Amy Chua has stirred up considerable controversy with her new memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” in which she recounts her childhood experiences with strict Chinese immigrant parents and her reliance on those parenting skills with her own children. Many commentators have called her rules — no sleepovers, for one — “extreme.”
In an interview with Need to Know’s Alison Stewart, Chua admitted that casting the book as a clash of cultures may have roused passions. “I’m talking about Chinese values versus Western values, and that’s such a hot button issue right now,” Chua said. But she defended her book, saying it was an expression of core American values as much as anything else. “The current model of relatively permissive and coddling parenting,” Chua said, “I think it’s pretty recent.” Of American parents, she added: “A couple generations ago, they actually parented very similar to the way I did.”
Chua also told Stewart that the book is as much about her mistakes as a mother as it is her triumphs.
“In the end, it gets much darker,” Chua said. “It’s about my having to pull back, when my younger daughter rebelled. So it is not a ‘How To’ book. It is a memoir. It’s about my own journey and struggle, and eventual transformation as a mother.”