Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tiger Mother's rules pay off: Daughter accepted to Yale, Harvard

The "Tiger Mother"'s elder daughter was recently accepted to both Yale and Harvard.

I'm admittedly fascinated by the parenting choices made by "Tiger Mother" Amy Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," a 2011 memoir (Illustrated. 237 pp., The Penguin Press.,$25.95). She made a decision to raise her daughters by tough Chinese standards, rather than slack Western ones.

The New York Times Book Review recounts one passage of the memoir:

“I don’t want this,” Chua says, in one particularly memorable moment, when her 4-year-old daughter, Lulu, gives her a birthday card that, the mother judges, couldn’t have taken “more than 20 seconds” to make. “I want a better one — one that you’ve put some thought and effort into. . . . I deserve better than this. So I reject this.”

Click here to read the entire review.

Said Chua (pictured above in a photo from the New York Times), a Yale law professor who is the daughter of Filipino immigrants of Chinese descent:

"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."

If we're using these as a basis of comparison, my rather indulgent parents look like hippies who raised my brother, sister and I in a shack. I was allowed to run all over the neighborhood with friends, attend sleepovers galore, and watch a TON of TV. And I did play the piano, but not well, and only because my sister did (and I copied everything she did.)

And the result of this non-stringent upbringing? Well, you guessed it. No Ivy League schools for me ... so far. In high school I didn't even apply to any and ended up matriculating from a (gasp!) state school. Oh, my misguided youth.

According to an Associated Press report, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," sparked an online backlash among parents who thought Chua's methods were extreme.

Click here to read an excerpt.

While part of me envies Chua's daughters the focus and discipline they learned, most of me feels sorry for the social experiences they missed.

I mean, really, is Harvard worth it?

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