Comment 1 on “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom”: Tiger Mom does not Represent Chinese Mothers

Just read Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” and watched the video of her interview with Charlie Rose: the Wall Street Journal has no right to brand her style of parenting as being representative of “Chinese mothers” (Wall Street Journal: “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”). While I agree with the general thrust that parents should one, make young children work hard at learning, two, demand and expect performance to the best of their ability from their kids, and three, make sure young children master basic intellectual skills, which can often only be achieved through repeated and tiresome “rote learning”, I find her parenting as recounted in the book overly obsessed with “achievement”, disrespectful of the child’s dignity, and yes, sometimes downright cruel and therefore absolutely wrong. Being proud of my heritage and considering myself to know a bit about that heritage, I object to that kind of excess being labeled “Chinese”.

刚刚看完蔡美儿“虎妈妈的战歌”一书和查理• 罗斯对她的访问,发觉了华尔街日报没权把她的子女教养方式说为是代表中华母亲的方式(见华尔街日报:“为什么中华母亲比较优越”)。的确,我同意,父母应该一、要求子女努力勤学,二、要求子女尽力做到能力所能做到的最好成绩,同时要把子女作出这种尽力看为是理所当然的,三、务必使子女掌握基本的知识技能,而很多时只有通过反复的、讨厌的“机械学习”才能掌握这些技能的。但是,书中所描绘的教养方式,一味痴迷于“成绩”、不尊重孩子的基本个人尊严、有时甚至残酷地(因而是绝对错误地)对待孩子。我身为华裔,把中华传统文化引以为荣,亦认为自己对中华文化传统略知一二,所以我反对把这种过分的做法标志为“中华的”。

Over-obsession with “achievement”, disrespect for the child’s dignity, and cruelty, can only be the parenting style of those modern Chinese parents who lack education in the traditional Chinese intellectual heritage.


Far from any obsession with “achievement”, what has been stressed in my experience of “Chinese parenting” (from my own parents) and in my research into what ideals the Chinese intellectual heritage has traditionally prescribed for Chinese parenting, is the supremacy of Chinese values, the Chinese values of relationship-defined obligations, wherein xiao or being good to parents and ancestors, and loyalty to country, have come first and foremost, the Chinese values of respect for all persons whether superior, equal, or inferior in station, the values of courage to stand by what is right even if the entire world is against you and you are threatened with dire consequences, the Chinese values of the obligation to dissuade and dispute authority when they are morally wrong, and the Chinese values of the importance of morals and principles over book learning and riches. These values had been drummed into me repeatedly by my parents, by school, and by the popular culture that I experienced as a child in Hong Kong during the early 1960s. My own research since I’ve grown up into traditional Chinese parenting and upbringing of children has confirmed what I had experienced as a child.


Charlie Rose hit it right on the head when he repeated pressed Amy Chua on the importance of values in bringing up children.

查理• 罗斯访问里曾多次追问蔡美儿教养子女价值是否重要,这的确是一针见血。

Yes, hard work and striving always to achieve to your potential is good and important, but that is only a part of the overall dedication to relationship-defined obligations, to morals and to principles. Those Chinese values are what real Chinese parenting should be all about.


As for Amy Chua’s repeated pleas in the interview with Charlie Rose about “unconditional love” being most important, I think that reveals that she is just another Westerner after all - see my essay The Traditional Chinese Supremacy of Relationship-Defined Obligations vs. the Western Supremacy of Love.

至于蔡美儿在查理• 罗斯的访问中所屡次诉求的“无条件的爱才是最重要的”,证明了她不过只是个西方人罢了:请看我的文章“中华传统的人伦至上对西方的爱至上”

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明

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3 Responses to “Comment 1 on “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom”: Tiger Mom does not Represent Chinese Mothers

  1. Ivy Sun Says:


  2. admin Says:

    谢谢!本末倒置,都是因为近年来人们遗忘了中华文化, 现在该是中华文化复兴的时代了。

  3. 宝宝教育 Says:


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