Tiger Mom and Raising Fearless Women

Amy Chua, author of the recently released “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is coming under attack for being tough and having high expectations of her children. Actually, most parents have high expectations. What’s getting Chua in trouble is that she is putting tiger teeth into her expectations, creating rules around them, and then enforcing them.

Having raised three women who are fearless and successful, happy and contributing members of society, I heartily support Chua’s approach, and know that was one of the contributors to my success as a parent as well. I set rules, I had charts, there were times of day off limits to entertainment and leisure when there was work to be done.

I remember the high school counselors who contacted us to complain about our “strict” household and unfairness to our children. I remember because clearly one of our kids had used our “methods” as rationale for why an assignment wasn’t done or why they couldn’t provide transportation for other teens to an event. I was shocked at the time. My daughters were high achievers in both academics and the arts. What on earth could you find fault with? Then I realized it was the other parents who were unwilling to put teeth into their expectations for their children who were the critical ones. Our strictness was a direct contradiction to their permissiveness, and the results were so telling that it was clear who was on the right track. The complaints were coming from other parents about our strict households, and the counselors felt compelled to reach out to make sure we weren’t abusing our kids with the chore chart. Amazing, isn’t it?

As parents, we do need to seek a balance and let our kids be kids. But in this competitive world of ours, if we don’t “insist” and make sure our kids live up to their potential, who will? Trust me, it won’t happen on it’s own! Amy Chua, you get my vote, and my support. Well done!

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