who wins the mothering prize?

People like to argue about what’s best for kids. And then they like to tell other people what’s best for kids. For all kids, usually. People have argued for parenting methods as disparate as locking a crying baby in a room by itself, to teach it independence, and literally never putting a baby down, from birth, until, um, it can give birth to its own baby. And they’ve argued these positions passionately, and convinced a lot of other people that if the thing they are arguing for doesn’t happen then the child will grow up to be a blathering, pathetic, hopeless failure who is obsessed with collecting tiny porcelain Disney character figurines.

Have you read the latest piece about parenting? It’s called Why Chinese Mothers are Superior. It is an excerpt from Yale Law professor Amy Chua’s new book, and it was published in the Wall Street Journal, inspiring about 2,500 comments like, “What is WRONG with you?!! I don’t understand why people are so stupid, and you should be ashamed of yourself for writing this, because you are really a terrible person.” But then, as everyone who writes or reads anything on a big site knows, you will find identical comments at the bottom of a piece about why fawns are adorable little animals with sweet round eyes.

Still, we all know this is a cultural hot button. And we all know a lot of people will have a lot to say about this stuff. And we all know I’m going to be one of them. So:

Chua explains that Chinese mothers (and parents from other non-white American cultural groups) think about children differently. They think about potential, rather than protection. They know their kids can accomplish anything, and so they make sure they accomplish everything. No excuses. No play dates. No grades below an A. No TV. She complains that a lot of the (white) parents she knows are constantly worried about their kids. How do they feel? How is their self-esteem? Are they enjoying life enough?

Chua says, you enjoy life later, when you’re accomplished. And at that point, you enjoy it a lot more. In the meantime, she is willing to forbid her little daughter from using the bathroom until she perfects a piano piece. She’s willing to throw away a handmade card from her daughter, because it’s not good enough.

The truth is, well, I can’t completely disagree with Chua.

Though, as someone who grew up in a house where the children were all made to practice instruments for at least an hour every day (Amy would probably laugh. “An hour?! Are you kidding me? No wonder you all failed!”), I can say with some certainty that even practicing piano for three or four hours a day didn’t do much for me. It’s not that useful of a skill, unless you go into music, in which case you will definitely be broke and probably have your soul crushed. It didn’t teach me discipline, it taught me that I liked big, dark, crash-y pieces and didn’t like playing Bach. I stopped practicing as soon as I left home. The one thing I got out of years and years of classical training is the ability to navigate basic chord progressions easily enough to write my own indie rock songs with keyboard accompaniment. And I’m not even that good at it. Not exactly what Amy would aim for, I’m guessing. I might even suggest that she pick something less arbitrary for her kids to succeed at.

(seriously, there are better things to do for hours every day. source)

But I do understand her point about being really involved with her kids lives, and not letting them watch TV (it’s a waste of time!! It eats your brain!), and pushing them to be amazing at stuff. Because it’s true that when you’re actually really good at something, it feels awesome. The problem is when you think that the most important thing is being good at everything. I wrote about this here.

And then she says, “Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, ‘Hey fatty—lose some weight.’ By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of ‘health’ and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image.”

And I think about the women I know who can recite back verbatim every comment their mothers made about their bodies. They are still cringing and paying for it. They are still fighting against it. Maybe it’s different for Chua’s daughters. Maybe they understand things in completely different terms, because of their upbringing. But I’d sort of lean towards guessing that because they are also growing up in the larger context of American society, they are just as susceptible to feeling bad about their appearances as other girls.

Even if Amy Chua is right about everything she says about good parenting, a family is not an island. We live in a society that bombards us with a lot of other ideas about right and wrong and important and unimportant. Maybe some things will hurt no matter what. Like having to hold it in for a long time when you really have to pee. Or being told you’re not good enough until the very last moment, when you’re finally good enough. You might just remember all the not being good enough.

Or maybe, as Chua suggests, most people are just wimping out.

(and you know what happens then…source)

*  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love the way I look in Bear’s gigantic soft gray shirt.

Continuation of the Emily goes to school story over at Un-schooled.

This post appeared on Huffpo, slightly altered, here.


Kate on January 11th 2011 in beauty, life, perfection, relationships, weight

26 Responses to “who wins the mothering prize?”

  1. Valerie responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 11:47 am #

    I read both your article and her’s. I don’t agree with withholding bathroom and food rights as that can lead to health problems down the line.

    However, I don’t see a problem with telling children that they are bad at something or letting them know that not everything they crank out is absolutely golden because we’re afraid of hurting their feelings. This type of thinking is what led to our American Idol culture. All of those people think that they are fabulous singers and dancers because no one ever told them, flat out, that they weren’t and then they go on national television and are laughed at. Honesty with children is not being cruel and if the child REALLY wants to succeed at an activity then they will put in the work and time that it takes to make it happen. Lying to them and telling them that they are fantastic at everything will only damage them further down the line, in my opinion, and it doesn’t push them to try harder in the areas that need improvement.

    My parents told me if I was horrible at something and I realize now that they pushed me in the direction of the things I am good at. And that their criticism helped me work harder in the areas I needed to improve.

  2. Kate responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I don’t see a problem with not tiptoeing around children’s feelings constantly either. I would want to draw the line between criticizing things they are capable of changing at the time and not, though. Some kids really shouldn’t be playing Liszt at five. And it’s not really important for every kid to be an amazing card illustrator :)

  3. Ashley responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Interesting. It’s weird, all the Chinese kids I knew while growing up were always brilliant straight A, and super talented overachievers. I admired them. Something to think about.

  4. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I agree with what Chua is doing but I think her approach could be better.
    As a kid my mom would quiz me on my knowledge before a test. If I didn’t do perfectly (or near perfect) she would tell me that I could do better and send me to study even more. I learned not to settle for mediocre work and I ended up excelling in school as a result.
    I never felt berated though (which it seems like Chua is doing to her daughters). I never felt like I wasn’t good enough the way that I was, but I always felt that I could be better.
    If, as a parent, you allow your child to settle for less than their best, then they will never know what they are capable of and they will never feel that amazing feeling you get when you work really really hard at something and finally succeed.

  5. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    My parents definitely drove me to do well in school. I took my first test last Saturday in 8 years (I’m a massage therapy school student at the age of 28) and aced that shiz even though I thought I had done subpar. The ability to learn and study and do well in school is definitely still in there, and I am grateful for my parents pushing me as hard as they did.

  6. lk responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I can see both sides on this one. My mother was what I would consider very Chinese in her thinking (though, she’s about as Causcasian as they come!). I did everything. Piano, baseball, basketball, singing, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, flute, volleyball, swimming, show choir, figure skating, tap dancing, ballet… you name it. Everything I wanted to do, I did. I also got straight As, missed not one single day of school until I was in High School, and only then, for a figure skating competition. I was in every advanced class my high school offered. I took every AP exam they gave.

    The problem? As an adult, I hate her for pushing me like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can, and will, master anything that I put my mind to. But I think of the childhood that I missed out on. Play-time with friends. Or, better yet, how about friends period? I didn’t get to have any! I didn’t have time between homework, rehearsals, practices, games, etc… That’s a problem for me. I wish I had people now who I could say that we’ve been friends since Junior High. As it is, I don’t know how to make and keep a good friend because I never had time to learn!

    So, what am I doing with my kids? Well, I’m trying to find a balance. They can try it all, yes, if they want, but I’m not going to push them and push them. My son has decided he loves piano. So, we’re taking some lessons. I’m not pushing him to practice for hours on end though. There’s got to be a balance! In a few years, if he decides he really wants to pursue it, we’ll push for that 1 – 4 hours a day of practice. But, until then… he’s going to be a child!

    Ok, so I got a little off the beaten path on this one, but you get the point. Balance. It’s a little like politics, there are your extremes to either direction and then there’s the balance that I believe we are all striving for!

    – lk

  7. Elizabeth responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I am a parent of two daughters. Chua’s article and her tactics to make her daughters perfect made me angry. I believe she wrote that article to get press to sell her book, which I would never buy in a million years.

    I do think our children are much more capable than we give them (and that they give themselves) credit for and that excessive coddling sends the wrong message. However, Chua’s tactics are atrocious. Withholding basic bathroom, water, and food rights until perfection is attained is borderline abuse in my book. And when Chua adds, “I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years,” I honestly wondered if she might be a little off her rocker. In addition, I would never say to my daughters, friends, or anyone, “Hey, Fatty lose some weight.” There is a more appropriate way of addressing issues.

    I also don’t agree with Chua’s statement that “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.” I think that is ridiculous. My older daughter likes to work. She likes to practice ballet and piano. She works hard and competes to be number one in her math class. I didn’t tell her she had to do those things. She has done it on her own accord. Also, I think part of the fun of getting good at something is experimenting, making mistakes, and working at getting better. I think that’s the healthy and normal process of learning a new skills and growing in confidence and self-esteem. I’m not saying I know everything and that I am a perfect mother, but I am saying Chua is excessive and her parenting techniques are unbalanced.

  8. (Relatively)NewReader responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 1:51 pm #


    I am SO glad I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago. Nearly every topic you tackle is incredibly relevant in my life and you move through each with such a sensitive, funny, just all-around easy to read style. (The easy to read part is highly appreciated in my life right now.)

    I literally just came across this article a bit ago after my 3 hour psych class devoted today to overscheduling/parental pressure/extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation and its link to youth well-being. I certainly have mixed feelings about Chua’s parenting methods (although my first thoughts were along the lines of “You poor girls!”) coming from a “non-white American cultural group”. I have certain things I’m extremely grateful to my parents for (teaching me our native tongue, academic support, overall attentiveness & love) and other things that have probably done more harm than good (high career & marital expectations, pressure to attend the Ivy league). It’s a mixed bag, a gray topic like many things. I just know that I love my parents because their intentions have always been good. They do what they think is best and I keep this is mind as they raise my little sister now & try to inject my thoughts whenever useful as someone whose been down that path before.

    Um, I didn’t mean to ramble this much.
    Thanks for your bravery, honesty and great writing :)

  9. B1 responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Lots to ponder on this. I grew up with a Japanese mother and an absent American father. I also think about what I have observed and learned about other cultures, in my own struggles to understand my parents. My mom had no real support system as her family was in Japan and dad was a drunk for a while but then, even after giving up the bottle, was still not there. He let mom do it all really. So mom raised us all as individuals and in a family, a house of individuals of all ages has it’s own set of issues.

    Here’s my two cents on the article and raising children. Balanace, as mentioned by lk, is a good thing but I think boundaries is a better thing. Westerner’s as Chau calls us, tend to not set boundaries with children, so the children (who don’t know squat) end up bossing the adults around or manipulating them. I have always set boundaries with children and they would scream and cry because I did, but when I wasn’t around, they would ask when I would be returning. I let children know what I consider acceptable behavior and what is not and they respond to this.

    Children, as I said, don’t know squat and they are vessels, that when directed, will do as we (adults) command or expect. We are their teachers, but many Westerners are so set on forcing their children to become the next famous singer, next famous athelete, next famous {fill in the blank}, that will get fame and fortune the fast and easy way, that they are forgetting to take the time to teach their child the basics of life to include reading, writing and math. The Chinese mother is spending lots of time with their child, pushing them to be great because when a child realizes that they can be great at anything, there is no stopping them.

    I do like the Jewish methods too though. To them a child is to be molded by the parents until they are at an age of understanding. Then they begin to loosen up some. Then by the age of about 13, they are then considered an adult that is capable of understanding that there are consequences to their choices and the parents make them live with them. Westerners try too hard to shield their children from everything, which is the worst thing to do, in my opinion.

    I was a volunteer that taught children with disabilities how to swim. For one session (8-12 weeks), every Saturday morning, I worked with one child and also watched another volunteer working with a blind child. In my mind I kept thinking that he could do so much more, but I wasn’t working with him. Many of the other children had learning disabilities, so repetition was more of a necessity for them. The next session, I was put with the blind child. He liked to play more than work and I did this the first part of the class to build a rapport with him. Then I told him it was time to work and he threw a fit. He could only swim about the width of three swimming lap lanes. I told him, “of all of the children here, you have the most ability to learn to swin and just because you’re blind doesn’t mean that I expect anything less from you”. I told his mom and she said, “right on”. I set the boundaries of when we worked and when we were allowed to play. I pushed him each week by increasing the number of strokes he had to perform before we were allowed to play. By the end of the session with me, he could swim the entire length of the Olympic sized pool.

    A child is capable of anything. It’s the adults who are restricted in their own minds of what THEY think their child can do.

  10. Kate responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I love these responses. I don’t have time to respond to them thoroughly right now, but I wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed reading each one, and am, as always surprised and interested by the opinions voiced. I expected everyone who read this post to think, “Of course Amy Chua is completely wrong!”

    And @(Relatively) New Reader: that does NOT count as rambling. At all.

  11. Mel responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    I don’t know if she’s right or wrong. My own parents are Chinese, but I was mostly brought up in Western countries (Australia, US). I was pushed at school, even though I went to an international school, and I did ok. Not straight A’s all the time, but most of the time. I know when I disappointed them (which was a lot), and it bothered the hell out of me, even though I didn’t want to acknowledge it. I craved that approval of them everyday, for them to accept me the way I am rather than constantly thinking about who I could be. If they could just once tell me they were proud of me without any caveats, just the way I am/was.

    Now of course, I can understand why they act the way they do. I understand the ideology behind the criticisms, pushing me to do better; and for the most part, yes, it has made me better and more successful and better primed for life as an adult. However, the constant jibes and high expectations are sometimes just too much, and in order for us all to live harmoniously as a family, my sister and I both live in different countries to our parents. We just communicate better all around from a distance.

    I love them very much and I know that all they want is the best for me. But in order to be emotionally and mentally stable, I have to do my best to distance myself from the ‘Oh look, you’ve gained weight again’ and ‘So are you sure you don’t want to be an investment banker?’.

    There’s definitely no right or wrong, but they did what they could in the way that they knew best, and that’s all parents can do.

  12. allison marie responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    When I first read the article, I wanted to be completely annoyed with Chua. At first blush, what she’s doing seems unfair to her children – especially by withholding food and bathroom breaks. On the other hand, my mom made me get a 100% on my spelling tests every morning during breakfast, and although I hated it at the time, I’m better for it. I do think we do a bit of overindulging our children in western culture, but then again, I’m not a mother. I just feel like its ok to tell a child to try harder because they are being lazy and not giving something its full effort. There are other ways to show affection with your child than just “accepting them as individuals” all the time. I think Chau does a good job of demonstrating it.

    All through high school, there was an ongoing joke in the honors classes that the Chinese students were going to be the top ten of the class so it didn’t really do anyone any good to try. Now, I wonder what their home life was like :)

  13. Wei-Wei responded on 11 Jan 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    I read her article. I can thankfully say that my parents aren’t like that, and they never have been; I was one of the luckier ones, where my parents didn’t force me to play musical instruments until I died and forced me to get A on every test. A- is good enough for them. In that aspect, I do think that they are very much like Western parents, even though I was brought up in China.

    However, Chinese principles still hold, however loosely; they expect me to respect them and put them first at all times (it’s a thing called “xiao shun” – being respectful and providing to your parents at all times). I don’t have as much freedom as I would like but I know I have it easy compared to some of my classmates. My parents don’t force me to do what I don’t want to do, and they respect my decisions.

    I think that I don’t completely disagree with her article either. People assume Chinese mothers are cruel, and sometimes I agree. I’ve seen classmates break down into tears over a measly B, or even a B+. One of my friends nearly started crying over her math exam because she just felt she wasn’t good enough: this friend studies to the wee hours of morning on a regular basis, even pulling all-nighters WITH her mom.

    BUT, this sentence in particular struck me as especially true: “But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up.” I see myself giving up all too often these days and it makes me wish, in a sort of perverse way, that my mom was stricter on me about homework.

  14. Anna responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I do think a balance is necessary. Children need to develop self-motivation, and they may not get that chance if all their motivation is from external sources. On the other hand, some children when left to themselves will pursue only easy fun (e.g. television, video games, etc.). What I think is important is parents modeling behavior for children. If the parents expect the children to utilize free time constructively, they ought to do the same.

    Some of Amy Chua’s article I thought was over the top, but what stuck out to me was how much time she spent coaching her daughters. Many western parents consider education to be the teachers’ job and do not spend the time with their children to make sure they are learning the material well.

    About giving praise, I think withholding praise from children is damaging as it can cultivate the attitude of “am I good enough yet, mom or dad?”. I think it is possible to both praise and challenge children to do better. A parent can recognize that the child’s current accomplishments are not the final goal, but a step in the process, and while that accomplishment may not be a great final product, it can still be a great step. So I think it’s best to compliment what the child has learned and put to use and challenge them to make his or her next accomplishment even better.

    My brother went to a Chinese school (which was to teach reading and writing to first generation American-Chinese kids), so I got to see a little of that. What was sad was that many of the kids who had been really pushed academically completely rebelled once they turned eighteen, and many who were were really spoiled in other ways.

    I think that balance is best because by concentrating on one thing (like academic excellence) detracts from some other area.

  15. erica responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Well, as an eighteen-year-old college student who has a Chinese mother in every sense of the word, I saw a lot of parallels to my life in this article. My mom made me take piano lessons and ballet lessons, she bought me practice math books so that I “wouldn’t get rusty” over the summer, and nothing less than the best was/is good enough. I used to stay up until two in the morning studying for my tests in high school and I took my SAT five times until I ended up was a score that was “good enough.” In the end I graduated the valdictorian of my high school with three associates degrees from the local community college and almost no social life whatsoever.

    And when no Ivy League college accepted me I broke down and cried.

    I remember thinking to myself, “So it was all for nothing,” but mostly I felt completely and utterly ashamed of myself; I felt like I’d let everyone down.

    And do you know what happened? Nothing. Life goes on. I learned that I am not defined by my successes so much as I am by my character and that realization has made me a much happier person. And as devestating as that rejection was for me, I really can’t say that I even care about it, now.

    Looking back, I am glad my parents pushed me. It got me where I am today and for that I’m grateful. But I think that we need to keep in mind that everyone has limits. Someday Chua’s children are going to take a class where even their best won’t be “good enough,” and then what happens? In some ways, failure is just as import as success, it teaches us how to pick ourselves back up and keep moving forward. But when we tell children that they are only as good as their successes, what we’re really teaching them is to fear failure–which could lead to fearing challenges, which is not good, since overcomming challenges is part of what empowers us.

    I could go on and on (and have) but this is pretty long already so I think I should stop now. I just want to say that I forwarded the link to the article to my mom who wrote back, “So true, we are superior. Now don’t you wish you’d kept playing paino?”

  16. Anonymous responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 5:15 am #

    Thank you for bringing this up on your blog. I had already read the article yesterday, on the WSJ website. The title caught my attention, and I felt compelled to read it (I am Caucasian and not an immigrant). Although some aspects of her parenting style sounded harsh, I found myself feeling envy about the skills that those children will develop and carry with them through life. I was virtually left to my own as a child, in this regard, with very little direct guidance regarding study or achievement. Although I am now far from childhood and it’s unproductive to continue blaming my uninvolved parents, I do believe that I would have had better life skills, and abilities to achieve my goals if I had been raised even a little bit like this mother is raising her children. Many of her comments were profound to me (as were the reader’s comments), and I believe it is never too late to learn (or be guided), so perhaps I can still follow some of the guidance that she offers to her children. It does seem to be a fact that self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts, (and not the other way around, as many of us had been led to believe by a certain segment of modern “thinkers”). And this seems to be some of what she is saying. My spouse was raised by a mother who pushed greatly for achievement, and he resents it. I suppose parenting is never perfect.

  17. San D responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Having not been a parent, I will speak from the perspective of being a daughter, and not the favorite one at that. My mother did the best she could intuitively along with Dr. Spock raising her two daughters. She in turn was raised by a stepmother after having lost her mother. We revert to what we know, or as I like to say the movie we were in, when we have to do hard important tasks like raising children. Either we reject, improve, or improvise using our hearts, heads and hands. Add in the cultural influences and expectations, and one can see the task of raising children is far more complicated than the moment to moment decisions parents make. I am sure parents assume that what they are doing is out of love and for the best for their children. Once the trajectory is established in terms of philosophy of raising the child, rarely does that change. In the case or Chau raising her child, she established high standards and there was no turning back. My mother’s family motto was “don’t do anything to embarass your father, he will never get promoted if you do”, and that colored everything from grades to dating to standing up straight and smiling at the right moment. I always aimed to please and succeeded in school, college and at my profession, eagerly awaiting approval. It never really came in the form I was seeking, because afterall, it was expected of you.

  18. Kim responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    My concern with focusing on a child’s self worth based on their acceptional achievement in academia or music is that after college, a lot of those feeling exceptional or really good at everything opportunities go away. I’m reminded of Kate’s earlier article about how easy it is to feel special as a child, with all the activities and rewards set up for kid-based contests. But those typically go away after college and then what does the now adult child do for their self worth without the constant stream of awards and praise they’ve gotten used to from their childhood? The adult world, especially in this recession (sorry, jobless recovery) doesn’t reward excellence the same way. There are tons of people who got straight As in school, who now can’t find jobs because for every job out there, there’s about 1000 people who all got straight As and were all overahievers competing for it. If your self worth is entirely based on praise and achievement, how are you going to feel when you can’t get a job?

  19. Kate responded on 12 Jan 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Really good point about the economy.

  20. Tempest responded on 13 Jan 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    I’ve come across this article a few times now, and really the first thing that comes to mind is that suicide among Asian-American teenagers is a dangerously high percentage when compared to other groups. There’s got to be a balance.

  21. (Relatively)NewReader responded on 14 Jan 2011 at 2:53 am #

    And the tough parenting/immigrant stereotypes/Chua discussions rage on across the web…just came across this really great article:


  22. Valerie responded on 14 Jan 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    I don’t know. I’m not a parent. But as a 21 year old sister to a 5 year old girl – I don’t think I’ll ever be the type to tell a small child they’re not good at something. Until they’re a certain age – and I do believe the age is different for each child – the effort and the attempt needs to be valued. When they’re going to be thrown into a world that will criticize their every move, there’s no reason to give them absolutely nowhere to turn for a confidence boost.

    Having said that, there’s definitely aspects of mothering to be learned from everyone. There might be *ways* in which a mothering style is superior, but as a whole, there’s just not a perfect one out there.

  23. B1 responded on 19 Jan 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I love the letter that Chau’s daughter wrote and says,

    “To me, it’s not about achievement or self-gratification. It’s about knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential. You feel it when you’re sprinting, and when the piano piece you’ve practiced for hours finally comes to life beneath your fingertips. You feel it when you encounter a life-changing idea, and when you do something on your own that you never thought you could. If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I’ve lived my whole life at 110 percent.

    “And for that, Tiger Mom, thank you.”

    That is the essence of what Chau wants for every child, East or West.

  24. melle responded on 22 Mar 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I was under the impression that what Chua wrote was IRONY and that those who are reviewing her don’t know how to read irony.

    I feel bad for her.

  25. Eat the Damn Cake » the Tiger Mom talks responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    [...] of people, I didn’t read the book, I read the Wall St Journal excerpt. Like a lot of people, I joined in conversations about parenting styles and whether “eastern” or “western” parenting is better, and how much tiger [...]

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