Urban students ponder “Tiger” parenting in light of viral article by Amy Chua


Jamie Friedman, Staff writer

You are not allowed to attend a sleepover. No play dates or school plays, no complaining about not being in a school play. You must be the top student in every class. Your extracurricular activities must consist of the violin or piano only.

Welcome to the lives of children living under the roof of Amy Chua, a Yale Law professor who passionately believes children are not pushed to their fullest potential.

On Jan. 11, Penguin press published her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Three days before, on Jan. 8, an excerpt titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” appeared in the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Chua writes, “what Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.”

The article sparked great controversy; responses appeared all over the blogosphere, in the New York Times, and on popular comedy-news show The Colbert Report, among others.

The “Tiger Mom” story has also caught the attention of Urban students, who in reaction to the article have wondered if it is fair or beneficial for a parent to decide their children’s activities as Chua does.

“I would not like it, I would hate my parents,” said Claire Conklin (’13).  Walker Willet (’13) worries that kids growing up in such an environment “would lack social skills.”  Elly Fireside-Ostergaard (’12) felt more positively about the article.  “I respect her a lot and I think she’s really cool,” Fireside-Ostergaard said. “But I would hate to have her as my own mother,” she added.

Some students think the article may exaggerate Chua’s strictness. “It sounds a little ridiculous to me—I doubt that (the article) is true,” commented Ian Finnegan (’14).  “I’ve never seen the Tiger Mom in action though, so I don’t know!”

–Reporting assistance by Hannah Gorman