‘Tiger Moms’ Study Suggests Hovering May Bring Negative Consequences

In recent years, “Tiger Moms” were at issue when a book written by New Yorker Amy Chua explained a rigorous, culturally different method of parenting unlike the type favored by most Western moms and dads.

Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, hit first in an article titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” describing some of the key elements of the tome. And in one of the book’s passages, Chua describes enforcing strict measures to ensure daughter Lulu learned a piano piece to perfection by the following day:

“… I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have ‘The Little White Donkey’ perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, ‘I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?’ I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.”

Controversy raged over the Tiger Mom method of parenting, but, as it continued, a study was underway to measure the effects of the school of thought on kids.

Su Yeong Kim is an associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas, and her report, “Does Tiger Parenting Exist? Parenting Profiles of Chinese Americans and Adolescent Developmental Outcomes,” appeared in a recent issue of Asian American Journal of Psychology.

Kim’s report says Tiger Moms may inadvertently crush their children with pressure, and she writes:

“Compared with the supportive parenting profile, a tiger parenting profile was associated with lower GPA and educational attainment, as well as less of a sense of family obligation… It was also associated with more academic pressure, more depressive symptoms, and a greater sense of alienation.”

Do you agree with the Tiger Mom philosophy that kids need rigorous discipline and harsh consequences?

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