Controversy has ensued since the Wall Street Journal published an article from Yale Law Professor, Amy Chua, on her upcoming book, “Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother”.
While some see this article as an eye opener and a way to demystify the Chinese way of raising their children with much success in academics and classical music, it has also raised questions about whether or not this method is the most effective way for Chinese children, especially when raised alongside their American peers.
Chua’s new book exposes how and why Chinese mothers’ approach has garnered their children much success later on in life. She rules with an iron fist, imposes strict rules and motivates her children in a way so foreign to Western parents that one of her friends left their dinner party after hearing that Chua called her daughter “garbage”.
Since the WSJ published this article, a furry of comments has come to both defend and repel Chua’s child raising tactics. Some comments have gone as far as to accuse Chua of child abuse while others agree that her methods, while extreme, are commendable. Alex Myer comments that “at least she is in the trenches with her daughters. The American idea of individualism has served as an excuse to be hands-off parents, believing that somehow the children will just come into their own, especially if we’re really super nice to them. That is neglect and yet we’re still surprised when the kids ain’t all right. Chua may go too far, but her method correctly assumes that an active role in her children’s lives will lead to better outcomes”.
Chua has responded the overwhelming comments and defends her methods by saying that she has a wonderful relationship with her daughters now but admits that ” I certainly made mistakes and have regrets—my book is a kind of coming-of-age book (for the mom!), and the person at the beginning of the book, whose voice is reflected in the Journal excerpt, is not exactly the same person at the end of book. In a nutshell, I get my comeuppance; much of the book is about my decision to retreat (but only partially) from the strict immigrant model”.
However, comments such as one from Christine Lu raises concerns about suicide amongst Asian American women, saying that “I think your follow up piece should be on your research of why Asian-American females have one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S. — Feel free to ask my mom how raising a perfect straight A, Harvard MBA daughter worked out when my sister hit 30 and committed suicide after hiding her depression for 2 years.”
Just two prior to the WSJ article, the Pacific Citizen published an article on the growing suicide rate among Asian American students. According to the article, “Asian American woman ages 15-24 lead the highest suicide rate amongst all ethnic groups”. The article goes on to describe the pressures that Asian students feel via the pressures from home and the societal pressures of the ‘model minority’, which looks at the cultural values that allow Asian students to excel. Having to live up to the stereotype of being good at science, math and engineering can be taxing on Asian American students and can lead to added pressures to succeed.
However, the article is hopeful and says that while Asian American students are in the higher gradient of student suicides, all is not lost. The article suggests successful methods of recovery including medication and alternatives such as keeping a journal and actively participating in social activities.
Students facing depression or contemplating suicide can call:
?National Suicide Prevention Lifeline?1-800-273-8255 (TALK)?1-800-784-2433