The recent article in Wall Street Journal (1/8/11) titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“ contains an essay excerpted from “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School. It has caused quite a controversy in the Chinese-American community and among the parents and readers in America in the last two weeks. There are more than 7000 comments to that WSJ article.
The book was just published on 1/11/11 and there are already over 200 reviews on Amazon.
This is a book that people either like or hate.
I haven’t read the book itself. I only read the WSJ article and some reviews. I can see why Amy Chua’s extreme parenting methods have caused so much negative reaction.
I am a Chinese mother with two kids. I consider myself pretty strict. If you ask my kids, they will certainly agree with that. But comparing to Amy Chua, I am way too soft. I have allowed my kids to do all the following that her kids are not allowed to do:
- attend a sleepover
- have a playdate
- be in a school play (None of my kids like to be in play though)
- 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 (my son plays clarinet now in the school band)
- not play the piano or violin (My son quit piano after about 5 years)
This book reminds me of another book - autobiography by Lang Lang, “Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story” ((Random House, 2008). I wrote about it in Life is more than success.
Success is more than just academic excellence, musical mastery and professional success. The author focuses too much on those aspects of success. Chinese parents in general do tend to emphasize education over anything else. But Amy Chua is too extreme even for the Chinese parents. She is not representative of the Chinese mothers. That’s why many people in the Chinese American community reacted negatively to the book.
To watch an interview with Amy Chua, visit Today Show and click here.