Attack of the Tiger Parent

“All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that”

 When Yale law professor Amy Chua released her book,  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in 2011,  the authoritarian parenting style she claims to use for her own children generated a storm of controversy for parents and experts alike.   While similar parenting approaches are found in many cultures, the common perception that Asian American parents are exceptionally demanding in pushing their children to succeed has spawned the label of tiger parents in recent years.    Not only are tiger parents ferocious in disciplining their children and pushing them to succeed academically, but they also emphasize the obligation children have to their families.    Tiger parents are also seen as less warm and affectionate towards their children and reject any democratic values in running the household.  

 In her book, Chua insisted that the tiger parent values she used in raising her own children (one of whom is currently attending Harvard University)  are in line with the traditional Chinese approach for raising children.  Stressing academic achievement and family obligation represents a two-fold approach for children to bring honour to their families.    She also contrasted the Chinese approach to European child-raising approaches which typically focus on building self-esteem and personal growth.     In defending her tiger parenting, Chua argued that it was more appropriate for Chinese-American children that more permissive “Western-style” methods.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today post.


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