Although I'd heard of the expression 'Tiger Mother' I didn't know much about the book that it came from. I somehow had missed the huge controversial debate that happened after it's release.
'Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother' by Amy Chua is, in her own words....
'a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old'
Amy, is Chinese - American, raised in the traditional strict Chinese way by her parents who immigrated to the USA before her birth. She chose to raise her two girls in the same way despite the extra difficulties of doing it in a country where it was considered unusual at best and at worst cruel.
I deliberately didn't read anything online about the book before I received it, as I wanted to make up my own mind about it. I enjoyed the book and I read it as I believe Amy Chua intended it to come across - a memoir and a comic one at that. I didn't get the impression that she was telling the world that the Chinese parenting method was better and was surprised to read how she was completely attacked by the media (most of whom had probably not read the book themselves!) after it's release.
Although I'd never contemplate raising my children in such a strict manner - no playdates, no sleepovers,and up to 10 hours of study a day for example, I don't believe that makes her a bad Mother as such, everything she did was in her opinion for the benefit of her children (who now as young adults have said they are pleased they were raised as they were) and in the same way that millions of children have been raised for years.
This is one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time and I found it fascinating as she explained the reasons behind the Chinese parenting method and think there are some good points in it - just as Western parenting has many pluses and minuses. Raising children is not an easy thing to do, no one parent will ever do it the same way and there is no 'right method' and I think the following quote from the book is a good example of that fact.
Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their passions, support their choices and provide positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast the Chinese believe the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they are capable of and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no-one can ever take away.
Put like that, maybe some Western children could do with a little bit of 'Tiger Mothering'!
I was sent this book for review by Bloomsbury Publishing, I was not told what to write and the opinions are my own.