy BS and peddle it somewhere else! Please don’t ever come back!

      1. “It takes all kinds to make the world go around” I believe is the saying that came to mind when I read his post. Sadly, there are types like this all around and they think that they have something to contribute to society. He may want to believe that he is somehow acting in an equal fashion as those that he is railing against but he is wrong… two wrongs never make a right. Whether his blathering garbage is somehow founded in some sort of factual context, the message that he wishes to convey is long lost with words of rage bordering on outright hate. Hate will never solve the worlds problems and that kind of ideology that he espouses is just compounding the problem that he refers to. Simple minds fail to see the give and take that is required to maintain a good balance in society… they tend to just go off the deep end.

        These kinds of delusional thinkers typically have such a warped sense of issues that they think their perspective is the only way to see anything anymore. Rather than thinking in terms of steps into the future to correct problems, they advocate irrational and ignorant responses that ultimately further the breakdown of societal relationships… it prolongs the very problems that they complain about. Only when we recognize that we have our own faults and work on those can we expect to see real improvements around us.

        As for his assertions about problems with race-relations in America… They may exist and there may even be an element of some of that in the mix but that does not mean it is all like that. We can’t preclude that attitude from those people anymore than we can preclude his ignorant speech from natural citizens of America. We can simply point to them and say that these people exist and that they don’t speak for us. So, having said that… mindweapon: you don’t speak for conservatives in America. You speak for an angry segment of America that may identify themselves within the conservative perspective but you are not our spokesman. Defuse the anger within your mind before that weapon goes off inside your head.

  6. Thanks for approving my comment. What’s up with the “one sick SOB” comment? That’s kind of rude.

    I don’t know what you are talking about with “white supremacy BS.” Because I pointed out that the country has been taken over? Are you still in denial or something?

    So do you deny that there is a such thing as racial competition? Do you think that immigrants ever say among one another, “we have to beat out the white Americans for admission to college/good jobs?” You think this NEVER EVER happens? You must be from an older generation or something, still living in pre-1965 America.

    The fact is, other races organize themselves to take a bigger and bigger slice of the pie. That’s not “hate” just a fact of life. To deny this fact is in no way “conservative,” it’s just pure cowardice and bovine mental conformity.

    I think that we should defend our slice of the pie, the same way the other races go on offense to take a bigger slice for themselves. You may not grok this, Jim, but your grandkids will (if you have any).

  7. BOTH ARE WRONG. Tell you what, Tiger Mom is like the opposite of Soccer Mom and both are extremes. Both will have bad consequences coming very soon to their children.

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