Tiger Parent May Be Ferocious

Tiger Parenting: some people believe that it is a terrible thing while others believe that it can lead to children’s success. But before people begin to judge tiger parenting, they must understand what a tiger parent is.

The term “Tiger Mother” was coined by Yale professor Amy Chua, author of the controversial memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. She calls herself a “Tiger Mother” in part because she was born in the Year of the Tiger. She implies that a Tiger Mother has qualities of a tiger: noble, fearless, and authoritative. These qualities elicit respect from others.

After Chua’s book was published, the term “Tiger Parent” emerged to indicate her style of parenting: strict, critical, and demanding. This book created furor, with people taking sides for and against Amy Chua.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother describes Chua’s experiences while raising her daughters, Sophia and Louisa (Lulu). Sophia was a precocious child who complied with her mother’s demands without refusal. Sophia became a great student and an accomplished pianist. Lulu, on the other hand, rebelled against her mother. There was a constant struggle between the two of them. Ultimately, Chua relented and agreed to let Lulu pursue the things she was interested in. By the end of the book, there was a sort of truce in the family. Sophia was set to go to college, and Lulu was also excelling in school as well as tennis.

According to Chua, her memoir is a story about how she was “humbled by a thirteen-year-old.” Because Tiger Parenting is still a commonly debated topic, I wanted to see what other students thought about it. I interviewed four students for this article and asked them what they thought a Tiger Parent was, and whether it was a good thing to have one.

All four students said that tiger parents are those that push their children to their limits. It can be in athletics, music, academics or all three. They are parents who want their children to be successful. Tiger Parents hold very high standards for their children and often have very strict rules, such as an early curfew or long hours of instrument practice. There is a perception that tiger parents often force their children to work to extreme levels.

However, the interviewees felt that Tiger Parenting is not as horrid as many people think. If a child’s parents are lazy and lax about rules, then that child may become lazy and disobedient. However, if a child’s parents are strict and push that child, then he/she may be more inclined to follow the rules and will develop good work ethic. Tiger Parenting often leads to success in children. If Tiger Parents expect no less than exceptional work from their children, then their children are bound to be exceptional.

Though Tiger Parenting is good in the sense that parents push their children to do their very best, what is the effect on the child? A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that a more authoritarian style of parenting led to aggression and depression in some children. Constant pressure on children and strict parenting does not always elicit positive responses. In fact, they can become counterproductive. Children can become stressed and become self-conscious if they are constantly told that they are not good enough and must do better.

If a child is pushed too much, there may arrive a time when he/she just denies everything that the parents tell him/her to. The child may become rebellious, and behave contrary to the parents’ expectations in order to spite them. This is similar to what occurred with Chua’s daughter Lulu. Chua would scold her daughter and tell her to practice violin. Her daughter would refuse and at one point, Lulu even compared Chua to Lord Voldemort.

According to Kathy Zhang, a sophomore in the Academy, Tiger Parenting can lead to different things depending on the child. It can lead to children who are rebellious or children that are “totally dependent on their parents’ guidance.”

Each student interviewed made it clear that tiger parenting can have positive and negative effects on children. There are certainly benefits to having a Tiger Parent. A child with Tiger Parents will work hard throughout his/her life and strive to achieve even the most difficult goals. However, Tiger Parenting can also destroy the relationship between a parent and a child.

The real question then is, is it better to be a Tiger Parent or not to be a Tiger parent?

The real answer is, there is no correct answer. The numerous articles and studies on Tiger Parenting do not apply to every parent and child. Each parent and child is different, and there is no single style of parenting that fits every family. Some parents need to be stricter than others in order to get their point across to their children, and others do not need to be as strict with their children. Even in Amy Chua’s family, tiger parenting brought out different responses from her daughters. Sophia thrived while Lulu rebelled. According to Sophia, she “was not subjected but allowed her mother’s rules because they suited her.”

Tiger Parenting is not a way for parents to say that their child is a terrible person. Tiger Parents are not heartless parents who care more for grades than they do for their child. They love their child. They love their child so much that they will do whatever they can to help him/her achieve success, but this feeling may be lost in all the pressure and stress. Sometimes, it is this lack of understanding between a child and a parent that can destroy their relationship.

Tiger Parenting is often shown in a negative light in the news. Tiger Parenting in the extreme is detrimental to children, but mild Tiger Parenting may not be such a bad thing. Sometimes, a little bit of strictness is helpful. A parent that is too lax is just as bad as a parent that is too strict.

Though Lulu resented her mother’s type of parenting, she realized that it helped her become successful. At the end of the book, she even thanked her mother for making her practice the violin and learn the Chinese characters. Once her mother stopped demanding long practice, Lulu acknowledged that she will always love violin and that she will always know her Chinese characters.

There is no perfect style of parenting. The only sure thing about any kind of parenting is this: a balance between strict and soft is needed to maintain a happy family.