Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Interesting review of this new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, on Fresh Air last night.  It pushes back on the RTN themes -- rather than arguing that we're pushing our kids to hard, Amy Chua purportedly (I haven't read the book) argues that harsh (my word) discipline and super hard work are both the gateways to opportunity and to "flow", both of which in turn lead to true freedom.  It is refreshing to hear a different point of view, yet I can't help but wish to find a way to pull the threads together.  Can't we treat children as full people, treat then with compassion and empathy AND encourage the kind of hard work and discipline that do lead us to happiness?

WSJ excerpt here 

Edit to add a link to a review by MojoMom, one of my favorite mothering blogs... she actually read the book and it sounds more literally harsh than my interpretation. 


Maya said...

It comes back to the ultimate question: Can a kid become an outstanding musician/athlete/ student if the parents aren't mean/pushy? Do we need to be Tiger Mothers or can we accept our kids for who they are? Is accepting them for who they are and letting them discover their own passions and motivations soft and American? Is that a negative thing or is it positive? How do we find out what motivates each person and work with that? Do we work with it at all or just let each kid figure it out for him/ herself? As usual, the questions go on and on.

Kimberly Simmons said...

The piece that really pushed me was her claim that children themselves will be happier -- have more opportunities/more freedom and more "flow" -- if they internalize a strong sense of discipline. I don't think that claim is outside of the mainstream in some ways (thinking of all the recent stuff on executive function, mindsets, etc.) but it is different than an emphasis on achievement for achievements' sake or the external accompishments -- I know I feel better when I'm performing more highly, and sometimes need a kick in the pants to get out of my lazy habits or a rut, even though it isn't pleasant. Still, I can't imagine being able to summons the ummph to parent in a way so disconnected from feelings. (again, all taken from a review :) )

Maya said...

Ah, now I've read that the excerpt that WSJ printed was just her introduction, that she spends the rest of the book telling how and why her thinking changed. I was unable to find the book through Minerva. Maybe I'll have to buy it, but I think Chuan deserves a fair shake.