Dear Tiger Mom, aka Amy Chua:
Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua might want to cover her ears right now because clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel has a message for parents that would likely send Chua into one of those shrieking fits she reserves for her daughters’ subpar piano practices, or a verboten A-minus. Here goes: Your teen may not be a genius-entrepreneur-athlete-altruist-artist. He will probably experiment with drugs, drinking and sex. The small stuff — like rudeness, irresponsibility and utter obliviousness to the effort and money you put into his well-being — will test you daily.
Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin earned two A’s, one A-plus and one A-minus during her first semester at the University of California, Santa Barbara. When she told her Chinese grandfather, she was disappointed but not shocked by his response. “He said: ‘You got an A-plus, but an A-minus, too,’ ” recalled Mates-Muchin, 36, now the associate rabbi of Temple Sinai in Oakland. Mates-Muchin, whose mother is second-generation Chinese-American and whose father is the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants, recognizes a lot of her own childhood in “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” Yale University professor Amy Chua’s controversial book about raising her daughters with traditional Chinese norms of strict discipline.
With her take-no-prisoners approach in “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” author Amy Chua has drawn the ire of mothers across America who take exception to the draconian measures she recommends to ensure successful, prodigious offspring. So it's little surprise that prominent among her critics are another group famous -- infamous, some might say -- for what they have to say about how best to be a parent: Jewish mothers. Chua's book and a synopsis she wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 8, “Why Chinese Moms are Superior,” lay out her parental rules -- no sleepovers, no play dates, no television -- and admiringly relate a story of how she once reduced her daughter to tears when she couldn't play a piano piece.