More Tiger Mother Controversy

        I'm sure most of you have at least heard about the new book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Yale professor Amy Chua. Especially with the excerpt released in The Wall Street Journal, it's been the subject of endless controversy, with some parents crying child abuse and others giving it praise at uncovering the secret to the rampant success of Chinese children. 
        At first glance, I thought I was one of the products of such tiger parents. My parents were never so completely strict, but close enough. I was always pushed to my limits, and then when I reached them they were pushed further. However, her kids had something that I did not.  When her exemplary daughters did become successful, they received "plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home." This was part of the tiger mother deal I don't believe I ever got. Chua remarks that growing up she was called "garbage," and it somehow made her feel the esteem she got from her parents, despite the fact that she had disappointed them. Chua knew that her parents loved her, even when they were strict. 
        I suppose my parents do love me, and they always have. What immoral parents do not love their children? Why elsewould they worry so much about my grades and such? That's something I had to bring myself to assume consciously. Growing up, I never once had a moment of "wow, my parents love me so much, and I love them too!!" It was always strained, with my mother especially, as she would relentlessly scrutinize my every action, tone of voice, and facial twitch. I never heard the words "I love you" from my parents until my later teenage years, when I guess they learned parents were supposed to say that kind of thing. I listened to other kids at my school talk about the loving relationships they had with their parents, even kids who had similarly strict parents, and I just couldn't understand.
        What has helped me understand this the best I think was high school psychology class. "Authoritative" parenting styles, which were strict but responsive to children, yield self-proficient, balanced kids. "Authoritarian" parenting styles are strict but not very responsive, and they yield depressed kids without self-worth. It helps to explain the way I am quite precisely.
        What Amy Chua was getting at is that Chinese kids are successful because they know they have the full backing of their parents, with confidence, love, and harsh discipline. Essentially, I'm proud of my accomplishments, and I appreciate all that my parents have given me. However, there is still a funny twinge inside that tells me I'm missing something.
        I have never believed in uncondtional love, but maybe it's one of those things that can only exist for you after you've known it. Actually, not so long ago I thought I had it. But it turned out to be a flight of teenage fancy. It's something I want to experience fully before I die. I feel like unconditional love is a sort of bucket list item that most people take for granted.

1 comment:

  1. I'll tell you a story but you won't listen
    It's about a nightmare steeped in tradition
    It's the story of a coked-up pansy
    Who spent his nights in a flights of fancy

    i red ovr the "teenage flight of fancy" bit 'nd wuz reminded of dis song.

    hey bbygurl. i ruv u. i was actually just talking about this with my bio teacher today.. i'm deffs checkin' the book out.