I loved reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. It is definitely a controversial book, but it is written in an honest and humorous fashion that is appealing and easy to read.
Amy Chua is determined to raise her two daughters in what she considers the stereotypical Chinese style. She points out that you don't have to be Chinese to parent this way. Chinese style parenting is about discipline and focus, preparing your children for the future, instilling excellent work habits and confidence and self-esteem resulting from accomplishment. The Chinese parent stresses accomplishment in academics and extra-curricular activities. This is extreme parenting.
Chua compares her style to Western parenting in which parents nurture their childrens' individuality, allowing them to find their own passions and creating a soft, entitled, untalented child unprepared for life. Western parents believe self-esteem comes first and then accomplishment.
Chua has certainly created some controversy with these extremes. But she learns that there has to be some compromise when her second daughter turns out to be very opinionated and stubborn, creating a collision of wills which, I am happy to say, ends in compromise. Chua shares what she has learned about the rewards and costs of raising children the Chinese way.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is funny, honest, shocking, controversial and a great read. Perhaps somewhere between Western and Chinese parenting we will find the compromise which will lead us to parenting happy children who are ready to face the world when they are grown.