Do you want your children to like you?
Chua indicates that it is irrelevant whether her children like her (and she is not counting on it). What matters to her is what skills she equips them with.
Chua recounts a “harrowing” violin practice session when her daughter said, “Stop hovering over me…you remind me of Lord Voldemort” (pg 66). She writes, “Unlike Western parents, reminding my child of Lord Voldemort didn’t bother me. I just tried to stay focused” (pg 66).
Chua may not care if her girls like her, but what about my own future children?
Yes, I definitely want my children to like me. This may simply be a cultural difference, but I think most of my peers would probably say the same thing. We want our future children to like us. I am not saying children should never be forced to complete a difficult task. I am not saying that if your child compares you to Lord Voldemort that it means they will never like you.
Halfway through her book, Chua admits that she doesn’t feel sure about how her children will perceive her years from now. “I don’t know how my daughters will look back on all this twenty years from now. Will they tell their own children, ‘My mother was a controlling fanatic who even in India made us practice before we could see Bombay and New Delhi.’? (pg 91)”
Chua admits in her book that that she knew her children might not like her or want to be around her later. Are you willing to give that up? Let us consider again the first question I asked: do the ends justify the means? Your ‘means’ of parenting directly influence whether you children like you, regardless of the ‘ends’ you aimed to achieve.
Wrapping It Up
It’s been a long three posts and I haven’t even started to pick this book apart. However much you might disagree with Chua’s parenting philosophy, I would encourage you to read it. Best said by reviewer Maureen Corrigan, “In her new memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, Chua recounts her adventures in Chinese parenting, and — nuts though she may be — she’s also mesmerizing. Chua’s voice is that of a jovial, erudite serial killer — think Hannibal Lecter — who’s explaining how he’s going to fillet his next victim, as though it’s the most self-evidently normal behavior.”
As I read this book, I felt a little bit like Chua was slapping me in the face for the fun of it. I felt an intense dislike for the mother she was painting herself to be. And yet–I don’t think she wrote this book to be ‘liked’.