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‘Tiger Mom’ Scolds American Parents, Shakes Things Up

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Posted on January 22 2011 10:00 am
Suzanne Venker, a.k.a. "No Bull Mom," is an author, blogger, and speaker. You can find her at www.suzannevenker.com.

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If you haven’t heard of Amy Chua by now, you’ve been living under a rock. Chua is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is currently ranked #5 on Amazon, thanks to the enormous amount of media coverage her Wall Street Journal article generated.

I weighed in on the debate both in my last NewsReal post (where I point out the pitfalls of Chua’s parenting style, not philosophy), as well as in the New York Post. I also spoke with Ms. Chua, who was so happy to read my Post article, entitled ‘Why America needs tiger mom,’ that she sent it to her whole family. “They love it,” she said.

I can understand why they would, what with all the negative hoopla surrounding Chua’s book. Amy Chua’s book is about her personal journey as a mother — the lengthy subtitle makes this clear — though in the process she explains how the Chinese parent differently than the way we do here in the West.

One of the points she makes is that American parents (and teachers, for that matter) aren’t authoritative but wishy-washy and are overly concerned with children’s self-esteem. They churn out entitled kids who haven’t the slightest idea of what it means to work hard – really, really hard. For this, Chua has received death threats.

To be fair, the response to Chua’s article has been overwhelming in part because Chua chose to share with the world some of her not-so-great parenting moments, times when she was overly strict or even downright cruel. But those who take the time to actually read the book – as opposed to reading an article that purposefully manipulates content to get attention – will see that Chua’s point is not that the Chinese way is perfect or that it can’t stand to be improved. Chua’s larger message is that parenting is an active term: it’s something we do — not something we witness.

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