7 responses to “Mean Mom Meets Tiger Mom: I Read the Book”

  1. Sally

    I have not read the book, but I do think that one of the biggest parenting challenges is knowing when to push and when to stop, when to be flexible and when to hold a hard line. Is Chau able to show any flexibility? Is that good or bad? Can one be flexible and consistent (the golden standard of parenting)? I don’t have any answers, but I do believe that Chau and the rest of us are really just trying to do our best.

  2. sue

    I didn’t read the book and don’t plan to, since it doesn’t really interest me. But my takeaway from the original article and the follow up articles and conversations is this: parenting is all about balance and balancing the best you can. I have yet to meet the “perfect” mother or the “perfect” style, and frankly, the moment you have that second child, everything you know about parenting just flew out the window because that child is going to require you to approach things differently. Balance is what seemed to be missing from the original article and it is definitely what is missing in so much parenting methods today.

  3. Christina Tinglof

    I have the book on order from the library….I’m at least 100th in line! So from a purely writer/publisher point of view–who cares what the book says! She’s hit a nerve. A very lucrative nerve. I’m sure Chua is enjoying (as she should) all this attention because her book is selling!

  4. Lisa

    I struggle with this, too. I mean – who doesn’t!? I’ve not read the book and don’t plan to but I’ve uttered the phrase “because I said so” more than I ever thought I would.

  5. Lisa Sunbury

    Denise,
    I read the book too. I was curious, and I figured if I was going to read every article written about the book, as well as engage in discussion about the book with parents and fellow educators, AND chime in with my own two cents, I owed it to everyone, myself included, and even Amy Chua, to go to the source so to speak, and make up my own mind.

    I finished the book in one sitting, and I agree with you that it comes across not as a parenting manifesto, but as what Chua claims she intended it to be- a personal memoir. Like you, I cringed many a time while reading, but I had a much clearer understanding of Amy’s motives and methods after reading the book.

    What was also clear was how much she loves her girls, and wants what she believes is best for them, no matter how misguided (to me) her approach to expressing that love. To me there is a sort of transformation Chua goes through when she “gives in” to her younger daughter rather than risk losing her altogether. I love your phrasing/description- “She’s the mother she is.”

    I agree with you that children thrive when they have what I call “certain freedoms within clear boundaries and guidelines.” There are ways to guide children, while being respectful, and there are times and places throughout a child’s life for a parent to say, “Because I’m the Mom,(parent) and I said so.” For me, those times usually center around issues of safety or health- when a child might not have the foresight to realize the potential consequences of an action or non- action- like being buckled in a car seat, or taking medicine, or staying up until 10:00 pm on a school night, for instance.

    I try to help parents learn to create a supportive environment that will allow their children to make choices that will lead them to happiness and success on their own terms.

    But as you noted, children do need and look for boundaries and limits to push against, even though they might never tell us so. It has been my observation and experience that too many choices, and not enough structure, leads to lost, angry, unhappy, out of control, kids and teenagers.

    One thing that I appreciate about Chua’s book, and all the hype, is that it has spurred what to me is an important discussion and examination among parents and educators about what it is our children need, what we want for them, and how we want to parent/educate them to achieve our goals. I hope the discussion will continue in a positive way.

  6. Christina

    Hi Denise,
    I haven’t read the book, no–but from what I’ve heard, it does indeed seem like the marketing gimmick was well planned. I admire you for being able to set limits and boundaries with your boys. I’m kind of a softie–partly because that’s who I am, partly because my particular kids are especially stubborn, strong-willed, and even oppositional. I’d really be curious to see Amy Chua parent my kids–esp the older one.
    Having 50/50 custody is also a challenge. My ex is tougher on our kids–for which I am grateful–but then I turn into more like the grandma, who spoils them a bit too much at times.
    Anyway–all very interesting to ponder. Thanks for the interesting thoughts.

  7. Dina Santorelli

    Although it appears I’m kinda odd mom out, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Laughed. Cringed. Laughed. Cringed. At no time while reading, did I ever think that Amy Chua did not love her children. I thought she was a kook, extreme, went overboard — all things that she herself admitted to — but who among us hasn’t done that in one way or another? I think she learned a lot about herself and her criticism of others, particularly “Western” parents. I agree that it really is more of a memoir than the “how-to” guide to Chinese parenting that the media would lead everyone to believe. I have no problem with its length, the margins, or any of that. For me, it was an honest telling of one woman’s parenting story, which, for me, came across as very refreshing. However, I do agree that, at the end, it seems she didn’t quite know how to wrap things up. But other than that I found it to be an entertaining read.

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