Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am not a Tiger Mother

I just finished this book.

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.

There has been alot of media coverage surrounding this book and the Chinese method of parenting.  This book isn't a parenting guide- it's more of a memoir of one family and their journey.
Before I give a review I should be honest about my dreams for my girls. I want them to make their own choices, good and bad, and learn from them. I want them to do well in school.  I want them to be respectful of others and grateful for their blessings in life. But most of all I want them to grow into thoughtful, independent, self-confident and happy, self-assure women. I am a Western parent.

I went into the book with an open mind and tried not to be too judgemental. I thought the book was disturbing, hilarious, and heartwarming all at the same time. At times I just wanted to smack the author upside the head and tell her to get some perspective. It was then that I realized that she didn't need perspective. In her eyes she was doing what every good parent does, she was doing what she thought was best for her kids. As much as I may disagree with her approach or the level to which she took her Chinese parenting, I do admire her committment and dedication.

Things I agree with:
p. 49 during an argument with her daughter: "My goal as a parent is to prepare you for the future -- not to make you like me."

Statement that makes me cringe and want to argue:

"I came to see that Chinese parents have two things over their Western counterparts: (1) higher dreams for their children, and (2) higher regard for their children in the sense of knowing how much they can take."

No comments: