It’s almost been a year since the Wall Street Journal excerpted Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in an article called “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” on January 8th, 2011 – which became the most popular article ever shared on their website. I reviewed the book. Chua’s daughter Sophia got into both Harvard and Yale (and chose Harvard). Sophia gave a high school graduation speech. Sophia started a blog. The Journal interviewed Chua last week to see what has transpired since publishing that excerpt and help make Tiger Mom a part of our vernacular and adjusting to being a remote Mom:
“I’ve taken a lot of flak over the last year for candidly describing how I raised my daughters and why I did it that way. But what drives me the craziest may be the charge that tiger parenting produces meek robots and automatons. This just misunderstands what tiger parenting is. … For most kids, college is their first experience truly on their own. Tiger parenting prepares kids for just that moment. For kids who are used to hearing “You’re amazing, that’s great” in response to whatever they do, it must be pretty shocking to fail at something. Tiger cubs, by contrast, are typically resilient. It’s empowering for them to know that you don’t need to be brilliant to succeed—that hard work can fix just about anything”
As I have blogged before, I do think Americans in general over-emphasize innate genetic ability over hard work compared to Asian American parents. But I do think Chua was a pretty nutty parent in some circumstances. Chua goes on to discuss that she’s a pretty hands-off college parent, even forgetting to visit during parents’ weekend.
While Chua may have gone overboard in some areas, she feels many parents over-protect their kids. Now that her daughter is off to college and has learn resilience and hard work, Chua doesn’t fear of her daughter’s ability to take care of herself after the upbringing she gave her. And I have to imagine that in the end, that’s all parents want to instill in their kids. Of course, there’s a lot of arguing in between as to how to accomplish the goal of raising such kids as we’ve found out in the past year with Tiger Mom.