www.whyville.net Jan 1, 2012 Weekly Issue

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Tiger Mother

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Possibly you've heard of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua. This memoir is about the struggles of a second-generation Chinese mother trying to keep her style of parenting alive while caring for her two daughters with it. Her type of parenting involves pushing children harder and harder to make them achieve goals, dubbed "Chinese parenting" by the author. In other words, this practice is shown to be as fierce as a tiger. If you've read it, you'll know how harsh it is for Chua's kids, but also how much they sometimes value it.

My life isn't so different from theirs. My mom takes to this style of parenting too, though a bit less tough. She constantly bickers me to play piano -- a resemblance to Amy Chua -- and if I don't complete the hour, she doesn't let me near the computer or the iPad, which is different from the author because she doesn't allow her daughters near the Internet at all. If I actually happen to get on, she takes the timer and sets it to one hour; when the timer rings, my time is up and I have to leave the Internet. If I disobey her, she will shout at me and try to enforce the punishment of no games for a month.

This causes us to get into occasional fights. She threatens to sell the computer and iPad if I quit piano, which I mention a lot in our quarrels. And she disapproves of my writing, saying all of it is useless junk that has no purpose. She says that I haven't honed my skills yet and therefore cannot write. Even if I get straight A's all the time, she'll criticize me on my weak points, like socialization, telling me to smile more at people I barely know or dislike. She wants me to be like her.

I don't try to fight back as much as I used to anymore. I've gotten used to it, having grown with it for my whole twelve years of life. It's been so typical that I feel nearly disgusted whenever a parent gives a child free rein to do whatever they want. This kind of parenting makes me view other typical parents as almost weak. There has also been controversy on whether or not Amy Chua and this type of parenting is abusive, but it actually isn't in my opinion: I have to admit, however, that I think the author has gone a little too far.

Although people may argue, I think people will have to accept this whether they like this practice or not. This type of care can be found in many families. These families not only want their children to produce a healthy, prosperous life, but to also give them advantages later on. That is the true meaning of why this kind of parenting is used; nothing close to abuse. I know other kids whose parents are harsher than mine -- I know a girl whose mom only lets her have fifteen minutes on the computer. That just shows that even if we don't like something, sometimes we have to learn to accept it.


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