A Tempest in a Teapot

Or rather, make that a tiger in a teapot.  For the past six months or so, mothers across the U.S. have been up in arms about Yale professor Amy Chua's memoir of motherhood.  You see, Amy is a Chinese-American who raised in the strictest of households and decided to continue that tradition with her own daughters.  Here's the game-plan she used:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
  • attend a sleepover
  • have a playdate
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • choose their own extracurricular activities
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • not play the piano or violin.

Now don't mistakenly believe that Amy believes this was the *right* way to raise her children.  After all, this is a memoir and that involves a lot of introspection.  But she does it with humor and humility making this one of the most fascinating (and laugh-out-loud funny) memoirs we've read in a long, long time.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother simply oozes controversy.  A lot of controversy.  But we've found that most of that stems from mothers judging other mothers.  Amy has been lauded as an example to parents everywhere, but she's also been accused of child abuse.  When taken as the memoir was intended, you'll get a glimpse into another parenting style....one that it's hard to argue with the results, but you question whether the results are worth it.

And when we get right down to it, who amongst us parental-types hasn't reflected whether or not we were furthering the best interests of our child?  A Reader's Respite refuses to judge, lest someone (say, for example, child protective services) come along and judge us.

Rarely does a book so controversial live up to all the hoopla.  If you're a parent, we'd call it a must-read.

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