‘Tiger Mom’ to kids: hear me roar

Imagine growing up without being allowed ride your bikes around the neighborhood, cheer on your high school football team, go on sleepovers or — heaven forbid — get a B in chemistry.

Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

But according to Amy Chua — she’s a Yale law professor and mother of two — this Chinese-style approach to parenting results in higher-achieving kids. This theory was the basis for her bestselling (and, let’s face it, controversial) memoir-manifesto, “Battle Hymn of the Chinese Mother.” (Listen to an interview with Chua on National Public Radio.)

Oh, it’s an interesting read.

In addition to forcing her daughters — Lulu, now 15, and Sophia, now 18 — to practice the violin or piano (no other instrument) at least two hours a day, she would toss back unimpressive birthday cards, ordering them to do better. They weren’t allowed sleepovers or play dates. Chua even threatened to burn Sophia’s stuffed animals if she didn’t improve her piano playing.

“What Chinese parents understand,” Chua writes, “is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.”

I don’t think I’d last past preschool in her house.

It’s no surprise that this book has spawned all sorts of criticism — even death threats — about everything from Chua’s racist views on parenting to her overly harsh methods for pushing her children to succeed. But her oldest daughter, told the New York Post that her mom’s “strict parenting forced me to be more independent.”

So what do you think about Chua’s severe methods of parenting? Too much? Or do you think children these days need this kind of strict guidance to keep them on track?


Amy Chua responds to uproar on PBS


To read all of Cat’s blogs, visit www.nonstophonolulu.com/thedailydish. Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at cat@nonstophonolulu.com.

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