Tiger Parents versus Tiger Cubs

  I'm not going National Geographic on you, I'm talking about a parenting style.  A prescription for parenting that made a lot of Westerners sick.  It was recently thrust into the spotlight by a best selling book called "Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua.  It's by no means, anything less than controversial and a definite conversation starter.

   In a nutshell, it's a very strict way of parenting to produce prodigies.  And, that's exactly what Amy Chua is in the process of doing.  She has two daughters who are over-achievers to say the least, one having performed at Carnegie Hall on the piano at the ripe old age of 14.  That's just one small accolade they have on their teenage resumes.  But, her methods chronicled in her memoir have struck a nerve.

   It didn't help when a headline in The Wall Stree Journal read "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior".  That was the match that lit the firestorm.  And Amy Chua's methods, she claims are shared by many Asian cultures, were off and running. 

   A local author and business psychologist took notice.  His name is Lac Su and he wrote a memoir of his own about being raised by Tiger parents.  He does not consider his childhood a happy one and experiences a great many residual issues because of it.   A deep-seeded fear of failure to name one.

   His book "I Love Yous Are For White People", recounts his own upbringing under the harsh reign of an abusive Tiger Father.  Amy Chua does not contend she ever physically abused her children, though the mental and emotional battles are discussed in great detail in her book.  She makes no apologies for her approach, though a rebellious child softened some of her rules over the years.  It is an interesting read and Lac Su contends it should be nothing more than that.  He doesn't want Americans to view it as a "how to guide" for raising successful people. 

   I haven't finished both books, but will.  My take on it is this.  We are emboldened by birth here in America to pursue happiness.  It's in our Bill of Rights.  So, to rule our children in a more militant style would be a clash with our own culture.  We celebrate our Declaration of Independence with fireworks and pride....so again, how could we ask our own children not to celebrate their individuality and independent thoughts?

   As a nation of inherent rebels, I think ruling with the iron fist of a Tiger Mom would prove a difficult battle...another Civil War if you will, in your own home.  So, think long and hard about how your want to raise your cubs...it could come back to bite you.

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