Tiger Mother, Wistfully

by Jane S. Shaw

The Wall Street Journal column by Amy Chua that has riveted parents around the world over the past two weeks has evoked discussion even among college students. In her article (and book), Chua explains that “Chinese mothers,” of which she is one, have a fierce desire to make their children succeed; they let nothing get in the way of that, however harsh the discipline to achieve it may become.

So what do the children of non-Chinese mothers think? I recently read excerpts from a fraternity list-serv that contained a series of candid and poignant responses by twenty-somethings. Although some thought Chua went too far, one college student said, “Secretly I wish my parents had been more like Chua. . . . Ambition, I have plenty of, but discipline and rigid prioritization are areas for improvement.” Perhaps today’s college students will treat the next generation differently.