Think the Tiger Mom debate has been totally played out? Think again. There’s a new voice weighing in, and she knows what she’s talking about.
Desiree Baolian Qin is a Chinese American mom, like Amy Chua. That’s not the cred she’s resting her argument on, though. Qin is also a scientist who has extensively researched real-life Tiger Moms and come to some mixed conclusions about the best approach to parenting.
Like Chua, Qin believes that children need to be rewarded for performance, not participation. Unlike the infamous Tiger Mom approach, though, Qin’s ideal parenting embodies moderation.
Here’s Jezebel’s take on Qin’s findings:
However, she says, parents shouldn’t belittle their children or overemphasize academic achievements at the expense of activities that develop social skills, like playdates (Chua is famously anti-play). She explains, “There is a healthy middle ground between the parenting extremes of the East and West. What is most beneficial to children, regardless of the culture, is clear and high expectations in a warm and loving family environment.”
Sounds pretty good, right?
Qin makes a compelling case for following her advice. In a series of studies, she found that taking the strict Tiger Mother approach to parenting can really backfire. She found higher incidences of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem among Chinese-American students than their white peers. While the causes for that could be numerous – racism, for a start – Qin believes the aggressive parenting tactics adopted by many Chinese-American parents affects their kids’ developing self-esteem.
What do you think? Does tough love parenting work, or do you follow a more balanced approach? Is Qin’s work a compelling counterargument to Amy Chua’s ideology?