Amy Chua, who is a law professor at Yale University, has a new book out: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book describes the parenting methods Professor Chua employed when raising her two daughters, now aged 18 and 14. An extract published in the January 8 Wall Street Journal caused a small sensation. Within a week, the online version of the extract had generated over 6,000 comments and was the talk of the nation.
Professor Chua’s prescriptions are, to put it very mildly indeed, at odds with current American notions of wise parenting. Determined “not to raise a soft, entitled child,” she makes her daughters’ childhood sound like Marine Corps boot camp minus the rest breaks. This, she argues, with some supporting statistics, is the Chinese way. (Professor Chua is of Chinese ancestry.) “Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.”