The “Tiger Mom” Revisited

I've written before about Amy "Tiger Mom" Chua and her odious 2011 book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the thesis of which is that you should punish, humiliate, and otherwise coerce your kids into being high achievers. As I wrote at the time it was published: A few weeks ago [Chua] had a firestorm of publicity around her book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in which she boasts of her authoritarian and coercive parenting methods, which include not only insisting that her daughters follow a narrow course of “success-oriented” classes and activities, but punishing them harshly – via withholding, threats and insults – when they don’t toe the line or achieve top-level success. (For instance, she deprives them of bathroom breaks, threatens to burn their toys, and calls them “garbage.”) She got a major boost when The Wall Street Journal featured her in an admiring article. What Chua considered her branded form of tough-love parenting, however, many considered nothing more than child abuse. There … [Read more...]

My Inner Critic is a Wise Latina

I had a really bad night's sleep last night, even for me. At one point, I actually dreamt that I was being judged by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor! Could be worse--could have been Scalia or Alito or Thomas. So the yield of twelve+ years work helping others overcome their perfectionism is that my Inner Critic is "a wise Latina woman." Could be WAY worse. (And she wasn't even that bad in the dream!) Actually, I know why I dreamed of Sotomayor: a friend recently recommended her biography to me with extreme enthusiasm. So I will have to check it out, and I recommend you do, too. Meanwhile, this week New York Times health reporter Jane Brody ran a column on insomnia, and most of the comments are from desperate insomniacs seeking solutions. The "most liked" comment makes these excellent points: Going to bed early feels like childhood punishment, and deprivation of all the fun things like TV shows, films, late restaurant eating, snacks, Facebooking and so on -- yet if you must rise at 5:30AM … [Read more...]