Tiger Mom Amy Chua getting clawed
Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer weighed in today on the furor over "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," Amy Chua's memoir of "raising two daughters in the Chinese way, with threats, taunts and unrelenting discipline." The Yale Law School professor has been slammed ever since she outlined strict child-rearing tactics that included rejecting a hamdmade birthday card for lack of effort, and calling her daughter "garbage." It comes off as a cross between "The Great Santini" and "Mommie Dearest." But Chua defends her style, and says her lessons, which reflect American values of hard work, were always set against a background of love.
Reimer says the outcry offers a different lesson for parents. Here's an excerpt from her column:
"We are harder on each other than any Tiger mother might be on her children. We brook no criticism of our parenting decisions, yet we are ready to have another mother shipped to Guantanamo for hers.
"Because we are so uncertain of our own methods, we snatch up books like Chua's (it is tops at Amazon.com) not because we think somebody else has it right, but because we have a morbid curiosity about how it is going in the houses down the street.
"Instead of learning from each other about what works and what doesn't in the crapshoot that is child-rearing, we hope another mother's failure will affirm our choices and therefore ensure our children's success.
"Amy Chua's book has produced a mommy backlash of predictable and distressing proportions, while the kernel of wisdom — that Chinese parents assume strength where Western parents assume fragility — is lost. Mama Grizzlies? To be sure."