Amy Chua's new book, " Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ," has provoked a strong reaction from parents around the country.
In the book, the Yale professor describes her parenting style, an apparent combination of humiliation and intense regimen -- her children aren't allowed to have sleepovers or play dates, but they are required to practice piano and violin for long grueling hours.
And if the birthday cards they make her are a bit amateurish? Chua makes her children try again.
"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it," she writes.
Critics have called Chua an unfair taskmaster, while defenders suggest most American children are coddled.
But what is a 'Tiger Mom'? You might be one if...
- Your children have a strict regimen of studying and rote practice after school
- You insist your child be at the top of every class but drama and P.E.
- Your children don't "waste" their time watching TV or playing video games, or participating in school plays
- Sleepovers and play dates are also considered a waste of time
- The piano or violin are a big part of your child's "free" time
- Your child "studies" to get into kindergarten
- Second and third languages are learned
- You had your child make a new birthday card when the one she gave you wasn't "good enough"
- Your child isn't allowed to complain about ANYTHING
- You're not worried about your child's psyche
Why all this controversy over parenting? Is Amy Chua's version of motherhood the right one? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, consider the topic.
BEN BOYCHUK, Perspective:
Amy Chua's parenting style isn't for everyone. It certainly isn't for me. That's not to say I don't hold my children to high standards, or that I don't expect them to do well in school. Like millions of American parents, I spend hours and hours every week helping my son with his third-grade homework, or reading to my toddler daughter.
Chua's goal for her kids is nothing less than excellence. So is mine.
So it is for millions of American moms and dads as well. But there are many different paths to excellence, and a single route might not work for everyone.
What's true for parenting is also true for education policy. Americans have been arguing about education reform for nearly 40 years now.
President Obama is expected to make education a central theme of his state of the union address on Tuesday. New governors around the United States are taking up education reform as a way to help bridge yawning state budget deficits.
Over the past decade, since Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, the trend in education policy has been to place more and more authority in the hands of federal bureaucrats. Obama's signature education initiative, Race to the Top, was sold as a competition to encourage states to pass innovative reforms. In reality, as "winners" of the Race are now discovering, it's just another spool of red tape.
Now state and federal officials are pushing national curriculum standards. About 43 states have signed on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, with the goal of developing one set of standards for every American kid to meet.
The problem with national standards is the same problem Amy Chua encountered with her own children. One-size-fits-all, top-down mandates don't work. That's the truth about the Tiger Mom.
Click "next" to read the second perspective