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Introduction to Issue

Dr Amy Chua, a Professor of Law at Yale Law School, caused a global furore when she wrote in the Wall Street Journal in January this year about “why Chinese mothers are superior.” The article, written in conjunction with the publishing of her book ‘The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’, created a controversy amongst parents in the West for her extremist parenting methods in bringing up her two girls. She claims that Chinese parents are better at raising children than Western parents, and that tough parenting is better than indulging one’s children in protection of their self-esteem. This has made her unpopular in the US, with some adverse criticisms over forums for being “a monster”. She has even received death threats as a result of her article.
Dr Chua’s style is infamously associated with Asian, and in particular Chinese, culture: tough parenting. Supporters of tough parenting usually claim to have strict upbringing by their parents and have grown up to be responsible, mature adults all the same. They, hence, have no qualms imposing the same treatment on their children. Opponents of tough parenting, however, claim that pushing a child too hard can backfire, creating rebels that try to break free from oppression. Also, children of different personalities and age groups may need different handling styles, so it might be difficult to enforce strict parenting on all children.

There could also be other factors at play here. As the Chinese saying goes, “Longing to see one’s son become a dragon; longing to see one’s daughter become a phoenix.” Are parents being too earnest about wanting their children to succeed? Might parents even be vicariously living their desires through their children, such as wanting their son to become a doctor, because they themselves were unable to fulfil such dreams? Or are parents just developing ‘trophy children’ as showcase ornaments to stage a boast and behave like the Joneses?

Videos on Tiger Mum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAel_qRfKx8 ABC Interviews Dr Amy Chua
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12389573 BBC Interviews Dr Amy Chua

http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2011/01/tiger-moms-husband-i-agree-with-99-of-her-parenting.html Dr Amy Chua's Husband's Stand
http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/01/13/the-tiger-mother-responds-to-readers/ - Wall Street Journal on Raising Children


Here are some articles to refer to for help in understanding this issue. Please feel free to source for more articles in print and non-print form.