Tiger Moms vs. Soccer Moms: A Quadfather’s Perspective

As with most successful “How To” books the more extreme the position, the more media impact, the greater the buzz and the greater the sales. These books are too often more about money than help. Indeed, that is the first hurdle passed at the publisher’s front door. This is the case as well with “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” by Amy Chua.
I have a wee bit of personal experience with Chinese moms or better said “parenting”. My little insight has to do with a young Chinese college student that has spent the last four years as an extension of my family. This sweet young lady having come to the U.S. to finish her education at a local University after being taught English by my in-laws. She spends Christmas, Easter and Birthdays with us and is a sweet and lovely addition at each event.
She has secured her stay here thanks to employment now at the same University. She was tearful at the prospects of having to return to her homeland and her parents. This had less to do with her love of America, our way of life, solid infrastructure or her attachment to her friends and “family” here and more to do with what waited at home for her.
You see for this young lady, now holding a masters degree, to return home in her late 20’s was to insure an arraigned marriage. Why you ask? Because that is the way it works in China. Indeed, smart, pretty, educated brides are “the” commodity in China. A nation with a one child policy that has aborted millions of little girls in favor of little boys, only to find parents of said boys openly advertising and offering big big bucks for a wife for their “special little guy”. Now do understand, she loves her parents, Skype’s regularly and is looking for a way to get them over here. Still, back home she knows that in less than 6 months she would be somewhere between sold and blissfully married.
The extreme competition and manic drive placed behind Chinese parenting has more to do with the lack of opportunities, the one party system and the great number of competitors pushing to meet the state’s lofty goal. Indeed each level, grade, middle, high, college and graduate schools have an extreme cut to be made. With the children being taken from their families and taken to their schools at around age 12.
With all this said one can place a bit of context on where Ms. Chua comes by her parenting philosophy. One should also not simply dismiss the benefit and need that children have for goals, support and expectations. For me I am more concerned with the dysfunction of the origins of her hyper-driven achievement, her admission that she is not a very happy person, even with all the achievement. Combined with my disdain for the “How-To” parenting expert book profit machine.
I do believe that her addition to the “Market” is somewhat helpful to those whose unbalanced effort to breathe a false sense of high self-image into their kids is comic and sad to watch. Still, I cannot help but see this as bit of a crass, cash-in over correction that might be a bit less helpful than hurtful.
Indeed in all the debate over “Tiger Moms vs. Soccer Moms” I have to wonder out loud. Where are the simple, healthy families in the middle? Those taking one child at a time and doing their best without the stress of out of whacked out gender numbers, state controlled education opportunities and cash for quality daughter pressures. Indeed in all the banter about “Tiger Moms vs. Soccer Moms” I must ask, “Where are the dads! Maybe, just maybe we might be able to offer a bit of balanced assistance?

Bottom line Quadfather Suggestion:
Get more perspective on how Asian parenting is effected by the conditions in the home countries and respect their successes but do not let the hype make you or yours all hyper!


2 Comments to “Tiger Moms vs. Soccer Moms: A Quadfather’s Perspective”

  1. Found your blog on Linkedin. Interesting post and perspective. Glad I stopped by. I feel like I learned something!

    All my best to you and your family,



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