Tiger Mum - Amy Chua 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother'
Amy Chua watches her daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld practice playing piano in her home in New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a book by Amy Chua published in 2011. The complete subtitle of the book is: “This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.”
Chua has openly confronted criticism in print and during her book signings. In a follow-up article in the Wall Street Journal, Chua explains that “my actual book is not a how-to guide; it's a memoir, the story of our family's journey in two cultures, and my own eventual transformation as a mother. Much of the book is about my decision to retreat from the strict ‘Chinese’ approach, after my younger daughter rebelled at 13.”
In an interview with Jezebel, Chua addresses why she believes the book has hit such a chord with parents: “We parents, including me, are all so anxious about whether we're doing the right thing. You can never know the results. It's this latent anxiety.” In a conversation with Die Zeit, Chua says about her book: "I would never burn the stuffed animals of my children - that was a hyperbole, an exaggeration. I have intensified many situations to clarify my position." She adds that the book "was therapy for me at the time of a great defeat."
Reaction by Chua’s daughter Sophia
On January 17 an open letter from Chua’s older daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, to her mother was published in the New York Post. Sophia’s letter defends her parents’ child-rearing methods and states that she and her sister were not oppressed by an “evil mother”. She discusses some of the incidents that have been criticized as unduly harsh, and explains that they were not as bad as they sound out of context. She ends the letter saying, “If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I’ve lived my whole life at 110 percent. And for that, Tiger Mom, thank you.”
Follow the Debate
WSJ - Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?
A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
WSJ - Tiger Mother Chua Gets Mixed Reviews in China
A week after it was published in the Review section of The Wall Street Journal, Amy Chua’s essay arguing the superiority of strict Chinese parenting continues to stir debate. The argument–whether Chua’s approach to raising kids (no TV, no school plays, no grade lower than an A) is a tough-minded response to a culture of chronic underachievement or some form of well-intentioned-but-misguided child abuse–has generated 4,000 comments on wsj.com, more than 100,000 comments on Facebook, and dozens of response articles elsewhere on the English-speaking Internet, including this moving testimonial from tech entrepreneur Christine Lu.
But how has the essay been received in China?
NYT - Op-Ed Columnist
The real strategic challenge isn’t Chinese fighter aircraft. It’s China’s focus on education.
Kaixin OpEd - A well informed and insightful article, well worth reading in the context of this debate
China Daily 26/1/2011
Tiger Mom hears roar of opposition
Beijing - As more Chinese parents adopt a Western style of parenting that allows children more freedom and encouragement, Amy Chua and her book lauding strict Chinese parenting as superior ignited unprecedented attention among Americans.
Chua made the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine, continuing to provoke heated discussion among Americans over her alleged Chinese parenting methods including no grades lower than A, no sleepovers, TV or computer games.
The US-born, 48-year-old Yale law professor of Chinese ancestry argued in her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, that strict Chinese parenting would better prepare children for harsh future competition.
That sounds true to a rising number of young and well-educated Chinese parents, who have begun to adopt a new parenting method largely inspired by the Western approach.
Allowing children the freedom to explore other possibilities besides academic study, respecting their rights to a happy and playful childhood, and more encouragement are among the key elements, said Sun Hongyan, a division director of the China Youth and Children Research Center.
"I won't raise my 8-year-old daughter as Chua suggests as that would make her unhappy and dull," said Yang Jianfen, a Beijing-based mom who holds a master's degree in Chinese literature and works as a civil servant.
"It's true children need prodding and discipline but a relaxed environment coupled with quality education will help foster smart, creative, and physically and mentally healthy children rather than the goof only good at academic results," said Yang.
In Chinese academic circles, some are also reflecting on the Chinese way of parenting and education, which seems challenged to raise creative minds like Bill Gates - a Harvard dropout.
"In my opinion, compared with highly strict Chinese parenting, the Western way exerts more positive influence on children's mental health," Cui Yonghua, a leading psychiatrist at Beijing Anding Hospital, told China Daily on Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal 27/1/2011
Amy Chua an “American Mom” in China
After her book excerpt about mothering, published this month in The Wall Street Journal, launched a fiery debate online and elsewhere, Yale law professor and self-proclaimed Tiger Mother Amy Chua took pains to distance herself from the piece’s provocative headline (“Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”). We wonder what she makes of the mainland Chinese title of the book from which the excerpt was taken.
The Chinese edition’s title translates to “Being a Mom in America,” or, as Xinhua rendered it, “Being an American Mum.”
The New York Times 27/1/2011
Gingerly, Chinese Parents Embrace the Value of Fun
BEIJING — They haven’t heard of Amy Chua, the “Tiger Mother,” in Qiu County, home to about 200,000 people in the northern province of Hebei. But local educators have ambitious plans for their elementary school students.
Here’s what they want them to do: climb a tree, build a sand castle, collect tadpoles, finger paint and make kites, among other activities.
The aim? To make kids more active, happier and “improve their overall quality,”
Caixin Online 31/1/2011
Is the style of parenting advocated by Amy Chua in her latest book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, truly Chinese?
Recently, Amy Chua's article titled, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," in the Wall Street Journal, ignited a sociological fire across parenting circles. A professor at Yale Law School, Chua's article was an excerpt from her book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" – in which she claims through a strict parenting culture, Chinese children are able to perform exceptionally well in the United States, while western parents abandon their due responsibilities out of "respecting individuality." According to Time Magazine, within a few days, news related to the article attracted over a million views and more than 5,000 comments worldwide.
The new book, however, uses simple, summarized slogans so that those who are either busy or lazy can flip to a simple answer from the perspective of Chinese parenting. But her account misses countless details. The book is ultimately more about a conversation on the differences between traditional and non-traditional parenting techniques, rather than the contrasts between Chinese and western styles of raising children.
When Chua's younger daughter was finally given the opportunity to make a decision for herself, she actually chose tennis – a very pushy sport for female players.
But since her children have been raised in the United States, the only way they will ever truly know is the American way.
The author is a scholar studying in the U.S.
China Daily Editorial 9/2/2011
The high-profile debate over Chinese mothers continues. A China Daily senior editor says Chinese education needs to incorporate broader values but an education researcher praises China's educational achievements
Besides rote learning, add values
The heated debate over whether Chinese or Western mothers are superior has spread far and wide around the world. Amy Chua, the Yale law professor who initiated the discussion, had received some 7,722 comments on the Wall Street Journal website alone by Monday.
However, the debate mostly focuses on what to do to ensure children excel in academic studies or future career development. An essential point is missing: How to bring up our children so they will become conscientious citizens who value teamwork, creativity, individuality and independence.
With her book and essay, Amy Chua enhances the conviction of many Chinese, as well as Western parents and educators, who believe strict rules and rote learning along with "humiliation" are the prerequisites for academic and professional excellence.
When I raised the question - in my column published on Jan 28 - whether rote learning is conducive to nurturing creativity in children, one reader responded by arguing that rote learning for young children is a must.
Under the online name huaqiqiao, he wrote: "Children and young people have fantastic memories, and that's the time to build their basic skills...
"Concentrating on 'creativity' at that age is a waste of time, many 'creative' youngsters in the West, are unemployed. Einstein himself was not schooled in the 'modern' manner, but in traditional Old Europe gymnasia and universities, that all stressed rote learning and drill-and-practice."
For an example of "humiliation", Chua writes of how she could threaten to starve her younger daughter when she couldn't play some tunes. But I don't believe excessive rote learning along with such humiliations should be established as a role model for parents to emulate.
In China, we've heard plenty of stories of children who are asked to write one Chinese character 100 or more times after they have made an error. We've also read quite a number of media reports describing how these harsh methods have resulted in the sufferings and even suicides of children. The suicide rate among young Asian Americans is higher than the United States' average.
While Chua and a lot of Chinese parents parade their children's achievements, we should also recall stories of ancient Chinese mothers who instilled a broader range of values in their children.
For example, the mother of Mencius, a great ancient Chinese scholar thought to have lived 372 - 289 BC, moved their home three times to make sure that her son grew up in a neighborhood that respected scholarly teachings. She cut pieces of cloth she'd just woven to show Mencius that his lack of perseverance in his studies would only result in failures like the torn pieces of cloth.
The mother of Kou Zhun (961-1023) taught Kou to read and write while supporting the family by weaving. She left a painting with the family servant before she died. When Kou became prime minister and planned to throw a lavish party to celebrate his birthday, the servant opened the painting, in which Kou's mother preached frugality and prudence.
We must reflect on whether our conventional education methods, from rote learning and shaming, to the over-emphasis on individual performance, have affected Chinese children's overall development.
Education should not only be about academic success and future careers; it should also be nurturing innovation, responsibility, teamwork, perseverance and independence. But these are not discussed in either Chua's book or in many of the commentaries.
In fact, many educators now fear that our children's upbringing is distorted. Leading educator Sun Yunxiao cited a test in which two plates of chocolates along with a bell were placed before 100 Chinese and 100 Australian 5-year olds. The children were told that they could get the plate with fewer chocolates if they immediately rang the bell, but they could get the plate with more chocolates if they chose to wait 15 minutes.
At the end of the test, 80 percent of the Chinese children had grabbed the smaller number of chocolates, while 66 percent of the Australian children waited for 15 minutes for the larger share. According to Sun, the Chinese children not only failed to demonstrate self-discipline and patience, they also lacked responsibility and perseverance.
Chinese scholars have also cited the fact that although Chinese students have won numerous international contests in mathematics, they have not yet scored high in international contests for sciences and engineering. None of the scientific and technological breakthroughs in the 20th century was Chinese.
There is no single education method that applies to children of all races and all countries. So it is time to stop arguing about whose mothers are superior, and explore a variety of methods from both the East and West that foster responsible and innovative citizenship.
The author is assistant editor-in-chief of China Daily.
CCTV 9 - Dialogue (30 minute Current Affairs from China)
China Media Project 16/2/2011
“Tiger moms” and China’s parenting gap
It is understandable that the Chinese child-raising style of Chinese-American “tiger mom” Amy Chua has ignited controversy in the United States. But Americans may find it difficult to understand why the “tiger mom” controversy has blazed across China. Many assume the “tiger mom” child-rearing style portrayed in Chua’s book is the dominant Chinese way. What they may not realize is that in China, especially in the major cities, the “tiger mom” style of discipline and education has faded into the past.
The Wall Street Journal 7/3/2011
Hong Kong’s Tiger Mom and Cubs Roar
Amy Chua may be the Tiger Mom, but Hong Kong’s Corlin twins are trying their best to earn the title of Tiger Cubs.
But the South China Morning Post, the region’s biggest English-language daily newspaper, took it one step further, crowning a local tiger mom in Rosalind Corlin, and called her 10-year-old twins, Estephe and Perrine Corlin, as her tiger cubs.
Estephe (left) and Perrine Corlin in a family photo.
The Wall Street Journal 22/3/2011
Return of the Tiger Mother
Amy Chua will appear with her husband, novelist Jed Rubenfeld, at the kick-off event of the Journal’s new Ideas Market speaker series, March 29, at the New York Public Library.
It all started with a simple argument about why Chinese mothers are superior.
Then, the floodgates opened.
The responses ranged from a defense of laissez-faire parenting to a critique from former-Harvard president Larry Summers, who advocated for creativity over discipline and accuracy.
The Wall Street Journal 31/3/2011
By Alan Paul
I have watched the uproar over the Tiger Mom debate with growing annoyance that one simple question remains unasked: Where are the dads?
Eight Questions: Alan Paul, ‘Big in China’
Mr. Paul has compiled the experiences documented in his column into a book, “Big in China,” released by Harper Collins last week. China Real Time caught up with him by email and asked him eight questions about the book, the band and how he’s dealt with going back to the U.S. ...
Montecito Acquires Film Rights to 'Big In China' (Exclusive)
Journalist Alan Paul's new memoir about his unlikely adventures in Beijing is being developed with an eye for Ivan Reitman to direct.
Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock’s Montecito Pictures has acquired the film rights to journalist Alan Paul’s new memoir Big in China: My Unlikely Adventure Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Reinventing Myself in Beijing.
Big in China is being developed with an eye for Reitman to direct. Project is out to writers.
'Tiger Moms' popular in China
Beijing - The strict parenting style advocated by Amy Chua, the Yale law professor, in her latest book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is still popular in the country today, according to a recent survey.
The Australian 16/5/2011
The author of a new book says genetics rather than chess lessons have a bigger effect on success
YOU believe, because it is one of the last self-evident, incontrovertible truths, that raising a child is one of the most influential jobs in the world. And that's why you will find what comes next so difficult.
Bryan Caplan, the American academic and author of the new book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, puts it: "Adoption and twin research provides strong evidence that parenting barely affects a child's prospects. If parents gave themselves a big break - or redoubled their efforts - their kids would turn out about the same."
... "By the time you're an adult, your parents' past mistakes are not the reason for your present unhappiness," says Caplan.
... "For me, enjoying the journey and being kind to your child is really what counts, not moulding the child for a science project."
From the Article: 'The author, Amy Chua, had a simple formula: effort into a child, results out. As proof, Chua made a concert pianist and Harvard student of her daughter through harsh daily drilling.'
Kaixin OpEd – Kaixin checked on YouTube for a recital by Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld.
Kaixin used to teach the piano and has become a bit of an expert researching on the WWW and YouTube.
Kaixin knows, for sure, that if young Sophia was not born with the right genetic soup no amount of practice could turn her into a concert pianist.
I did the search so I could hear just how good a concert pianist she was.
Nothing …. diddly squat ……. zilch …….. silence.
Kaixin is not at all surprised.
That she is not a concert pianist does not reflect on Sophia or on lurking tiger mums, but is does show how this story has taken on a life of its own, with myth, lore, spells and lotions for all we know.
A word of advice from a music teacher, who listens to great concert pianists and sighs …… you cannot beat that level of musicianship into a child. The child is either born with it or not ……….. no amount of strict discipline will change that.
If it could be achieved through practice and discipline then I would be a concert pianist. However the gods obviously decided not to bestow that gift on me.
CCTV Dialogue 29/6/2011
The Wall Street Journal 22/8/2011
A Long Summer for 'Weary Tiger' Mothers [Extract]
Seventies parenting resembled crate training—now, we're actually expected to watch our kids
The Bee-Jones summer vacation-slam-stravaganza is officially underway. Two blissful weeks of country solitude, trees, farmers' markets and forging countless "precious memories" with our three beautiful children. Random quality check: We are 1,713 minutes in, and so far, I have never worked harder in my life. When is this vacation going to be over?!
Let's be clear about something: I love my children more than life itself, and I would happily lay down my life or yours for them, as required. And I am a "tiger mother" of sorts; except that in my case, I'm the tiger who lays there helplessly in the sun as her tiger babies climb all over her, tugging on her fur and generally having their way with her. It's summer vacation with the kids again, and I am in full "weary tiger" mode.
I am a child of the 1970s. What that means, in short, is that my childhood summer vacations were spent languishing in front of the TV watching Phil Donahue and eating Boo Berry until my skin turned purple. Nobody cared if I read. Nobody cared if I wore sunscreen, or pants. I was like a house cat; my parents barely even knew if I was still living with them or whether I had moved in with the old lady down the street who would put out a bowl of food for me.
There's simply no point in denying the inverse relationship between children who anxiously await summer's end and the subtle frisson their parents feel knowing that soon their children will be back at school. Actually, maybe it's not that subtle.
Now if you will excuse me, the DVD is skipping and the children need more mini M&M's on their cookie pizzas. Duty calls.
Kaixin Oped (Graeme, a child of the 60's, which set the scene for the children of the 70's) - At last, some common sense. I agree with the article (above, The Australian 16/5/2011) that says parents, in a reasonably normal family, have little influence on the outcome of their child. It is all in the genetic soup they were born with.
I know I had children because they now come around and drone on about parenting, with the not so subtle inference that we were just that little bit neglectful ...
They won't let me give the children plastic toys to chew on, or chocolate ice creams to lick and smear and generally cover the furniture ....... in.
M&M Pizza, what a good idea, I think I have the munchies.
"Tiger Mom" leaves, "Wolf Dad" arrives
Just as the “Tiger Mom” controversy started simmering down in China, here comes the "Wolf Daddy." Xiao Baiyou, a self-proclaimed expert on strict parenting, is sparking a new round of fervent discussion on child-raising methodologies among anxious Chinese parents.
He insists he’s the best parent in the world. This past June, Xiao Baiyou published a book on parenting that featured a severe method---spanking.
Howl of the 'Wolf Dad'
Businessman says hitting his kids got them into top college
BEIJING - The list of rules in Xiao Baiyou's house is endless: No Coca Cola while surfing the Internet, no air conditioner even in the summer, no pocket money, and definitely no socializing or extra curricular activities.
His four children are not even allowed to open his refrigerator without getting permission.
The punishment for rule-breaking is more often than not a whack with a rattan cane.
"A father is like a general, and there are rules to abide by and punishment to shoulder if they are broken," said the 47-year-old. "Nowadays Chinese parents are too soft; they have abandoned the traditional Chinese way of good parenting."
Xiao, who was nicknamed "Wolf Dad" in a recently published memoir, even credits his stern parenting style for the fact that three of his offspring now attend Peking University, one of China's most prestigious educational institutions.
According to Xiao's philosophy, children under 18 are like animals and cannot distinguishing right from wrong.
China Daily 24th April 2012
Author wishes she offered more on ties with daughters.
CCTV 3rd May 2012