EL 1000 English CompⅠ: Exposition, Section 015
20 October 2012
The Truth about Tiger Mothers
* attend a sleepover
* watch TV or play computer games
* get any grade less than an A
—Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
In her parenting memoir, Amy Chua lists several such things that she would never allow her daughters to do. It is under these strict guidelines that Chua’s two daughters, both of whom are considered as math geniuses and music prodigies, achieve great success in school. With her book coming out, a lot of people are amazed by her successful, yet strict child-rearing experience. Meanwhile, they come to question this Chinese parenting model: How can parents be so “cruel” to their children? Admittedly, I have a Tiger Mother similar to Chua. When I was a child, she also executed strict rules: never allowing me to get a grade lower than A minus; limiting my extracurricular activities to learning Chinese painting and calligraphy; spying on me during English spelling drills, and so on. At first, I was really upset about her extreme “cruelty.” But now I come to realize why Chinese Tiger Mothers, including mine, are so strict with their children. Unlike most Western parents who are anxious about their children’s self-esteem and therefore constantly try to reassure them, Chinese mothers assume diligence and strength in their children, believing they can finally get over troubles if they work hard enough. As a result, Tiger Mothers will take an extremely harsh stance if their children do not meet their expectations. Once I got a B on my English midterm. When I handed the score report to my mother, she gasped in horror and anxiously asked what was wrong with me. Well, I am using euphemism here because in fact, she angrily called me “trash” in Chinese. Later, that day turned out to be a nightmare filled with hundreds of “cloze practices” (a type of test in which you put suitable words in spaces in a text where...