Celebrity Smackdown : The Tiger Mom


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          Excuse me, Mr. Celebrity, we are discussing manners this week and let’s face it, you guys aren’t known for your etiquette. Hollywood is more known for self-entitled, demanding, petulant adult children who wanted no foam and soymilk in their latte with a thimble full of vanilla and a Truvia. This is what we expect so going after them in a smackdown is as fun as clubbing baby seals in a kiddie pool. However, it seems that today rudeness is a way for people to gain notoriety. If you can’t be famous, be infamous!

          Lee says: Recently, some things have come out that makes being a civil, proper lady difficult. Some people say stupid things and my first reaction is to mutter ‘stupid bitch’ and move on. Some people do stupid things and my muttering becomes louder. Publish stupid things and I have to grab my keyboard and write a smackdown.  Amy Chua did just that in publishing her book ‘Battlehymn of the Tiger Mother’. Chua “imparts the secret behind the stereotypical Asian child’s phenomenal success: the Chinese mother. Chua promotes what has traditionally worked very well in raising children: strict, Old World, uncompromising values…”(Publishers Weekly). I cannot speak to the book because I refuse to buy it and I am not interested in someone sending me a copy. I am simply editorializing what has already been promoted about the book including the things that Chua has said herself.

          First, let me begin with what I call my karma saving move. Chua is a published woman. Woohoo for her! Good job and congratulations for publishing in today’s tough market.  That being said, the subject of your book has set back the emotional evolution of man by 100 years. Raising your kids to be successful is incredibly important but not at the detriment of their self esteem. Calling your daughter garbage, threatening to throw away the dollhouse of your more rebellious daughter, not letting your kid go to the bathroom until she mastered a piece on the piano and throwing handmade birthday cards in your kid’s faces telling them you expected more effort, is not something that needs to be heard in any era.

          I understand that the book is a memoir and that she eased up a little but still is incredibly demanding of her kids. The examples I give above sound like the tearful stories I would hear when I would see clients. Those are the stories of today’s Sybil. Sure, her eldest wrote an open letter to the New York Post, which says Mommy was the best but I doubt she could see or say anything else right now; even her Mom described her as a more compliant kid. She may not have a clue where her voice is and if she ever finds it, I suspect she will be talking differently. To the Wall Street Journal she claimed  that she said the following to her youngest when the little girl (age 7) was unable to master a piece of music: ‘I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.’ Doesn’t that motivate you!?!

          I am a Mom. I am not a wimp. I am strict and mean and yell and rage. I do not allow my kids to run the house and I do stress getting good grades. However, unlike Amy, I am not expecting my kids to be anything other than children. I do not need for them to go to an Ivy League school because that is what I want. I am not forcing my child to do something to the point where they are in physical and emotional pain. Imposing my power on my kids does not get me off. And what really separates me from Ms. Chua is that I expect my kids to go to therapy and talk about me. Amy thinks that she is a saint and that her kids will thank her.

          Amy, I strongly recommend some therapy for you. You obviously have some major Mommy issues. God forbid you do things differently from her, huh? Success is more important than being happy. Money and position makes up for being called garbage and having your work thrown in your face. Being a professor and author is more important than loving your children for who they are and honoring them for being individuals. Needing your daughters to be virtuosos is more important than believing your kids deserve respect and the simple courtesy of a thank you. Keep defending yourself and believing that you are just showing a different culture. I am Hispanic and would get spanked for a B on my report card and I can assure you that an A did not make me happy. Come on Tiger Mom, you’re a smart lady. You know what happy means as a concept, right? Or are you too busy being queen of your jungle.

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