Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

(image from goodreads)

This book has been getting a lot of hype, and in order to give my opinion on Amy Chua's parenting styles, I felt like I needed to read her book first. Now that I'm done, I find that I have even less to say than before I read it!

While I do agree that some aspects of her parenting mirror that of the way I was brought up, I had to wonder from time to time whether she was exaggerating. I completely agree with her when it comes to discipline and respect, but a lot of her parenting screams out that her children are being raised in wealth. As an adult, I now wish I had taken up music lessons, but as a child, it was not an option as music lessons were expensive. I did have the opportunity to learn dancing, something which I have continued till today. While my mother didn't enforce rigorous practices, I discovered that I really enjoyed dancing at about age 11, and what I think made me enjoy it most, was the fact that I discovered this joy myself. I don't know much about music, or whether the concept behind it works the same way as in dance but this is how I see it - yes, technique is crucial, but what thousands of hours of practice never gives you is heart.

I also wondered why her husband didn't seem to play a more active role in his children's upbringing. Maybe she didn't have space in the book to put in his input, but I would love to know what he had to say, and if he intervened at any point.

Out of everything, this is the part that bothered me the most. The author mentions that her mother in law always begged for one day just to spend with her grandchildren, but she mentions that she never had a day to spare. Really? Not one? Those girls could have learned valuable life lessons during that one day, but I guess we'll never know will we?

At the end of the day, her style of parenting seems to have worked for her, and her children. If I ever become a parent, I am more than happy to go along with some aspects of her parenting, in particular the ones that are similar to that of my mother's. But I do hope someone conks me on the head with a frying pan if I start booking pianos in hotel rooms and force feeding caviar to my children.

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