#55 Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Chua’s stated intent is to present the differences between Western and Chinese parenting styles by sharing experiences with her own children (now teenagers). As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is poised to contrast the two disparate styles, even as she points out that being a “Chinese Mother” can cross ethnic lines: it is more a state of mind than a genetic trait. Yet this is a deeply personal story about her two daughters and how their lives are shaped by such demands as Chua’s relentless insistence on straight A’s and daily hours of mandatory music practice, even while vacationing with grandparents. Readers may be stunned by Chua’s explanations of her hard-line style, and her meant-to-be humorous depictions of screaming matches intended to force greatness from her girls. She insists that Western children are no happier than Chinese ones, and that her daughters are the envy of neighbors and friends, because of their poise and musical, athletic, and academic accomplishments. Ironically, this may be read as a cautionary tale that asks just what price should be paid for achievement. <source: Booklist>

I laughed so hard, was shocked a thousand times, frowned and nodded all at the same time while reading this book. Coming from a similar culture as China, what the author had to say about her experience with her daughters wasn’t that new or shocking to me but there were moments where I felt she was too extreme and I just couldn’t believe how she treated her daughters as such. But I must say I’m impressed with her energy, her sacrifice and devotion to her children however wrong the methods were at times.

I do agree with Chua in terms of the difference in parenting between Western and Chinese mothers, though I completely disagree with her view-point on the superiority of Chinese parenting. I think both can be extreme and that if they could just meet in the middle, that would be perfect….well, at least in a perfect world. But it is indeed depends on a child and that leaves me with more homework than solutions as to how I raise my own child.

I was in a way raised like Chua but I will never raise my daughter in the same way (mostly because I was unhappy and I don’t think it was all that effective anyway) but I know I’ll be more strict than many mothers of my daughter’s friends. I just hope that God will give me guidance and wisdom to raise her the best way I could in His eyes and that my daughter will know that her mother loved her more than life.

What a responsibility it is to raise a child….

One response to “#55 Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

  • bekahcubed

    Great review! I’ve been really curious about this book since reading various news/opinion pieces about it–but most of those pieces were written by people who are total believers in American-style parenting, and I couldn’t tell whether they were speaking truth or just overreacting. Having read your review, I’m even more curious about this book–I’ll have to get it next time I’m at the library!

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