The Tiger Mom – Marketer or Meanie?

I may have been late to the game in hearing about the Tiger Mom.  But no problem – I can jump to my own conclusions lighting fast!  Besides being a terrible drag to grow up with or hang out with, Amy Chua (Tiger Mom)  has one factor working for her – she’s a brilliant publicity hound.  Does she care that other PTA Moms around the US hate her?  Probably not!  she’s a little more excited that most of them (those that can read) recently bought her book.  It makes me wonder if she is really the extreme parenter, or a clever marketer.

Tiger Mom found a big mainstream audience for her Chinese-meanie-style -parenting philosophy.    After the WSJ picked up an excerpt of her book, even Meredith Viera had to put up with an interview with The Tiger Mom.   And while it may be highly likely that Chua’s own daughters are plotting her demise, there can be no denying that they probably know enough honors chemistry to do her in with head-of-the-class style.  But before I just join the “We hate Tiger Mom” band wagon, I thought I would walk a mile in her Pradas.   So I tried Tiger Momming my own kids.  It went something like this:

” Quit whining about your physics homework.  If you were smarter, it would be done by now.  There are kids in 16 other countries that, according to TIME Magazine, are smarter than you.  They are done with their physics and are already half way finished with their calculus homework”.    I am met with a blank stare.  So I then turn on child #2.  “And what’s wrong with you?  You don’t even play the piano or the violin!  I’ll tell you what.  Turn on the TV and work on Smoke On The Water on Guitar Hero and don’t stop until you can play it without one mistake!”   Again, I am met with more blank stares.  Aggggghhhh.  I forgot.  Tiger Moms don’t allow TV or Guitar Hero; they approve of nothing that Steven Tyler has ever touched.  This Tiger Mom business is hard work.  I will have to dig deep to improve these cretins.  Finally, I look at Louie and tell him to stop being so lazy and to make his family proud.  He meows loudly at me.  At least my cat can understand the power of the Tiger Mom philosophy!

I try to explain to my progeny that as a tough new Tiger Mom I am just trying to prepare them to compete against better educated Asian kids.  I am afraid they will not be able to compete in a global economy.  At that point they tell me that perhaps I am being a bit racist.    Then they remind me that they would love more instruction, but they need to go to play practice.  Nooooooo!  Not play practice!  For reasons my Western mind can’t fathom, Tiger Moms don’t let their kids be in school plays. 

At this point I give up my foray into Tiger Momming.  My kids are already highly motivated and don’t seem to need my continual prodding.  And I really like watching them singing and dancing in school plays.  I am so weak!  My number one child assures me that to avenge the Tiger Mom’s insult on my Western parenting, he will withdraw his application from Yale where she teaches law.  He also reminds me that Amy Chua seems to live in the same vicinity of Martha Stewart.  So maybe there is just a problem in the local water supply.  See, mystery solved and Western ingenuity still reigns supreme….

Read about the Tiger Mom and jump to your own conclusions: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

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