Women's Health

Amy Chua and the “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” – A Blog on Questions for Pediatric Patients

battle-hymn-of-the-tiger-mother1Many people are familiar with the best seller by Amy Chua that speaks of a Yale Professor mother and her firm parenting that pushes her children to be successful academically by attaining high levels of scholastic and academic achievement. In her memoirs she discusses the importance of self discipline, self control and PERFORMANCE. Vivid images of violins, violas, cello and Mandarin perfected bubble out of her book….

In recent blogs, discussion forums, books and social media there is a buzz of What is Child Performance……


Is it worth a harsh regimen of parenting an conventional parental boundaries
do parents constantly prioritize schoolwork above all else or in some families a certain sport or musical instrument in hopes of a high school or college scholarship
what is excellence vs. high expectations.

The Tiger Mother is stereotyped to be from Asian cultures, cultures that fill Kumon centers and win spelling bees per stereotypes, and of course go on to prestigious universities. What is the meaning of this and why as a child psychiatrist am I writing of this…

Because this is an area I as many in the mental health field are confounded by

why are are patients so frequently ‘stressed’; why is there so much more “warmth” in the elementary years between families and distance in middle/high school years and is this all to be blamed on electronics..

BALANCE. It is something we aspire to, dream of and of course ponder on. Sometimes balance is something imprinted, natural, intuitive. In the mental health field we as practitioners yearn for more balance in our pediatric patient’s lives. The overwhelming thoughts of exams, stress and homework boggle us as mental health experts. As we our testing more, are we winning….are we getting more of that self discipline and self control. We are finding homework in recent studies can be counterproductive to the health of pediatric patients in elementary years and lead to more parental stress and burnout

Balance…self discipline…self control – hmmm. Sounds more like yoga than standardized thinking….yoga, meditation, breathe, flow. intuitive, natural, wholistic

We as mental health practitioners will continue to write, wonder, intellectualize and of course be perplexed as to why…why so much stress when it is counterproductive, overwhelming and withholding breath and spontaneity and joy. We will continue to advocate, educate and engage in discourse with our families.

There are the positives and negatives to every parenting style, but even Amy Chua when questioned “Would you rather have a happy child or a successful child?” Answered “happy” one can understand there is no sterotyped or concrete or rigid vision of the “tiger mother” but rather a style or perspective we can continue to explore, question and as she so eloquently stated “hymn”

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