Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a book written by Amy Chua. Amy Chua is a Chinese American. In this book she writes about her strong and willful parenting style as a Chinese mother and compares it with the weak American style of parenting. Americans hold their children’s whims and wishes above their own, whereas Chinese children are enforced to act as per their parents’ wishes and choices.
Amy Chua writes about the generation decline in Chinese immigrants who come to the United States (I think the generation decline philosophy applies to all Asian immigrants).
The immigrant generation is the hardest working. They come to the States almost penniless and work hard to become successful. They also live thriftily, save money and spend it on their children’s’ education and real-estate. They are also extremely strict with their children lest they forget their roots and behave in an American way.
The next generation (Amy’s), the first to be born in America, will be typically high achieving. They will play the piano or violin, will attend an Ivy League or Top Ten Universities, earn more income and be less frugal than their parents. They will often marry a white person and relax their parenting style. Amy married an American and is a Professor at Yale University of Law.
The third generation reaps the best. They are born with golden spoons in their mouth. They will have wealthy friends who get rewarded for B-pluses, wear the designer clothes and are likely to disobey their parents and ignore career advice. The third generation is headed straight for decline.
Amy’s children, Sophia and Lulu belonged to the third generation and she wanted to prevent the generation decline. The eldest daughter, Sophia, is the obedient and sincere Chinese-American. The younger daughter, Lulu is rebellious and there are a lot of skirmishes in the book between Amy and Lulu.
Amy forced Sophia to play the Piano. At one point of time Amy finds small teeth marks on the piano on which Sophia played.
Lulu played both violin and piano when young. As she grew up she played the violin more. Sometimes, Amy would make Lulu skip her lunch/recess breaks at school so she could practice violin. The children were always busy, with their piano or violin sessions. They were not allowed to go to sleep over, have a play date, be in a school play and get grades less than A.
I thought her parenting style was extreme when she rejected the birthday card her daughters’ made, saying that they have not worked on it enough and makes them do her a better birthday card. Amy’s mother-in-law expires due to cancer. The children have to write a short speech for their grandmother, which will be read at the funeral. Amy is behind the children correcting/editing their speech. Amy did not care about the kids’ grief at losing their grandmother; she wanted a perfect speech which everybody will appreciate.
I found it a bit humorous and ridiculous when Amy tries to practice her Chinese parenting style on her pet dogs. After her futile efforts she settles that her pets will not have jobs like bomb sniffer dogs and lets them be as they want.
It is definitely not a book from which you can take parenting advice but it gives you an idea of one extreme in parenting style.
Background modified to include the picture of the book.