Amy Chua—and her method of parenting—is creating quite a stir. The Wall Street Journal published an except from the Yale law professor's new memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, over the weekend, and the 3,494 comments (and counting) include reactions like: "I am in disbelief after reading this." The article was headlined "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," and Chua, who has two daughters, explains just that, writing that the Chinese raise such "stereotypically successful kids" by demanding perfection: She describes a household of straight As, hours of piano practice, and absolutely no sleepovers.
She once called her daughter garbage. She once told her 7-year-old "to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic." Writes Chua, "The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners." So are said Westerners ready for her method? In the New York Times, Judith Warner writes that Chua's "publisher is clearly banking on her message finding wide resonance among American moms worn out from trying to do everything right for kids who spend hours a day on Facebook." And in light of all the reports of Chinese ascendancy and American decline, it's doubly timely. "Despite the obvious limits of Chua’s appeal," she taps into something most parents share: "That parental actions, each and every moment of each and every better-lived day, have the ultimate ability to shape a child’s life outcome."