5 Things We Can All Learn from TIger Parents
December 20, 2019
“Are you a monster?”
That was the first question the Today Show asked Amy Chua in 2011, the day her controversial memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother arrived in bookstores and launched her into the limelight of death threats and child-abuse charges.
Chua defined “tiger parents” as parents, stereotypically of Chinese descent, who place their child’s schoolwork before anything else, demand straight A’s, forbid dating until college, and do not allow their children to attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, watch TV or computer games, or choose their own extracurricular activities. This is a parenting style I’m familiar with because I was raised by two tiger parents.
My parents, like Chua’s, immigrated to the United States from China to pursue their graduate studies; Mā Ma received a Masters in Journalism and Bà Ba a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. When I graduated high school number four in my class, my parents were disappointed that I didn’t do better than my friends who were ranked one, two, and three. Producing an old photograph of two-year-old me dressed up as a doctor measuring my baby brother’s temperature, my parents would often remind me that I was destined to be a doctor and if I wanted to achieve that dream, I needed to be the best of the best. Every activity that my parents orchestrated reinforced this goal from temping at doctor offices to candy striping to spending one summer living with a friend of theirs who was a pathologist, so I could shadow his autopsies.