Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

At the age of 24, unmarried, and without child, it never occurred to me that I would read a parenting book. Yet, when a tremendous amount of media attention was paid to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a parenting book by Amy Chau, my curiosity started to itch. My mother, who was desperate to show my siblings and me her (what she thought) less-restricted-than-other-Chinese-parents parenting, nagged me to read the book. I picked it up at the local library and spent the following days on and off on the “story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones.”

Frankly, I was totally turned off by the way Chau was raised and how she raised her two daughters. I admitted that Chau and her daughters, who seemed to have achieved success in almost every aspect of life, enjoyed way more applauses and compliments than most of their peers. However, I could not agree with such pressure-cooker parenting and, in many situations, Chau’s humiliating her children in public was not appropriate. She emphasized in her book that her parents were even tougher on kids when she was a child. It struck me that Chau’s parenting method was likely a reflection of her unhappiness in her childhood. She had unconsciously unleashed that go-through-what-I-went-through feeling on her own children.

Inarguably, Chau was successful in making her daughters one of the most competitive students/musicians among their peers. Yet, I was concerned about their emotional health, especially the emotion of her younger daughter, that seemed faltering as Chau described toward the end of her story.

When it comes to parenting, there probably isn’t a right or wrong method. What is most important is that parenting has to be adjusted and adapted for individual—every child is different and thus a cookie-cutter parenting method is unlikely to work for everyone. Chau apparently overlooked this important point in her quest for becoming the “tiger mother.”

I am not in the position to criticize how Chau raised her daughters. I just hope Chau’s daughters will not do the same to their own children.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hannah
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 20:16:27

    Hello. My name is Hannah and I can crochet, knit, french knit, finger knit, and sew. I love to crochet food and was looking up patterns on YouTube and found your food that you have crocheted. It was amazing. I have included in this comment my blog addresses. You will find that I have a post on each of them about my croceted food. (awesome is meant to be spelled awesome)



    • sylviachow
      Sep 11, 2011 @ 12:36:54

      Awesome, Hannah!! I also can knit and sew but I don’t think I know as many techniques as you do. Your blogs are interesting with the posts about your dolls and crochet results. Yummi’ Gurumi is actually one of the books I plan to buy (in fact, I am waiting for a price drop on Amazon…lol). Keep up the great work and I look forward to sharing our works with each other in the future.



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