Amy Chua’s parenting memoirs, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, sparked a national debate over parenting methods, contrasting the baby-boom generation’s emphasis on self-discovery with immigrant families’ focus on ambitious academic achievement. The difference, she says, is that Americans see their children as fragile while Chinese parents see their parents as strong. By extension, if a child is strong, he or she can be encouraged to achieve more while the fragile child will be allowed to quit. Chua is a geopolitical strategist at Yale University.
What’s the Big Idea?
Chua’s two previous books were definitely not on parenting. So we might expect her messages on raising children to have a wider significance. “The analogy of child-rearing to our national situation is clear enough: just as American parents are too concerned with ‘self-esteem’ without basing self-esteem on an actual accomplishment that would take too much personal parental input, time, and money to acquire, so our entire culture operates on some notion of natural rights that is no longer realistic.”