Posts Tagged ‘ Tiger Mom ’

‘Tiger Mom Effect’ Is Real, Study Finds

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A large study of the parenting styles of Asian Americans has found that the “tiger mom” phenomenon, in which mothers infamously hold their children to high standards and enforce rigorous discipline, is real, and has a whole host of explanations.  Time.com has more:

The dangerous thing about stereotypes is that they’re often built on a kernel, however small, of truth. And the ones about Asian-Americans aren’t any different – so the latest research appearing in the journal PNAS attempts to get to bottom of the stereotype of Asian-American academic prowess. Are tiger moms — so-called for their hyper-disciplining parenting and their laser-like focus on achievement and performance — to thank? Deeper financial pockets that can fund tutors and summer school? Or are Asian Americans just smarter than white kids?

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So I was intrigued by how Amy Hsin and Yu Xie attempted to explain the academic advantage of Asian-Americans over whites. Hsin, from Queens College at the City University of New York, and Xie, from the University of Michigan, quickly found that higher socio-economic status and greater intellect didn’t contribute as much as some researchers have thought to the grade gap. Even recent immigrants who didn’t have much in the way of financial or social support still tended to do better in school than non-Asian students born and raised in the U.S. And from kindergarten throughout high school, Asian-American students score about the same as whites on standardized tests.

That leaves the work ethic, which Hsin and Xie found accounted for almost all of the grade gap between Asian-American and white students. And that was driven by two factors, both of which have more to do with social and cultural factors than racial ones. Among the more than 5200 Asian-American and white students from two large datasets that followed them from kindergarten into high school, Asian-American students were able to take advantage of social support systems that helped to translate their effort into success. In their communities, families are surrounded by ways to enhance education – from word-of-mouth advice about the best school districts to resources like books, videos and websites, to cram schools for after-school classes. “The Tiger Mom argument neglects these social resources and forces that sustain and reinforce the work ethic,” says Hsin.

In other words, it takes a village. It also takes a culture that may have less to do with race specifically, and more to do with broader social factors such as immigration.“ Asian-American youth are more likely to attribute intellect and academic success to effort rather than innate ability,” she says. That’s a natural outgrowth of the belief that success – in school, in work, and in life — is a meritocratic commodity; the more you put in, the more you get out. When quizzed about whether they thought math skills were innate or learned, most of the white students believed it was a skill you were born with while the Asian-Americans were more likely to think it was learned, and acquired with effort.

What is your parenting style? Take our quiz to find out!

Parenting Style: Authoritarian Parenting
Parenting Style: Authoritarian Parenting
Parenting Style: Authoritarian Parenting

Image: Asian mom and daughter, via Shutterstock

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The 7 Most Controversial Parenting News Stories of 2011

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Parents.com has named the 7 parenting news stories that were the most discussed, debated, and controversial this past year.  Written by your very own intrepid parenting news blogger (ie me!), the feature details the main thrust of each story, why it was controversial, and how it affected your lives as parents and families.

Click to read the entire feature, The 7 Parenting Controversies that Changed the Way We Raised Our Kids in 2011.  To get you started, below is the most controversial story, the “Tiger Mom” debate that erupted early this year and is still on the minds of many parents:

“Tiger Mother” Calls Parental Expectations into Question

What happened: Amy Chua, mother of two and author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” started a debate about how much pressure parents should put on their children to succeed. Her book, which was excerpted in January in the Wall Street Journal, attempt to explain why Chinese children are stereotypically such high achievers in math, music, and more. Chua’s description of strict discipline and unyielding standards sparked fierce debate over whether American parenting culture is too permissive. “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it,” Chua wrote, “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.”

Why it’s controversial: The debate was fierce in the media and in moms’ groups across the country. Some said Chua was a “mean mom” whose sky-high expectations were unhealthy and damaging to her children, who could never hope to please her. Others countered that Chua’s technique was a refreshing change of pace from the self-esteem-first, “everybody’s a winner” paradigm of modern American parenting.

How it impacted your life: The “Tiger Mother” discussions — in the media and at playgrounds alike — opened the door to self-reflection over where your parenting style falls on the “Tiger” spectrum. For some of you, Chua’s argument was permission to be “harder” on your kids without feeling like you’re scarring them for life. For others, Chua’s perspective only increased your commitment to giving your kids a broad definition of “success.”

More controversial parenting stories of 2011

Image: Woman reading newspaper, via Shutterstock.

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