Amy Chua is a law professor at Yale, but at the moment she is best known as an advocate of “Chinese mothering.”
Following the release of her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, she wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal that has elicited the most comments of anything to ever appear in the publication. The thrust of her article is that her uncompromising demands for excellence from her two children including no sleepovers, mandatory piano practice, no school sports, and rote memorization of basic math principles combined with condemnation of any grade other an A (even an A-) is the best way to raise children.
She scoffs at the soft American approach of complimenting the weak tries of children in order to enhance their sense of self-esteem. She argues that kids see through the shallow self-esteem ploy because it is insincere, while by earning praise through hard work and outstanding achievement children build a solid foundation for future success in a tough world.
After reading Amy Chua’s story I remembered an old Jewish joke.
A mother is pushing her 30-year-old son through a store in a wheelchair. An acquaintance comes up to her and says, “Mrs. Goldberg, how sad. You’re son cannot walk.” She replies, “Oh, he can walk fine, but thank God he doesn’t have to.”
Two sides of the spectrum. Where do you stand?
Chua has taken a lot of heat for her ode to Chinese parenting. She has backtracked a little, saying the piece was partly satirical in its black and whiteness, but she stands by her approach. Her two daughters have brilliant academic and musical achievements and she claims to have a great relationship with them.
Question: Do you agree with her style of parenting? Should that style of treatment be used with employees in the workplace?