Local Parents Weigh In On ‘The Tiger Mother’

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No play dates. No sleepovers. Straight “A’s” required. Those are some of the parenting rules put forward in a new controversial book called, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

An excerpt of the book printed in the Wall Street Journal has gotten thousands of comments online and more than a quarter of a million “like” recommendations on Facebook.

But not everyone likes what the author is calling for.

The article and book have prompted a fierce debate amongst parents. Amy Chua, a Yale professor and mother of two, details how she even called her child “garbage” one day because the child was disrespectful.

Susan Ward was at an indoor park on Monday in Edina with her three kids. She said she agrees with a few of Chua’s points.

“They definitely have to play a musical instrument, whether it’s piano or something. They will have to do that through senior high, like it or not,” Ward said.

Chua argues that traditional Chinese-style of parenting is the reason Chinese and other Asian-Americans are so successful.

A psychologist, who works with gifted children, said there are some parts of Chua’s article that he agrees with. If you have a child who is gifted musically and they practice hours a day, they will no doubt be successful, he said.

But other experts say children’s emotional and social needs cannot be ignored.

“If you’re too permissive, there’s risks there. And if you’re too strict, there are risks there. Which risks are you willing to take, and not take?” psychologist Dr. Tom Plante said.

While Chua’s ideas are too much for many parents, a few say they wish they had at least a little bit more of the Tiger Mother in them.

“In some way, I would like to be like them,” said Alena Youngbird. “In some way, I disagree. It’s hard to find a middle ground these days.”

Chua’s book has debuted at No. 6 on the Amazon best-seller list.

More from Esme Murphy
  • mark from mntaxwaste.com

    Americans have lost their spirit of the personal drive. How sad it is to see us in 2nd , 3rd, and going for last.

  • 1twinsfan

    Children actually need “down” time not just to play but learn the other life skills they need. Social skills, recovery from stress, they can’t be just be Mommy and Daddy’s little robotic offspring.

  • Jj

    Children are humans, nourish the spirit instead of this robotic cold approach. This author is right out of orphanage model circa 1940.

  • Pate

    There was once a time not too long ago where our parents sent us out the door after breakfast and we didn’t return until the next meal,or in some cases dusk.We were out there paying,getting excersize,learning to deal with others and our own solutions.Now kids deal with every moment of their waking time in structured activities.I’m glad that I was outdoors!

  • Jane

    I actually understand and agree with most of Chua’s points. I used to be another Barbie-obsessed American girl living in a “children-please-do-as-you-wish-and learn-what-you-want-society,” until I had the opportunity to study abroad. Only when I lived overseas, did I see the bubble we Americans live in. I wasn’t ready for the culture shock or the very competitive academic environment. I wanted to come home, back to my comfort zone, but my parents encouraged me to “grow up”, to see the world from outside the bubble, through the eyes of other cultures. Fifteen years later, I am still very grateful to them.

    When I was overseas I met my now husband (who’s a very educated man and doesn’t have a clue about American football or Budweiser). Today, my children know who the parents are and the discipline standards we have at home; even my 4-year-old knows we have non-negotiable rules at home, and needless to say we have very high academic expectations. Rule number one: no TV without parental consent (never in the morning). Rule number two: mandatory reading (school or non-school related) every day after supper (at least 30 mins). Rule number three: never (absolutely never) open the door of mommy and daddy’s bedroom ;o)

    Think about what sports mean to Americans, that’s what Education means to some cultures.

    — An American mom who learned to be a mom overseas

    • Beth

      Some of us didn’t need to go overseas to figure that stuff out. Not everyone that lives in the United States has their heads up their butts when it comes to parenting, rules, and child rearing. Your rules aren’t strict, they are practical. At least, the ones you named.

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