Tiger Mom Under Attack by Proponent of Controversial 'Loving Your Kids' Approach

Illustration for article titled Tiger Mom Under Attack by Proponent of Controversial 'Loving Your Kids' Approach

Another Chinese-American mom — this one also a psych researcher — has come forward to challenge Amy Chua's famous/infamous suggestion that "tiger" parenting is the best way to raise successful kids. Shockingly, she says moderation is actually best.


According to ScienceDaily, Desiree Baolian Qin's research on Chinese immigrant parents and their families have found that such parents often do adopt "tiger mom" tactics, pressuring their kids to excel and comparing them unfavorably to less-successful siblings. In another study, she found that Chinese-American students at an East Coast high school had higher levels of depression and anxiety — and lower self-esteem — than their white classmates. Of course, there are lots of possible reasons for this that don't have to do with parenting, the effects of racism being just one. But Qin challenges the notion that Chua's Tiger Mom approach actually leads to a greater sense of self-worth. She's not necessarily advocating participation trophies either, though — says Qin,

I agree with Amy Chua that a child will develop strong self-esteem when they really master something. So that self-esteem should be grounded in their achievements, their ability, rather than empty praises from parents and teachers saying 'great job' for drawing a circle or 'great job' for just about anything.

However, she says, parents shouldn't belittle their children or overemphasize academic achievements at the expense of activities that develop social skills, like playdates (Chua is famously anti-play). She explains, "There is a healthy middle ground between the parenting extremes of the East and West. What is most beneficial to children, regardless of the culture, is clear and high expectations in a warm and loving family environment." So basically, parents should pursue a loving, balanced approach regardless of the latest fads and freakouts? I'm not sure I can accept that.

'Tiger Mothers' Should Tame Parenting Approach, Expert Says [ScienceDaily]

Image via Graça Victoria/Shutterstock.com


All Joy Wants Eternity

Oh for the love of God. I thought we had finally gotten away from this.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is NOT a how-to parenting book. It's a goddam memoir. Anyone who has either read the book or interviews that Chau has given should understand this, which makes me suspect that the people who keep bringing it up have done neither.