ShabbyBlogs - Must be Maddie

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tigers vs Westerners

There's a bit of buzz going on with Amy Chau's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and her "tiger" type of parenting style. I read this article "Chinese moms vs. Western moms: Is there a mother superior?" and just today I read this this man's response, "'Tiger Mothers' Leave Lifelong Scars". In short, Ms. Chau is arguing that the strict Chinese parenting style is superior and produces smarter, more successful children compared to Western parenting.

Some examples of this strict parenting includes not allowing her kids to go to sleep overs or play dates, forcing them to master the piano and/or violin, arguing that nothing is fun until you're good at it. And to be good at something it takes a lot of hard work.

I am in a unique situation because my father is full Chinese and my mom is Caucasian, a little East meets West. When I was growing up my parents were not nearly as strict as tiger parents. And after reading some of these articles and responses, I'm glad I didn't have such a strict upbringing. What I remember most from my childhood is their saying, "do your best, we can't ask for more than that."

As a girl eager to please her parents I took that saying to heart and often enforced it upon myself. Yes they preferred that I finish my homework before I went to play, but they did not watch over me to make sure my hw was 100% complete before I was released for play time. It was me who did the enforcing. I put pressure on myself to do my best, and a lot of times that resulted in "A" quality work...and yeah I was disappointed when I'd get Chinese Fs, aka Bs. But my parents weren't ever disappointed in Bs.

My parents were really very supportive and didn't ever say mean, abusive things to us. "You're stupid" or the like never came out of my parents' mouths. Most likely it was me and my bro trying to push each other's buttons.

Unlike kids with tiger parents, my brother and I had sleep overs ALL.the.time. Like...every.weekend. There was a time in elementary school where my best friend Laura and I would spend weekends at each other's houses. My brother was exactly the same. As long as our homework and any projects were completed before Monday, my parents were happy.

But there were moments when they pushed us too. My mom pushed me to play the oboe in middle school, even though it was one thing I really didn't want to do. But her pushing me into it was the start of a chain reaction. I kept playing in high school, was placed in the top band, and made good friends through band. And I'm thankful I stuck with it, because I learned a lot of valuable life skills because of music. Practice. Persistence. Discipline. Team work. Dedication. etc. etc. etc.

I can understand the pros and cons of each type of parenting style and in typical Peachy fashion, I like the middle ground, a blend of the two. Rules AND play time. Structure and schedules but also flexibility. I just don't buy into the extremes of anything.

What are your thoughts? Did you grow up with tiger parents, or have friends that had tiger parents?


  1. I saw an interview about this book--and I was so intrigued. I did have "tiger parents", but it was only because they wanted the best for me. I am thankful for their support and their encouragement...because I know it helped me get to where I am today! Have a fantastic weekend :) xoxo {av}

  2. Yeah my parents were like yours. Just do your best, and then of course I wanted to work super hard. I think we turned out ok :)

  3. Josh showed me a lot of the articles and comments on this topic. It made for an excellent way for us to discuss our future parenting style.

    My parents were strict but if you live in America, you can try to retain "Eastern ways" as much as you'd like but in the end you'll end up with a blend anyway. We're Asian Americans not just Asians living in America.

    Balance is key. But each child needs a different balance and parenting skills need to be adapted for each and every child.

  4. the key is finding that perfect balance...that unending support without being overbearing. my parents were fabulous because they encouraged our talents, but never to the point where pursuing them became a chore. happy monday!