In 2011, Amy Chua, a Yale University professor published “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, a memoir that describes her parenting journey. Her claim that her Chinese parenting is superior to Western ways stirred up disputes in Mainland China, America, Australia, England and Canada. Many news channel such as TODAY, Channel4News, ABCNews, CNN, 60 Mintues and The Agenda with Steve Paikin all discussed Amy Chua’s parenting approach. She pointed out that childhood is not merely for the experience of happiness, it is a process of training to prepare for the future marketing demands. After the book was published, the reactions from the audiences were mixed. However, most of the response from Americans were negative, they regarded Amy Chua’s parenting style is overly rigid, lacking respect for children’s human rights and neglecting children’s emotional needs.
While when I finished Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” for the first time, I was furious. My initial reaction was this is typical emotional abuse, isn’t it? Her rigid approach violates basic human rights: in a democratic society everyone, including children, has the right to express their opinions; parents should be considering child’s nature, capacity when assigning appropriate tasks. However, Amy Chua’s demanding that her daughter spend three hours practicing her piano per day, no play dates, no sleep over, and A grades in all subjects, these extremely rigid rules certainly categorizes her approach as an autocratic parenting style: THE DICTATOR. According to Michael Popkin’s definition, the dictator exerts absolute control, all powerful in dictating the lives of her children. There is little or no room for children to question, challenge or disagree.
However, my furious feelings towards her subsided gradually after I read her book for the second and third time. Since, being a Chinese mother myself, deep down on many perspectives, my thoughts are in line with Amy Chua’s approach, such as prioritizing the learning, valuing discipline, following routine, respect for the elderly etc. In order to further understand Amy Chua’s parenting approach, and the traditional Chinese way of child rearing, I would like find out what the core values are behind all of those actions. Since her approach does represent the parenting style for the majority of people of Chinese descent.
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