23 FebBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua 5/52

I like to read parenting books.  As a mother of a two-year-old, I still think I can learn a thing or two.

A customer once told me that he did not like parenting books as there is no one way to parent that works for every child.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother proves that he just may be right about that!

I had heard about the big controversy over the author’s bold opinions on Western vs. Chinese parenting, and I have to confess that I started reading this with a preconceived notion that I wasn’t going to like this Amy Chua woman and that I just may not be reading this one all the way through.

Truth is, I read this in a few hours.  I couldn’t put it down, it was that compelling.

Amy talks about her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa, and how she rejected the typical “lax” Western style of parenting and embraced the rigid Chinese model.  She describes North American parents as allowing kids too many choices and says that in encouraging kids to follow their passions at a young age, they will most likely end up choosing to play on the computer.

Here is a list from her book, of things her girls were never allowed to do:

  • attend a sleepover
  • have a playdate
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • choose their own extracurricular activities
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • not play the piano or violin.

She discusses a very rigorous daily music practice of 3-6 hours daily.  Vacations were never an exception.  They would find a piano somewhere and continue their practices.

Amy Chua really put herself out there when she wrote this.  She has been criticized since she wrote this book and many have called her “selfish” and said that she doesn’t really love her girls.

I actually disagree.  I never got the impression that she didn’t love her daughters.  She sacrificed a lot for them, spending hours drilling them during practices when she could have been getting her nails done or having “girls’ nights out”.  I believe that her drilling them to do their very best will continue to pay off throughout their lives.  Do I think her approach was right every time?  No way.  I am way too immersed in the Western style of parenting for that.  She had a lot of good points and I found myself admitting that she is right on the money about some things.

SPOILER ALERT:  The Chinese model works for one of the girls, but not the other. END SPOILER

I give this book 5/5 stars, and highly recommend it for book clubs it allows for a lot of lively discussion!

Leave a Reply