An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards - and the costs - of raising her children the Chinese way.
All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way - the Chinese way - and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin. Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene: "According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing: 1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse. 2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality. 3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"
But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices - the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons - the depth of her love for her children becomes clear.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting - and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
©2010 Amy Chua (P)2011 Penguin Audio
Thinker Meets Explorer
As an Asian American, I read my share of Tiger Mother articles debating the merits of Amy Chua’s tough love, but for-the-best-of-her-children approach to parenting. And while many of these articles depicted Chua as a relentless dragon lady-type mom, none of them prepared me for some of the touching stories she actually had to tell in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Now don’t get me wrong – Chua did force her daughters to practice the violin, for hours, on family vacations – but she also confesses to feelings of loss and doubt when she’s just not sure if she’s doing the right thing, the best thing for her daughters.
In the end, whether you agree with her or not, you’re sure to take away some helpful insights about seeing and bringing out the best in your son or daughter. And if Chua’s assured first-time narration is any indicator, the hard work may just pay off after all.
Definitely worth a listen for anyone who is a parent (or considering such). Ms. Chua raises important questions about how hard to push as a parent and the natural conflict between wanting to create a "perfect" child and wanting to have an easy, loving relationship with your child. The book also helps to humanize Ms. Chua a bit -- the Wall Street Journal excerpt focused on all the extremes in the book.
--Last chapter could have used more reflection by Ms. Chua. Would she have done anything differently if she could and why? What else did she learn from her parenting experience?
--Book needed a good editor to delete numerous trite phrases like "sharp as a tack." A Yale law prof can be more thoughtful about word choice (or getting an editor).
--Ms.Chua isn't a professional narrator.
After listening to this audiobook, I was really surprised how much I loved Amy Chua's family story. I had heard some of the reviews on my local news program and my interest was piqued.
Amy was not especially saying her way was better or what she did was right. She was saying that she did it her way and there were both positive and negative effects to her methods. She admitted her mistakes and apparently has learned from them. It's realistic. It's loving. I wish I had someone like Amy to push me forward like her kids. Who knows? I might be in a better place today.
Amy reads her book well and is captivating.
Whether you agree or disagree with her views/actions on how to educate children, I find the book very entertaining. It has not only stirred up a lot of discussions, it has certainly made me reflect on what my belief is and what my husband thinks about this topic since we don't have kids yet. I truly respect Amy Chua as a mother even though I don't think I can do what she's done to/for her kids. I don't think I have what it takes to be a tiger mom, but on the other hand, it may really take that much of discipline to train and refine one's skill in music or a lot of other fields. At the end of the day, not all of us is music prodigy.
In short, if you don't start the book judgmental, it's a well-written, well-narrated book that shows a very interesting/different perspective on culture and child's education.
Best: Gaining understanding of a different parenting style. Very interesting.Least: Repetitive stories of battles with daughters. Once or twice would have been enough.
Not a scene, but the idea that pushing kids expresses a high regard for their potential.
I cannot imagine who would enjoy this read. The author/narrator was so full of her own accomplishments, no matter how unappreciated they were, that it was like reading a dictionary!
I was reminded of the journals of the Lewis & Clarke expeditions which painstakingly listed all the supplies loaded, etc.
Ms. Chua starts each day at 3am, runs with the dogs, teaches, writes, harangues her daughters, alienates her neighbors, etc. Ad nauseum!
There were a few funny stories, and a few touching stories.
I hated this book when I started it - Chua is presumptuous, self absorbed, and brutal with her children. She looks down on Western culture, brags unflinchingly about herself, and is opinionated beyond belief.
But then there are the results of her actions.
She herself is an accomplished academic. Her daughters, who are key to the story, are superior musicians. She's a published author, for cryin' out loud. But at what price? Driving her children to practice repetitively with blatant, negative criticism probably doesn't do much for their egos. But the results are uncontested, and the validity of Chua's key Methodology is clear:
1. Make your children practice to be excellent.
2. By being excellent they will gain recognition.
This is wrapped up in the assumption that a child does NOT know what is best for his/her own development...a parent must choose that path for the child.
The first step is always the hardest. As the father of 3 children, I completely agree that most parents (not just Western ones) lose the battle here. However, I'm not sure Chua's method of derisive criticism and aggressive bullying is the best way to win the battle...and she herself admits that it didn't work with her second daughter.
It IS important to make children realize that although they may be hard-headed, WE as parents are more hard-headed than they are...and we have a LOT more experience in what works. The way to do that...is up to you.
Nope. This woman deserves to be spanked for her arrogance. It is one extended boast.
No - loved Bringing Up Bebe
No - I can't believe the supercilious tone. Made me want to slap her.
It's too much about her daughters' musical careers, and not enough about mothering. And it completely lacks self-awareness. She comes off as an ass.
This woman scares me. And she bores me too.
Ms. Chua suffers from Narcissistc personality disorder.in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. She uses her cultural background as an excuse to use a parenting style that is emotionally abusive. Even when her husband and parents caution her on the direction she is headed with her daughters, her self-centered personality allows her to convince herself she is always right and only considering her daughters best interest.
The story was fascinating in its brutal honesty. This is also testimony that Chua does not believe there was anything wrong with her cruelty and has no regrets. In the last chapter she brings in her daughters statements about the book and comments on her parenting methods. At this point her daughters are still in high school and appear to be defending their mother. It would be interesting to know how they end up parenting their own children and what their thoughts and comments will be on their mother at that time.
Jed, Chua's husband is mentioned frequently and praised highly in the book. She also discusses his outstanding achievements. At the same time she is determined to prove that her harsh "Chinese" mothering is the correct and only way to raise outstanding, high achieving children; she continues to discuss how opposite her husband was raised by her in-laws.
Overall, the book is worthwhile if only to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of this family. Every educator should read it to assist in identifying this type of abuse and the emotional problems that can evolve from this kind of home environment. Parents should read it and ask themselves if they truly believe ends justify the means when it comes to your child. Do you want your child to be a happy, well adjusted, caring person, capable of making good decisions for themselves, or is it more important to have "trophy" children that reflect your own personal desire for recognition and insecurities?
I was swept up by the story telling and the triumph of learning and discovery.
I've never listened to (or read) Amy Chua.
That mothers know best...but they also need to know each of their children
I could not wait to jump in my car and continue the story of Amy Chua's family. I saw myself in her and the struggles to raise her children the Chinese way in America. When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be a full admonition of Western Child rearing, but while I'm not as extreme as Amy, I find myself getting "criticism" for pushing my kids too hard and "stressing them out". I don't feed into a mindset of mediocrity either, so I laughed out loud in several places with her story telling, but I also saw her vulnerabilities AND her point of view which I found interesting. I also have decided to take a few points from her Chinese mother ways and use them with my children. Thank you to Amy for sharing!!!
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