I certainly made mistakes and have regrets—my book is a kind of coming-of-age book (for the mom!), and the person at the beginning of the book, whose voice is reflected in the Journal excerpt, is not exactly the same person at the end of book. In a nutshell, I get my comeuppance; much of the book is about my decision to retreat (but only partially) from the strict immigrant model.
Chua has written three books, the first two on international affairs and the third a memoir.
Her second book Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall (2007) examines seven major empires and posits that their success depended on their tolerance of minorities.
Her first book, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (2003), explores the ethnic conflict caused in many societies by disproportionate economic and political influence of "market dominant minorities" and the resulting resentment in the less affluent majority. World on Fire examines how globalization and democratization since 1989 have affected the relationship between market dominant minorities and the wider population, including examining her own Filipino Chinese culture.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherChua, who is ethnically Chinese but whose parents emigrated from the Philippines, published her third book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2010. The book is a memoir in which Chua explains her views on parenting, specifically as it relates to her claims of being a typical Chinese parent. In an earlier interview, Chua has claimed that even though her children speak Chinese, they are "raised Jewish".
What bothers me is that she seems to think that ALL Chinese mothers are one way and all Western mothers are another way. I don't think this is true at all.
Millions of people raise their children this way. It’s not just Chinese people. It’s really an immigrant thing. I know Indians and people from Nigeria and Ghana and Jamaica. Even some Irish. I did not write this book to promote the Chinese model. It’s as much about mistakes as it is about successes.
I haven’t done a study but I think that, ironically, although Western parents are the ones that worry so much about self-esteem – and Chinese parents don’t, they assume strength rather than fragility – I wonder if the Chinese approach isn’t better at creating self-esteem. You can coddle your child and tell them, “You’re the best no matter what.” But in the end, when they go out into the real world, I think it’s pretty tough out there and other children are cruel. When your child doesn’t do so well at school or make the team they’d wished they’d made or can’t get the job they want, that’s when people really lose self-esteem.
The happiness question is up for grabs. I definitely don’t think that one approach leads to happier children.
The country of China has yet to show any superiority in their education system.
More follow-up from Ms. Chua:
Quote:I certainly made mistakes and have regrets—my book is a kind of coming-of-age book (for the mom!), and the person at the beginning of the book, whose voice is reflected in the Journal excerpt, is not exactly the same person at the end of book. In a nutshell, I get my comeuppance; much of the book is about my decision to retreat (but only partially) from the strict immigrant model.
I have the opposite problem with Chua. I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.
Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.
Yet mastering these arduous skills is at the very essence of achievement. Most people work in groups. We do this because groups are much more efficient at solving problems than individuals (swimmers are often motivated to have their best times as part of relay teams, not in individual events). Moreover, the performance of a group does not correlate well with the average I.Q. of the group or even with the I.Q.’s of the smartest members.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon have found that groups have a high collective intelligence when members of a group are good at reading each others’ emotions — when they take turns speaking, when the inputs from each member are managed fluidly, when they detect each others’ inclinations and strengths.
Participating in a well-functioning group is really hard. It requires the ability to trust people outside your kinship circle, read intonations and moods, understand how the psychological pieces each person brings to the room can and cannot fit together.
This skill set is not taught formally, but it is imparted through arduous experiences. These are exactly the kinds of difficult experiences Chua shelters her children from by making them rush home to hit the homework table.
Chua would do better to see the classroom as a cognitive break from the truly arduous tests of childhood. Where do they learn how to manage people? Where do they learn to construct and manipulate metaphors? Where do they learn to perceive details of a scene the way a hunter reads a landscape? Where do they learn how to detect their own shortcomings? Where do they learn how to put themselves in others’ minds and anticipate others’ reactions?
These and a million other skills are imparted by the informal maturity process and are not developed if formal learning monopolizes a child’s time.
Amy Chua's parents were academics and members of the Chinese ethnic minority in the Philippines before emigrating to the United States. Amy's father, Leon O. Chua, is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley and is known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks. Amy was born in 1962 in Champaign, Illinois and lived in West Lafayette, Indiana. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Berkeley, California. Chua graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1984. She obtained her J.D. cum laude in 1987 from Harvard Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.