Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

January 20th, 2011

Discussion never seems to end about the rise and growth of China. On this program alone, we've talked about everything from outsourcing to immigration. About food, foreign policy, spectacle, sport and how Americans are falling behind. If any one theme has emerged it is that while we all may have shared goals and aspirations, there are indeed profound cultural differences. Perhaps nowhere is that difference felt or seen or more controversial, then in the realm of parenting; specifically in how Western mothers vs. Chinese mothers raise their children. Time vs. money, sleepovers vs. success, play dates vs. practice drills, choice vs. conformity. These are just a few of the issues that separate the Chinese Way from the Western Way of parenting.

On this very day in which we mark the 50 anniversary of JFK's Inauguration, we’re reminded of a quote by Jackie Kennedy who said simply, "if we bungle raising our children, I don't think whatever else we do matters very much.” What’s not so simple, is how we do that.

Amy Chua has not only written her new book about how Chinese mothers practice parenting, but she has lived it, raising her own two daughters her own way. Her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is about the way that Chua has lived, practiced and adapted the Chinese model of  parenting and her own personal journey in that effort. My conversation with Amy Chua: