Amy Chua angered many—to the point of death threats—with her espousal of a strict "Chinese" parenting style and denouncement of the "weak, cuddling" American variety. But as far as David Brooks is concerned, it’s actually Chua who is "coddling her children." By refusing to allow her daughters to participate in group activities, like attend a sleepover or act in a school play, "she’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t," he writes in the New York Times.
Sure, it takes an impressive amount of focus to practice a piece of music for four hours—but a teenage sleepover party involves "negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group," and other social tests "that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale." In order to be successful, it’s essential to understand how to work in groups. And while Brooks isn't allergic to the way Chua parents her daughters, "I just wish she wasn’t so soft and indulgent. I wish she recognized that in some important ways the school cafeteria is more intellectually demanding than the library."
(Read more Amy Chua stories.)