Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mother Superior

An excerpt on Yale professor Amy Chua's new memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," appeared in The Wall Street Journal this month sparking national debate on so-called eastern and western parenting styles and how they may be shaping the future generation.

Chua offered herself as a lightning rod, portraying supermom-like will to mold her children into top-rate prodigies.

Among the topics her way brought up included abuse, achievement, defining success, self esteem, psychological scars, overall happiness and adult relationships with overbearing parents.

I especially loved David Brooks' answer to Chua's self-aggrandizing (and what I thought at first was tongue and cheek satire) essay. He called her a "wimp," saying that while she strong-armed her children into mastering the hard stuff she was protecting them from failing at the softer, more useful stuff that binds us as a society. You know ... like empathy.

It all makes for interesting debate, for sure. However, neither has a corner on The Best Way To Raise ChildrenTM market. Success in one area doesn't necessarily carry over into all other areas. You can be strict or you can be lax and neither will ensure your kids are successful at the business of life.


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