Thanks to Amy Chua’s new memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” we have a new archetype of motherhood — Asian Tiger Parenting. Like the Raising Able approach, Tiger Mothers assume the child is resilient and can handle failure and take responsibility. Tiger mothers’ goal is for their children to compete and win, no matter what the cost. Is that childhood?
What Tiger Parents lacks is mutual respect. A Korean friend raised with a Tiger mother was forced to practice piano three hours a day. My friend is an excellent pianist, when she plays. In order to gain her freedom, my friend secretly plotted an elaborate escape when she was 21 years old. Mother and daughter had limited contact for years afterwards.
This is not the relationship I want with my children and adult children. It completely lacks in mutual respect for the child’s wishes.
Parenting is like a balancing act where power is shared. Parents are the guides, offering boundaries, encouragement and advice. Children are the high wire artists. They practice for hours while parents spot from below, ready to catch them and help them back up.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every parenting style. There is no perfect mother or father or perfect childhood. Let the Tiger mothers growl. I hope their children rebel and run away. Sadly, some crack under the pressure to perform, achieve and win. They succumb to depression and suicide.
Let the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” play out her 15 minutes of fame.
“All God’s mothers got a place in the choir. Some sing low, some sing higher. Some sing out loud on the telephone wire. And some just clap their hands or paws or anything they got now.”