Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tiger Mother

"This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It's also about Mozart and Mendelssohn, the piano and violin, and how we made it to Carnegie Hall.
This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones.
But Instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old. "

"Here are some things my daughters Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do: 

attend a sleepover
have a playdate
be in a school play
complain about not being in a school play
watch TV or play computer games
choose their own extracurricular activities
get any grade less than an A
not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
play any instrument other than piano or violin
not play the piano or violin

I just finished reading this very interesting autobiographical book about a method of parenting the author refers to as Chinese, although it can apply to any parents who are demanding, strict, and have exceedingly high expectations for their children. The author comes off a little over the top some times, but I liked the idea of expecting more from children and being heavily involved in helping them use their agency/time wisely. You come away getting a sense of what sacrifices it takes to not only be exceptional, but #1 and wondering to yourself if its worth it. Amy Chua admits that the Chinese paradigm doesn't actually accommodate for happiness, just success, and that she's never been real good at enjoying life herself.  A great read. Quick, humorous, and insightful.  Two thumbs up.