Ouching Tiger, Hittin' Dragon: A Special Needs Mother's Take on the Tiger Mom
By now, you've probably heard of Amy Chua, the "Tiger Mom". She recently released a book about Eastern-style parenting and was featured in a highly-debated article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior".
Some of her more inflammatory admissions include how she called one of her daughters "garbage", threw a homemade card back in her face because she deemed it a lousy effort, and made her practice piano for hours on end without meals or bathroom breaks.
Chua mocks Western parenting as weak-willed and indulgent. According to her, we are far too focused on our children's self-esteem and not enough on giving them the skills to prepare them for a successful future. American parents are up in arms: defensive of their parenting style and horrified by Chua's borderline-abusive practices. I've even heard some special needs parents chime in with opinions on both sides of the issue.
Me, I'm feeling a little ambivalent about Tiger Mom...
- She's taught me a lesson that is far more valuable than any parenting advice. She's taught me that when my book comes out I should get out in front of it with a bunch of bat-shit crazy stuff that will get people worked up into a lather and keep mum on the fact that in the end I pretty much renounce all of it. See, by the time the death threats come rolling in, you are far too rich to care. My book will totally up the ante, because all of the degrading and torturous parenting techniques will be inflicted on a disabled kid...holla! Twice as horrifying = twice as rich, y'all!
- She didn't allow her daughters to attend sleepovers, have playdates, play sports, or be in school plays. Yes! I am so with her on this! Audrey will never do those things because she does not have the skills to do so they are completely non-value added activities in the eyes of us Tiger Moms.
- Anyone who gets typical parents screaming in each other's faces and tearing each other limb from limb is OK in my book. If even one typical mommy gets clocked in the head with a sippy cup at one of those odious MOPS playgroups, I will be forever in her debt.
- She has a younger sister with Down syndrome, so she understands that her approach would have to be modified for special needs kids. Chua says "No one expected Cindy to get a PhD!" See? She totally gets us.
- According to Time, Chua is one year older than me and "carries off a short-skirted wardrobe that could easily be worn by her teenage daughters". Bitch. I'm much more upset about this than the "garbage" thing.
- In addition to the social activities listed above, she also doesn't allow her kids to watch TV or play video games. Doh.
- She somehow manages to completely degrade and humiliate her children, but without the use of profanity. How does she do it?
- She's struck a nerve with Western-style parents that I'm afraid will make them re-think their lax ways. The last thing I need is for typical parents to see the light and start riding their kids to be more successful. As it stands now, Audrey's got a fighting chance against the mollycoddled underachievers that she claims "self-esteem parenting" churns out.