Tiger Mother Comes To Town

Amy Chua is coming to Westport.

Amy Chua

Unless you’ve been living in a country like China with a censored internet — or too busy ferrying your kid to piano lessons, violin lessons and math tutoring sessions — you know who she is.

Chua is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. She took time from her day job (professor at Yale Law School) to describe her secret parenting skills.

Chua’s daughters were never allowed to:

  • attend a sleepover or have a playdate
  • be in a school play (or complain about not being in one)
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not play the piano or violin.

Chua also rejected birthday cards of insufficient quality, and demanded new ones.

On Tuesday, May 3 (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) she’ll be at the Westport Country Playhouse.  The event is a fundraiser and book signing for the Read to Grow literacy program.

Chua will be interviewed by Roxanne Coady, Read to Grow’s founder and a contributor to Faith Middleton’s NPR Book Show.

The press release didn’t say if Chua will take questions.  If she does, Westporters might ask if her child-raising methods aren’t just a wee bit out of line.

Or tell her they don’t go far enough.

(Tickets are $75, which includes a copy of the book, and $125, which includes priority seating, 2 copies of the book, and a pre-event reception with Chua.  To register, call 203-227-4177 or click here.)

24 responses to “Tiger Mother Comes To Town

  1. Big deal. My older sister raised two boys, who were salutatorian and valedictorian of their respective high school classes. They both aced their SATs. They went to Dartmouth and Harvard. One is an investment banker running a major M&A practice for Morgan Stanley in Asia, the other is a doctor in private practice in the Boston area.

    They did not have Chua’s regimented childhood. They had fun. They succeeded. Chua and her child-rearing practices are a fad, and a bad one at that.

  2. The Dude Abides

    Ahhhh . . . I saw an interview with this young Tigress. The presumption is that success is all she cares about. Not so. She preaches fundamental values of respect and focus. Not my cup of tea (considering my two kids: Dumb and Dumber) but worth listening and hardly a fad. And if you think she is alone, think again. A study predicated that, without affirmative action, 80% of all law students would be Asian in California.

    • “A study predicated that, without affirmative action, 80% of all law students would be Asian in California.”

      That’s roight.

      And the actual memoir is completely tongue-in-cheek. She’s a law professor at Yale; she knows that with which she’s dealing.

  3. not everyone is born with naturally high aptitudes. this Tiger Mom’s model sounds like a winner when that’s the situation; there is nothing wrong with having to develop intellectual muscles if born without them.

  4. Hush McCormick

    I think the bottom line, however you interpret her intentions or her rules, is the Asians are kicking our asses in just about everything including women’s golf.

    • However, if you read the book, you realize quickly that she is demanding that her children become proficient playing the music of Western composers, while she has chosen to reside in the US. On a larger scale what have Tiger mom’s helped produce? 4000 years of totalitarianism ? A society that values women so little that infant Chinese girls are murdered routinely? China like Japan will not generate real innovation and will only mimic European culture and economic accomplishments. BTW those are Korean and Japanese golfers for the most part,

      • On the contrary, one must familiarize oneself with western canon in order to play with it, to understand today’s society. That is what 2000 years of western totalitarianism has done.

        • The Chinese totalitarian regimes pre-date those of the west by at 2000 years, so which way does the cause and effect run? Moreover, the Chinese have opted to emigrate here, and have opted to adopt western mores and culture. China itself has maintained its totalitarian regime, while the west has installed democracies. It is no wonder that many of those who can leave China have.

  5. Hush McCormick

    I think you are missing the point, Anonymous. The Asians have a work ethic that is far superior to ours. They may mimic our culture but far surpass out kids in the classroom and often times, on the field as well.

    • And what has all that work produced? At a micro level; students that score much higher on standradized tests than do American students, and at a macro level; murderous totalitarian regimes. Is it not curious that for over 150 years Chinese have opted to migrate to the US?

  6. I would be equally likely to go to a Charlie Sheen event, which is to say, you won’t see me there. They are, ironically quite similar. They both practice the social politics of provocation. I don’t need to engage a stranger if I want to be provoked, I’ve got kids of my own. Years ago my daughter played in a piano masterclass with her daughter. The child was sweet, very pretty and a good, if not spectacular pianist. The mother was quite filled with herself. Apparently she has found a venue in the media for her sizable ego. Good for her.

  7. Damn……….She’s Hot!

  8. You can’t argue that her strategy, it works for making the most out of people; wouldn’t it be better to improve the national average en masse, and wouldn’t those people who didn’t achieve on ‘first try’ feel better if they weren’t dismissed early on for not being able to score but instead were worked with so that they do score? And, even there, her strategy isn’t common amongst the upper class, say, in Hong Kong, i.e., it’s been the way that ‘main landers’ achieve/emigrate.

    • “works” In what sense does it “work?” Is China a better place as a result of 500 million Tiger mothers inplementing her “strategy?” If her approach “works”, how does it produce the next Bach, or Brahms? I don’t think it “works” . We heard the same claims about the Japanese work ethic and centrally planned economy for years, until the bubble burst and now I don’t know anyone who is recommending replicating their approach to almost anything. How much difference in outcomes does her approach make for those in the top 10%? Her approach does breed conformity and in a totalitarian society that is desired trait.

  9. if you think that there are born: a relatively few child prodigies; a larger amount of naturally intelligent born but not what we would call ‘prodigy’, and the greatest amount of us are born average, her/the immigrant strategy does improve the definition of ‘the average’. that’s a good thing. it’s very appreciative of the proletariat; everyone who works hard enough can become more excellent. it’s actually, as well as ‘working’, a very humble approach.

    • Depends on what you mean by “the average.” Depends on what you mean by “improve”. In reality the vast majority of us are above average or below average, very few are average. Not every “immigrant strategy” improves (raises?) the average (by what metric?); just look at the census data. “proletariat” How quaint. LOL

  10. The Dude Abides

    I think you all are overbroadening the scope of Chua’s message. I believe it to be one of discipline that is severely lacking in today’s generation. But then again, if you want an Olympic skier do you home school your Bodie Miller in the mountains of New Hampshire? Or want a Harvard student, so you home school your sons like the family who did so with five boys entry? Chua is a good marketeer as noted above and is attempting to define the parents’ bible which we all know is impossible. Each kid is different.

    • Discipline, why? Not necessary; plenty of room at the trough. Excellence is a threat to the political class; mediocrity (egalitarianism) is preferred.

      • The Dude Abides

        Despite your continued rhetoric, I don’t believe everyone is interested in a handout. I lived next door to a Vietnamese in Houston (rather ironic if you consider my military background) but he would sponsor a native family each year to come and stay in his back house. They found jobs and many times prospered. I find that compassion lacking in many of our minorities here including the Whites who will soon be one as well. I think the Asians have a different perception of excellence as does Chua. In general, a very content race. No sugar in their diet, perhaps???

        • Do you think the Tianamen Square saga was a story of contentment? Sweet and sour shrimp? I think you have changed sides from time-to-time based on your observations vis-a-vis the quest for mediocrity; everybody gets a trophy.

          • Tianamen Square is reminder that there is not plenty of room at the trough. It’s here in the USA where there is capitalism and movement between the social strata that there is incentive
            in reason to express that ‘immigrant work ethic’ that is what i think she is advocating.

          • Tianamen Square is a reminder that some people view freedom as more important that a space at the public trough.

  11. The Dude Abides

    Well, no one said I was consistent. But have you ever tried to get a good dessert at a Chinese restaurant? General Tso is tasty. There is a difference between the pretentiousness of striving for excellence and not succeeding versus a focused ambition to achieve.