Wellesley bloggers have begun sharing their views on the much buzzed about new book, Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which if you don’t know is about a strict form of parenting designed to ensure kids overachieve if they don’t burn out first. No signs of this sort of parenting around here of course.
Christine Duvivier, a Wellesley resident who coaches about education and has focused particularly on strengths of the bottom 80% of adolescent students, has written a blog post titled “My Mother is not a Tiger and I am too”. She says her American French-Irish mother was “most definitely not a Chinese Tiger Mother,” in that she actually let her kids quit many of the activities they tried. Duvivier writes that she went back and forth between hounding her kids and “allowing them to self-direct,” finally settling on a self-motivation approach. She concludes that “the type of motivation Chua practiced with her girls is one of the lowest forms of motivation: external.”
Manners for Modern Mothers (written by a Chestnut Hill mom and a Wellesley mom) asks whether 2011 will be the Year of the Tiger Mother in a blog post earlier this month. The post in part reads: “Clearly, there must be some middle ground: one can encourage children to achieve their potential while also allowing the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Yet, it would be difficult for any parent reading Ms Chua’s excerpt not to contemplate her own parenting, however briefly. ” But the writer does conclude that she hopes modern mothers will do without the “denigration and deprivation” Chua describes in her book.
Lest dads get left out of the discussion, John Xia (who describes Wellesley as his hometown) writes satirically about why “Dragon Dads Are Uber Superior” on his Easily Amused blog. “After reading the excerpt [in the Wall Street Journal], I am in disbelief. Chua included in her list of things she never allowed her two daughters to do, “not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama.” She should be ashamed of herself. My children will be the No. 1 student in everything, including gym and drama. Not pushing my kids to be all they can be in every human endeavor means I don’t love them enough to believe in them.”