Thursday, January 31, 2013

Becoming a Tiger Mom?

I just read the book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  My husband and I have been eagerly waiting to read this together with a few other parenting books we'd read about in the Wall Street Journal with the baby coming, and I finally picked up a copy.

Well, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the book.  Not because it was poorly written.  On the contrary - it was very well written.  I finished Amy Chua's captivating memoir almost overnight.  I was disappointed because I thought it was going to be less of a memoir of her personal journey and more of an anthropological look into the differences between Chinese and American parenting philosophies... with antic dotes from her personal life. 

There were parts of the book where I cringed at Ms. Chua's behavior toward her kids, but at no time did I think, "this is the worst mother on the planet."  I was actually impressed that she kept on course with her plan.  She also achieved great results with her two girls - despite some of the battles.  I find it fascinating that so many Americans were so intensely offended by her parenting.  Yes, she took things to the extreme at times, but I don't know any parent who hasn't lost it with their kids from time to time.  Although I don't yet have my own kids, I was a live-in nanny for quite a few different families and I can remember one time in particular... well, let's just say, buttons were pushed... and I completely lost it.

I was not raised by "tiger parents."  However, I have always found myself very impressed by people with such a strong work ethic like Amy Chua and her kids.  Ms. Chua most definitely has a point about laziness in parenting... the effort she put in was exhausting to read about... I know most parents would have given up early on... and I wondered how I will be as a parent.  I believe that diligence is something that needs to be taught.  That humans, myself included, like to take the path of least resistance, and that our culture is breaking down in many ways because of this lack of effort.

That said, I am the first to question authority and take the easy way out so there is definitely no judgement here!  I identified much more with the younger more rebellious daughter than the older more focused one.  However, I also tend to be like Ms. Chua - I am always saying things I see as "helpful" to other which I'm told come across as completely rude or unkind.  My husband is always letting me know how rude something I said has come off - completely unintentionally of course... thankfully most people I know, including my husband, know I have a good heart, I guess.  And like Ms. Chua, I am self aware enough to know I am the way I am... such is life.

Have you read it?  It's an interesting book... definitely worth reading.  And I'd love to know what you think of it!

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