The Harbinger Online

An Eastern View of Western Parenting

It turns out that the Internet joke and stereotype “High Expectations Asian Father”— the one who jokingly frowns upon violin pieces in B minor instead of A major— might have some basis in truth. This stereotype has been echoed in everything from movies to the rise of Asians as a “model minority”— one that succeeds more than the average citizen because of parents’ high expectations.

Amy Chua’s controversial new book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” tells a slightly different story: it’s the moms, not just the dads, who have high expectations for their children. In her memoir depicting the dramatically different style of Eastern parenting, Chua has tapped into one of the fears of American parents, the fear that they are not adequately preparing their child for the world after college. She asks for neither criticism nor approval from the American public, yet has received both. “Tiger Mom” has become a national phenomenon, yielding a Time Magazine cover and an appearance on the Today show.

Whether it was from shock value or the underlying competitiveness in today’s world, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” has generated buzz across the country. It seems to be one of those books that rises to the top of the American consciousness because of its controversial nature.

For most families in communities like Prairie Village, the image of Chua refusing to accept a birthday card made by her younger daughter, saying “I deserve better,” is a powerful contrast with the American mentality of “be proud of your child, no matter what.” Chua’s book includes many of these memories akin to a car crash— in some way horrifying (at least to American society), yet impossible to look away from.

“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” has raised attention to the concern of the growing dichotomy between Eastern and Western worlds, and the decline of American dominance. While not a must-read for high school students, Chua’s memoir offers insight to the stereotyped world of Asian parenting.


Breaking Down the Types of Parents at East

Tiger Mother

Tiger moms (and dads, for that matter) are often, but not always, Asian. While plenty of Western parents are domineering, tiger mothers go far beyond the average parent that lives vicariously through their child’s successes.

Being a tiger parent has come to mean pushing your children to the limit of their capabilities. It means expecting the best from your child. It means being able to call your daughter garbage and know that she’s strong enough to take it with her self-esteem intact. It means that the hard part isn’t practicing any instrument every day, it’s practicing for two hours.

Fun, for them, means being the best.


Helicopter parents get a bad rap.

Sure, there are the type that call teachers, coaches and college admissions administrators to ensure that their kid gets what they need. They can be smothering, at times.

But for every negative helicopter parent, there’s a parent that genuinely tries to be the best. These are the parents that institute a parenting plan of action according to what benefits their child— whether it is to let them figure out what they like or emphasize some other value. Helicopter parents ultimately care for their children through a system; it’s up to them how much freedom that system allows.

Chill as Heck

So-called “chill parents” are either viewed as enablers of inappropriate activities or advocates of freedom and self-discovery, depending on the situation. Much of the decision to adopt this relaxed attitude depends on the personality of the child in question. Since hands-off parents rely more on their child’s ability to make decisions for themselves, the nature of the kid matters more so than with other parenting types.

In some cases, chill parenting styles can backfire, leaving the parent with a kid who neither realizes nor cares about the consequences of their actions. In others, it creates independent, strong individuals.

In the Middle

Though parents with somewhat unorthodox methods tend to get more attention in the media, the vast majority of parents lay somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

If your parents set rules but give you a rationale for them, if they seem to follow their gut parenting, or if they seem more traditional than other parents, then you probably have a middle-of-the-road parent on your hands.

These parents can take their parenting tips from Parenting magazine or from the Bible. It just depends on the attitude with which they approach problems and rules– typically with a mutual sense of respect.

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Toni Aguiar

Toni Aguiar is a senior and is the Co-Editor in Chief of the print Harbinger. Toni enjoys wasting her spare time on the inter-webs, especially on Reddit. Read Full »

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