April 20, 2024

According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the year of the tiger are unpredictable, confident and are born to be leaders. Tiger mothers like Amy Chua are no exception.

“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, a memoir published by The Penguin Press in Jan., contains an unforgettable story. This is not a parenting or how-to book. It is a memoir detailing the clash between Chinese and Western parenting and how a mother’s desire for her daughters to not grow up feeling entitled clashed with her daughter’s rebellion that eventually transformed her as a parent.

The book explores Chua’s family history in depth and provides a picture into how she grew up under Chinese immigrant parents and how each generation in her family changed. This sets the stage for how China and husband Jed Rubenfeld raise their daughters Sophia and Louisa.

Chua’s mission and journey towards raising her daughters to be self-sufficient and successful takes up the majority of the book. Her growth as a parent is woven throughout the narrative and her vulnerable side is to be admired.

Chua’s parenting style would make most Western parents gasp but her approach makes sense. Being raised in a Western culture and a Chinese culture are completely different but have some similarities. Both want to teach their children to be successful and show them respect but their methods of doing so are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Chua’s book caused significant controversy after an excerpt appeared in the Wall Street Journal under the title “Why Chinese parents are superior.” She later said that she did not know the title of the article prior to its release. Since its release, she has made appearances on various news outlets and at meet-and-greets, answering questions that clarify her book’s topics.

“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment,” Chua writes in her book. “By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”

Readers looking for a book they cannot put down should look no further ” “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is a gem and will take no effort to read. The chapters are short enough so that boredom does not set in. Anyone who picks it up will not be able to put it down until it is read completely.

Students at California Baptist University should think of this as the first destination in their journey to discovering their own brand of parenting. The book gives two vastly diverse styles of parenting that have both strengths and faults. It is up to the curious student to decide on which approach, or any combination of both, is better suited for him or her. In retrospect, the time between graduation and the wedding ceremony may not be as far away as one might think.

Additionally, students can reflect on their own childhoods and see how their parents raised them. Were there strong Western ideals, influences of Chinese rearing or a mixture of both? It is interesting to compare analyze which style was used among one’s own family and then close friends.

Therefore, how could this not be a better time to deeply discuss the issues of childrearing and possibly save years of uncertainty and frustration from your overall health?

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