A honest journey of a devoted mom and her family. I learned A LOT from her. I highly recommend this to any western parent. Take some of the principles and make them your own. Of course she is extreme, but don't let that put you off; she knows she has flaws in her thinking and is on a journey to improve, just as many of us hope to do. I listened to the CD with my 9 year old so that she would see that I am not strict! It worked like a charm! My child also gets to see the strategy, goals and benefits from a different parenting style. It helped as I adapted a hybrid model in my home. I also laughed as I went through the book, it is well written.
To say that Amy Chua is a devoted parent is like saying the Sun is a good source of light. HUGE understatement. And she can't help but clash with Americans who allow their children more personal freedoms, even if that means the child chooses arts and crafts over math and science. Welcome to Amy Chua's traditional Chinese parenting model.
What makes Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother so endearing, and worth reading, is watching Amy express just as much self-doubt as she does confidence. The Chinese method is superior—she's sure of it!—except when it doesn't work, and then she struggles with what to do next. These revelations connect her with the reader through a hint of sympathetic vulnerability. At one point she even admits that Chinese parents don't handle failure well, and experiencing failure is arguably the best teacher there is.
I liked this book a lot! I don't agree with everything she says, and I certainly didn't raise my son the way she has raised her daughters, but I found the cultural comparisons in the book fascinating, and I actually laughed a lot. And her daughters seem to have survived just fine, with lots of strengths. We are all imperfect parents, doing the best we can with what we believe. It is clear that Amy Chua cared a lot about her daughters, and put a huge amount of effort into trying to raise them as well as she could. When her second daughter seriously resisted her (at age 13 or 14), she did back off, which is described in the book. Also described is how all members of the family read her book drafts and she listened to everybody and made changes until everyone was in agreement. So she has a relationship with her girls that many others would envy. There are many issues raised in the book that are terrific subjects for debate. A very useful and quite fascinating book. Her oldest daughter's blog is here: http://tigersophia.blogspot.ca/
Why is the art of music required to endure the ill-informed antics of such inarticstic imbeciles as Amy Chau? Her lust for fame as an old-fashioned stage mother of either a famous violinist (yet another mechanical Sarah Chang?) or a famouls pianist (yet another mechanical Lang Lang?) shines through what she perceives as devotion to the cultivation of the cultural sensivities of her two unfortunate daughters.
Daughter Lulu at age 7 is unable to play compound rhythms from Jacques Ibert with both coordinated hands? Leonard Bernstein couldn't conduct this at age 50! And he isn't the only musician of achievement with this-or-that shortcoming. We all have our closets with doors that are not always fully opened.
And why all this Chinese obsession unthinkingly dumped on violin and piano? What do the parents with such insistence know of violin and piano repertoire? Further, what do they know of the great body of literature for flute? For French horn? For organ? For trumpet? Usually, nothing!
For pressure-driven (NOT professionally-driven!) parents like Amy Chua their children, with few exceptions, will remain little more than mechanical sidebars to the core of classical music as it's practiced by musicians with a humanistic foundation.
Professor Chau better be socking away a hefty psychoreserve fund in preparation for the care and feeding of her two little lambs once it becomes clear to them both just how empty and ill-defined with thorough grounding their emphasis has been on so-called achievement.
Read more about this in Forbidden Childhood (N.Y., 1957) by Ruth Slenczynska
This was an interesting read - of course keeping in mind that Amy Chua is way out there. I keep wondering how her husband agreed to go along with her extreme boot camp child-rearing. It is a good conversation starter regarding what is the best parenting style and is there some happy medium (between perceived slacker Western parents vs. crazy, over baring, domineering Chinese parents) we should be working towards.
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