Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Have you read this book?  I must admit I haven’t read it yet, but I promised to myself that I should buy it next week.  

I haven’t heard of it until this morning when we attended a church service in the Bread of Life in Makati.  It was mentioned by the speaker as he was touching on the subject of “excelling in the area of your call” and that “God is more interested in how you work than in what you do.”

It was a book written by Amy Chua, a Law Professor in Yale Law School.  She’s a Chinese who was raised in America.  After the church service, I got really curious about this woman and when I Googled her book, I saw lots of links to various articles and blogs, with mixed reactions about the book that she has written.  There were negative comments, but there were also positive comments, and in the end, it will really boil down to how you, as a parent, would like to raise your own children.  Reading some excerpts from the book will not give justice to the entire book, so, in my opinion, one shouldn’t judge the author by just reading some lines or paragraphs taken from random chapters in the book, that’s why I really intend to find this book the next time I go to Powerbooks or National Bookstore.  

The book starts with the list of the things that the author’s two daughters were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin

She pointed out the big difference in how Asian mothers raise their children as against Western mothers.  She’s a strict, disciplinarian, authoritarian mother, but her kids turned out great.  Her daughters excel in school and in almost everything that they do, because she motivates them — but not in the usual way that the other parents motivate their children.  She motivates her children by throwing insulting words at them, because she believes that they can do much better.  
The book became very controversial and has become the subject of discussions among parents.  There were mixed reactions, with some people even testifying to the Tiger Mom’s style of parenting, that it’s the only way to develop the character of a child, to make them strong and ready to face their future ten years from now, long after their parents are gone, which they can then give as legacy to their own children.  But then, there were also negative reviews about the book, that there’s more to a child than just expecting them to always bring home As and excelling in sports and musical instruments.  
I’d say it should be a mixture of both parenting style.  Both parents should be partners in raising and disciplining their kids. One parent could be the disciplinarian, while the other could be the soft-hearted one.  One parent could be more nurturing, while the other could be more strict.  But in both aspects, the love for the children shouldn’t be set aside.  And I think, in the short excerpts that I read about the book, though the author is very strict with her kids, they still end their day with snuggles in bed together, giggling about what happened, and tucking her kids to sleep.  
I think this is most important in raising your kids, that no matter how strict you are, no matter how you discipline them, no matter how absurd your expectations  of them,  they are still assured of your love for them. 

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2 Comments Posted

  1. It's very basic. Even when kids complain about not having freedom and independence, they really want to be led and disciplined. What they are doing is just testing how far they can go. There should always be boundaries and parents must stick to that even if it's hard to do.

  2. I agree with you 100% on the bit about "Never judging a book by it's cover". Most have never even read the book and have already decided to "condemn" it. The same thing happened to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code".

    Amy Chua, herself, said that the book is NOT a HOW-TO book; rather, a memoir about her journey into parenthood, the parenting concepts she USED TO believe in AND how her own 13-year old daughter HUMBLED HER.

    I, too, am now curious to read the book.

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