Single Parents, Are You Tiger Moms Or Manatee Dads?


No sleepovers. No TVs. No grades below an A.

No fun?

Amy Chua’s unflinching defense of strict Chinese parenting has sparked a global firestorm. It all began Jan. 8 when The Wall Street Journal published a modified excerpt of the Yale professor’s new book, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”

In it, Chua lambasted lenient American parents. “For example,” she wrote, “my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.”

Chua described her strigent discipline, calling her young daughter “garbage” for disrespectful behavior.

The essay has elicited 7,673 comments (to date) and has been read by more than a million people. “I am in disbelief after reading this article,” one person wrote. Many have defended Western-style parenting, with one blogger advocating for “Manatee dads.”

“Parents like Amy Chua are the reason why Asian-Americans like me are in therapy,” Betty Ming Liu, who teaches journalism at N.Y.U., wrote in a Jan. 8 blog entry.

The blistering debate has left me wondering what CatholicMatch members make of Amy Chua. Were your parents strict? How should Catholic faith inform parenting? How does cultural heritage factor in?

And for those of you who are single parents, what’s your take on it? Is it harder to be strict when you don’t have a spouse helping out? More important?


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