Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
By Amy Chua
(Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9781594202841, 256pp.)
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
List Price: $25.95*
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All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:
? have a playdate
? be in a school play
? complain about not being in a school play
? not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
? play any instrument other than the piano or violin
? not play the piano or violin
The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.
Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:
"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:
1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.
2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.
3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them "
But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
Strict, uncompromising values and discipline are what makes children raised by Chinese parents successful. That's the message in a new parenting book by Yale Law Professor Amy Chua. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," is based on Chua's personal experiences has raised questions about whether the book reinforces stereotypes of the unsparing Asian parent. Host Michel Martin speaks with the author about the memoir and her cultural views on raising children. More at NPR.org
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