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It’s Good Housekeeping’s 17th anniversary, and mommies, it’s your month, too! Enjoy meaty reads on everything relevant to you—from deliciously simple cake recipes to stories of compassion during Pope Francis’s visit.
Different moms have different ways of raising their kids. Some Chinese moms, in particular, favor what is known as the tiger mom approach—a parenting style that leaves no room for anything beyond the singular goal of academic excellence. This approach has become so well-known, in fact, that it has been parodied in shows like Glee, which joked about a grade of A minus being the "Asian F."
According to this parenting style, children can only excel when they are 100-percent focused on their studies with the occasional foray into piano or violin lessons. There is no room for sleepovers, play dates, TV, or computers. However, a new study to be published in the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development suggests that this intensity could be unhealthy for kids.
Desiree Baolian Qin, an academic and a Chinese mother herself, is saying no to the tiger mom approach. According to her, children do not need to be deprived of being children to encourage them to get good grades. That and the findings that point toward rigid parenting as a contributing factor to children’s depression and anxiety make for a pretty strong case.
In the study, Qin and her colleagues compared Chinese-American students with European-American students in the same prestigious East Coast high school. Many of the Chinese-American students confided that education is very much a family issue and that, while they are aware of the reasons behind such seemingly unfair methods, they don’t really work either. Said students also reported being more depressed and anxious than their Western counterparts.
Still, is there a reason why the tiger mom approach still seems to persist after all these years? Amy Chua, a Yale professor and Chinese mom, would probably have something to say about that. In her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua talks about how the tiger mom approach helped her own kids excel.
In the end, mothers only want what is best for their kids, and besides, every family is different. So can one method be really better than another? What do you think?
For more on the tiger mom approach, check out this article:
For more on raising happy achievers, try these:
(Photo by alexanderium via Flickr Creative Commons)