Book: Battle hymn of the tiger mother


As someone who has perhaps been brought up by a tiger mother (not to the standard of Amy Chua), this book was a must read. All the more so when it hit the bestseller list and had everybody in an uproar.

It’s a very honest portrayal of what parenting is like in the East (I come from the sunny island of Singapore in South East Asia). It’s true that parents (typically mothers) will push their children very hard to do well in school, to take up an instrument (mine was piano) and all sorts of things at which we could excel.

I enjoyed the book immensely, because it presented me with the mother’s perspective. The reasons behind the harshness, the sacrifices made and the love that mother’s have for their children. My mother was not as “fierce” as Amy, but there were certain obligations, certain rules that we as children were never allowed to break. I admit though, that the path I took was similar to that of Amy’s younger daughter – rebellious. There were things I accepted but there were things that I didn’t want to do (like piano which I dropped after failing).

The tiger mother style does produce a good number of high-achieving children, yet at the same time it can also backfire. I guess then it always depends on the children. Personally, I think I would adopt the tiger mother style of parenting on my own children, perhaps not as harsh as Amy’s but definitely as pushy. We all want the best for our kids and the different parenting styles of the West and of the East just show that we have different beliefs, values and a different culture.

Battle hymn of the tiger mother just highlights these differences from an Asian mother bringing up her kids in a Western culture. An interesting book, that gives rise to many thoughts and opinions, support and criticism, a good book to discuss with friends about which style they were brought up in and which style they would adopt.

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3 Responses to “Book: Battle hymn of the tiger mother”
  1. TWWK says:

    I think you bring up an interesting point – what will the new generation of Asian, Asian-Americans, etc. do with their kids? My mother pushed me harder than all of my non-Asian friends, but not nearly as hard as the moms of my Korean friends. I’m grateful to her, though I sometimes now wish she had pushed me a bit harder (academics was never an issue, but outside interests were – for instance, I played lots of instruments well, but dropped them and now have nothing to show for years of practice).

    As a parent, I’m going through this right now. There’s no clear line to draw, and it’s difficult to determine when I’m pushing my kids for their best and when I’m just not showing enough grace and love. Though I want my kids to master a number of things, I also want them to understand that it isn’t about these achievements – nothing is more important than love and the heart.

    Although it’s also nice if you get a scholarship to an Ivy League school. :P

    • everworld says:

      I think we all want the best for your kids, but the definition of “best” is vague. One person’s best could be in terms of academic results, another in terms of sports. I think as parents (or for me eventual parents) we have to see what our child can excel in and has passion in and encourage them in that area and of course, allow them to try a variety of things. There might be unexpected talent in the most unexpected areas. But I’m sure it’s really difficult and part of the many challenges in bringing up children.

      And yes, I totally agree that love and heart are the most important things and hopefully they are expressed in all our actions.

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  1. […] The thing is, every book has it’s fans and critics. I’ve seen many a reader or blogger who doesn’t like Lord of the Rings, many of my friends don’t appreciate the books that I read. It would be much easier for me to pick a book that everyone liked by I hated, I even have authors that everyone seems to like but that I can’t wrap my head around (Yes, Haruhi Murakami I’m looking at you). But to keep on topic, I would go with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I reviewed it here: https://annoyingdragon.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/book-battle-hymn-of-the-tiger-mother/ […]



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