Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, written by Amy Chua, is indeed an examination of the disparities between parenting styles and the principles that children and parents all across the world teach each other. The Tiger, being a natural metaphor for force, instills dread and reverence in most people. Therefore, while Western parents emphasize the importance of a child’s interests and mental health, Asian parents emphasize the accomplishments of children. With its stress on the commitment to the family and reaching high standards, Tiger parenting seems too authoritarian. The best parenting does not rely on setting almost unreachable standards for the offspring and depriving them of their peers’ experience but on a sense of parental respect for hobbies and ambitions.
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At the beginning of an excerpt, Battle hymn of the tiger mother, Amy Chua sheds light on the overall image of a typical Asian parent. Though many parents who come from different cultures are awed by the ability of Asians to make their children young whizzes with many talents, Chua believes it can be achieved through various deprivations. Asian parents create certain limitations for children and certain standards which will lead to the desired outcome.
Therefore, in order to achieve an excellent performance, the author deprives her daughter of some freedoms and entertainment. For example, aside from not being allowed to watch TV or be in a school play, Chua’s daughter is not allowed to “get any grade less than an A” (Chua 1). Thus, according to the Tiger Mom, the only way to foster a sense of success in a child is through a series of withholdings. Entertainments of various sorts can weaken a child and therefore lead to disobedience.
However, while Western parents may think they are strict with their children, Chua asserts that they are nowhere close to Asian parents and their high demands. The author sheds light on research conducted with 48 Asian and 50 Western mothers to prove this statement. In this study, American mothers stated that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun” (Chua 2). Thus, American parents emphasize their children’s enthusiasms, whether in hobbies or academic life. The love for their children does not correlate with their achievements, hence, making their children’s mental health a priority.
Tiger moms, on the other hand, share a completely different opinion. Chinese mothers believe that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and by coercing their children to perform well in all spheres of life, parents did their duties. According to this logic, Asian parents cannot separate parenthood from their sense of obligation. As a result, if an Asian child does not provide the expected results, there is a problem.
In the end, Chua accentuates the differences between a typical Western sports mom and an Asian mom who, at first glance, may have a lot in common. Nevertheless, the beliefs of Asian parents go to extremes with putting their children’s well-being at risk. According to the author, so-called tiger moms believe that “schoolwork always comes first” (Chua 2). This perception of success is correlated with the idea that the end justifies the means.
With Asian parenting style, a child must always strive to be the first in everything, whether they like it or not. A child will be under constant stress in order to get an A-grade, and if the grade does not meet the standard and it is below A, the child will blame himself. Moreover, Asian parents will always be on the side of the coach or teacher in dispute with their offspring. This approach to parenting may cause a child to feel completely lonely and distort their conditions of love.
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Moreover, the parenting methods of Tiger Moms extend to the restrictions of children in their own activities. According to Amy Chua, the only activities to which the children are limited are “those in which they can eventually win a medal” (Chua 2). Thus, children should concentrate not only on their academics but extracurricular achievements as well. The offspring should also keep in mind that their results should only meet the standards, with straight A’s in academic life and only gold medals in other activities. Therefore, Asian parents demand almost impossible from their children and expect them to make sacrifices, which, in their opinion, teaches them the values of their culture and will be passed on to future generations.
Hence, Asian parents go far beyond the limits to force their children to meet the standards and even exceed them. While Western parents emphasize their children’s well-being and give complete freedom to their offspring, Asian parents consider it their duty to make their children successful and talented. As a result, children not only feel pressure to perform well, but they might lose their sense of individuality because they are not allowed to go through the same experiences as their peers. These attitudes are far from being the best parenting techniques. The best parenting lies within the absence of limitations, full freedom, not the desire to create a robot that will be good at math.
Chua, Amy. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The Penguin Press, 2010.