A teen’s take on “tiger parenting”

By Ashley Barbian | A&E Editor

“There is absolutely no reason for my child to not be the best in all academics.” “There is no need for my child to participate in activities of their choosing.” “They must be perfect.” These extreme statements may be said by individuals who are collectively known as “tiger parents,” a term used to refer to parents who use extremely strict parenting styles. Forcing a child into countless hours of practicing various instruments, refusing to involve them in extracurricular activities and social groups, in addition to school, are just a few of the common practices of  “tiger parenting.”

Parenting may be one of the most challenging tasks one can face in his or her entire life. Though there are many methods to follow, some have more negative effects on the child than benefits and should be avoided.

Recently, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” written by Asian mother and Yale law professor Amy Chua, has brought attention to “tiger parenting.” Chua explains that she feels Chinese mothers are superior to American mothers because of the way they parent. Her blunt attitude and harsh opinions on the ineffectiveness of Western parenting have pushed many people to investigate this theory.

This form of parenting is commonly found in the Chinese culture; however, in January, a study done by the “Journal of Adolescence” revealed some American families have also adopted “tiger parenting.” The study found disturbing mental health issues among the students raised using these practices. Research shows that some students’ emotional struggles were directly caused by parent-to-child relations. With harsh practice and no cohesion of child and parent views, it is far more likely the child will have poor mental health. Students affected by “tiger parenting” are not able to handle the thought of failure, and in a world where failure is inevitable, this can cause many problems. Not only can these practices cause mental health issues, but they may also cause other negative consequences.

Forceful parenting methods also push children into rebellion after high school. Once the children raised under harsh guidelines are released into the world, where they are now responsible for their own actions, they may choose to move into a life they could never have as a child. These children lack real world experience and could suffer socially as an adult. The transition from constant control to freedom could shellshock many children. This may add to the mental health issues their parents may have previously caused.

Many different parenting styles are used today all over the world. While methods may have many differences, they all share one common theme: to help their children grow into well rounded members of society. “Tiger parenting” would be effective if the child absolutely wanted to accomplish high honors in academics, but this is not always a child’s main priority or only focus. As a parent, if one’s child had high aspirations in academics, extracurricular activities could easily be filtered through the academic structure of the child. Without crucial social skills, children may be inadequate for the career or lifestyle they choose to pursue.

Following students so closely and pushing excellence in every aspect of life is seen to have negative consequences. Although “tiger parenting” may be excellent in helping children succeed in academics, it does not teach social and emotional skills that are essential for adults to have in society. Facing the deficiencies, “tiger parenting” methods are an inadequate way of raising children to their full potential and happiness.