Word of the Day: Tiger Mom

Usually, in the woman’s locker room, there is not much conversation. It is a bunch of women mentally comparing their lumps and jiggles with the other naked women’s lumps and jiggles. Occasionally, there is a request to borrow a squirt of conditioner or a comment on the temperature of the water in the pool.

But yesterday, was different. Women were actually talking to eachother.  With wet hair, standing naked, their voices echoed off the tiled walls and carried into the showers. They were talking about Amy Chou’s Book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.” More specifically, they were talking about whether the no-nonsense, no sleep-overs, practice, practice, practice tactics touted by the author were inspired parenting or borderline child abuse.

I don’t know.

I do know, now that my kids are mostly beyond the age of parental influence, that I wish that I had cracked the Tiger Mom whip a little more effectively. Sure, I nagged them to do their homework and they spread their notebooks out on the dining room table and did it. At least they said they did it. But their report cards revealed that they were missing assignments, not always prepared for class and certainly not working up to their potential. This doesn’t happen to children of a Tiger Mom. My kids all took piano lessons and violin, too. But they never practiced. Even when I yelled, my tantrums would result in an angry rendition of Bach’s Minuet in G or a slammed bedroom door and no practice at all. So I let them quit music lessons. Some of us are Tigers, some of us are just moms trying to get our kids to remember to flush the toilet and turn out lights.

Indeed, Amy Chua’s daughters straight A’s and prodigious piano playing might be the result of superior parenting, but I suspect that their achievements are due largely to genetics.  Amy Chua is a Yale law professor with degrees from Harvard University. She’s  no dummy. In fact, she’s a marketing genius.



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