Tiger mom mauled: Author talks to TIME about controversial column
A column written by Amy Chua on "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" has sparked widespread controversy.
January 20th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Tiger mom mauled: Author talks to TIME about controversial column

Author and professor Amy Chua garnered a lot of attention following the release of her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" and her Wall Street Journal column "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior."

The piece in particular struck a chord with the American public - it has been read over a million times - as Chua seemed to take a jab at American parenting.

As she told Kiran Chetry last week on American Morning, Chua claims traditional Chinese parenting, which stresses discipline, hard work and perseverance, leads to successful and competitive children.

TIME magazine's latest issue out today puts the effectiveness of Chua's strict parenting methods to the test. However, though the merit of such methods is still up for debate as many take issue with Chua's somewhat harsh approach.

Kiran Chetry sits down with Annie Murphy Paul, contributor for TIME Magazine and author of "Origins," to discuss TIME's take on topic of parenting.

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Buster Bloodvessel

    Well, it also seems to lead to bland, conformist kids. What great works of art and literature have been written by Chinese? Who's their Shakespeare? Who's their Picasso? Chua was raised that way herself and doesn't seem very admirable to me.

    January 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaisyinAZ

      spoken by a truly uncultured, undereducated person.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      I agree with Buster. Name one thing that China invented in the last 500 years. Name just one thing.

      You can't. Because the Chinese haven't invented anything since gunpowder, and that was 1500 years ago. Chinese culture produces nations of automatons who are capable of mindless obedience and little else. They're the world's greatest copycats because they steal other countries' inventions and then mass produce them using slave labor.

      A world dominated by Chinese culture would be a world frozen in time.

      January 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Lol they had created poetry paintings roads,
      civilization way before Shakespeare and picasso great great grandparents still lived in caves

      January 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob (different)

      Regarding the Other Bob's post: in the past 500 years, China invented the iron-chain suspension bridge, the iron clad-warship, raised-relief maps, toothbrushes, hybrid rice, smallpox innoculation, maglev wind generators, and discovered the anti-malarial properties of artemesia (to name a few). Ground-breaking scientific research comes out of China every day, just like any other country rich enough to support science.
      I love how Americans feel that they have cornered the market for creativity, ingenuity, and invention. Europe and Asia have produced far more inventions and works of art and literature than the U.S. These works of art or genius seem to correlate with a nation's prosperty, in that we need enough money to support scientific and creative endeavors. The reason America was so successful was due to its initial phase of abundant physical resources and slave labor. Our resources are no longer as abundant, and we don't have slave labor. We are not as rich as we used to be.

      By the way, neither Shakespeare nor Picasso were American, so I don't really understand how you can claim them. If you want a Chinese great writer or poet, look up Lao Tzu, Confucius, Li Bai, Ai Qing, or Hai Zi.

      January 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kristopher

    @Buster: Well lets review, there is Confucius for their great thinkers, there is Erya and the Fangyan (oldest dictionaries found), "The Songs of Chu" (poetry), some beautiful artwork has been created by the Chinese, their poetry is also very beautifully written... this list is very conservative.

    I am a red-blooded American, I love America and all that it stands for, I am also an ROTC cadet gettting ready to serve this nation. BUT, you should really reconsider criticizing a nation with just a little under 20,000 years of history and since they are more and more gaining ground in the world, you might want to give it the benefit of doubt that they may know something we don't. My father immigrated here from the middle east, and I was raised in a strict household, and I would like to think i turned out alright. So let's not jump to conclusions

    January 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      LOL loved your response. Americans(and yes I am one) are so freaking offended when most of the time, what is said about them/us is so true..All one has to do is turn on our TVs and see all the kids in school getting in fights, kicked out of school, killing each other, stealing..yeah that's some good ole American parenting..having said that, bad apples come in all cultures but I would tend to agree(on a large scale) with what this lady wrote.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kristopher

    * we are among the YOUNGEST nations in the world. We are great, but not perfect, we should be more open to ideas on how to make our quality of life better. She may have said it in bad, condescending way, but we could try and see past that to get the message.

    January 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Skeptic

    Amy Chua is a bonsaist. She cuts it here, and nips it there. Her trees will never grow to their full potential.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nanowired

    I think I need to write a book called Mama Grizzlies and Tiger Mothers.

    Anyways, while China has had some important thinkers and philosophies, they have a history of subverting their authors. The First emperor of China and its namesake, Chin(maybe Xin, not sure, but its pronounced Chin somewhat.) took all the scholars, playwrites, and poets in the country and buried them alive.

    January 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. M L Morgan

    I am American and that my parents raised me in a VERY strict and disciplined environment – just as their parents raised them. Most of today's children are spoiled and do lack the discipline necessary to build and sustain a long productive and fruitful life. I love America and her freedoms. I love children too. But they need to be raised and disciplined. Mother Nature shows other species exercising discipline – why is that so bad for humans?

    January 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      heck, today's youth lack the discipline to make a salad. Lazy parents=lazy kids and what nation enables the lazy more than AMERICA!!!

      January 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kim

    HuH those chinese women need to be more worried about fighting for there rights as women instead of writing a book on driving there children crazy. The way they treat each other they cant tell me how to train a dog. It always amaze me the ones who have a oppertunity to reach back and change thing instead do little to really help. Chinese women got more problem then child raising they need to unite on human rights, and more equal rights for women. STOP ABUSING THERE CHILDREN!

    January 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      stop abusing THEIR children NOT THERE ! Lol what a great American education. LMFAO

      January 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patricia

    know what if we focus only on the children with those upbringing then the playing field would be equal, check out China and take the long walk across town.

    January 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pics

    HOw sad for those poor children! No wonder China has the largest suicide rate for children! That is also why many Chinese people are coming over to the USA to raise their children in a happier, more relaxed environment. That kind of pressure causes health problems, emotional problems and stifles creativitiy. Our children also play the violin, piano and take Chinese language lessons. We expect a lot out of them, but I would NEVER call them a "loser". What kind of self-esteem can they have if their own mother thinks they are a loser? Children need discipline, but also need lots of play time and free time too. It encourages creativity and self-confidence. Without those, one can never truly be successful.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. @maxrevz

    Generally speaking are Chinese mothers superior to Western American mothers? I think the underlying comparison between the two is inappropriate!!! What do you think? You can voice your opinion here: http://survcast.com/Why-Chinese-Mothers-Are-Superior-WSJcom

    January 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cd99

    Like most moms, Tiger mom is both right and wrong. Abusive language is not good and she was too extreme in forbidding social skill development. However.... My mom was tough and expected me to work hard even as a child and expected me to go to college. I was expected to work and pay for my clothes and extras in high school and I never got a car until I graduated college and yes it was way over 10 years old – maybe even 20 years old. I like my cousins were expected to get through that college with at most free room and board at home either year round or in the summer. We all did so. I can not say that my parents even offered help in figuring out how to do that. We hunted for work, tried for scholarships and got loans as needed. We understood the value of money though and would never have taken huge loans. My sister worked 24 hours a week and went to a local college living at home. She shared a car and made sure to take the same classes as the other person. My cousins did internships and entrepreneural summer jobs. and took 5 to 6 years to get through. I got a scholarship and worked 45 hours during the summer, 15 during school, and took a small loan. My mom shared a bedroom with 3 other women in a boarding house with no air conditioning to get through. Others took 2 years at community college and 2 at university while working as much on the side as possible.
    You know what, that was not that uncommon then. We need to get back to raising our kids to work and not expect luxuries too soon. Otherwise, yes they are going to left in the dust.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jin

    Amy Chua is an American, right? Why lots of people make this an issue between China and the United States? America is a great culture melting port, with elements come from England, Germany .... what's wrong if some elements of American culture come from China? US has been a succeful country because of it. But if all Americans think like many readers here, then US will be a superpower of the past.

    January 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. teacher-san

    As a third-generation American raised in a blue-color town, my parents expected me to work hard, behave correctly, go to college, go further than they did in life, and be a good citizen. When I acted out, I was strictly disciplined. Was it pleasant? No. Were my parents sometimes overly harsh? Yes. Did I live through it? Yes, and went on to be a very successful, hard-working American. So did my three siblings. As a teacher, I work with some students whose parents make excuses for their children's laziness and poor behavior. They want to be their child's "friend", but fail to understand that this friendship comes later, when the child can appreciate their parents. Some parents "baby" their children and do not allow them to grow up and take responsibility for their own behaviors, which prevents the child from learning what is right and wrong.

    Many American parents could learn a lesson from the Asians (this includes ALL Asian nations, not just China). Asians expect their children to be obedient, hard-working individuals who will go on to be exemplar citizens that their parents can be proud of. These children go on to become talented, individuals who produce much in this country, as well as their own countries. This is how my parents raised my siblings and I. And I appreciate the work it took for them to raise all of us to be who we are today.

    America is a superpower because we have many hardworking ciitizens whose parents raised them with expectations. This is no different from China, Korea, etc. We also have a suicide rate among our own teens; however, it is more from drug and alcohol use, lack of parental support and care, and very low expectations. There is a balance to be found between the two extremes of "Tiger Mom" and "Sloth Mom".

    January 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |