Open letter from a "tiger dad" to a "tiger
Active Parenting founder and president Dr.
Michael Popkin offers the Active Parenting response to the
"Tiger Mother" controversy. Share your opinion on our
Dear Amy Chua,
I think you meant well in raising your two daughters with
the strictness and discipline of a tiger on steroids, and I know
you must have been shocked by the controversy that your book,
Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has generated. You wanted to maximize
their natural gifts by instilling a strong work ethic, sense
of purpose, and achievement. Your older daughter, Sophia, complied
with your will. The younger, Lulu, a temperamentally more spirited
child, rebelled. So it goes with dictators, even well-meaning
I, too, was born in the Chinese year of the tiger, albeit
a dozen years before your own glorious birth. So, as one tiger
parent to another, let me first say that I appreciate the strength
and purpose with which you approach your parenting role. You
clearly care. I also appreciate your bringing parenting back
into the news spotlight where it belongs. We can all benefit
from a discussion of how strict is strict enough and when does
hard work morph into an unhealthy striving for superiority.
Active Parenting teaches that parenting styles can err in
two directions: by being too hard on kids (dictators, autocratic
style) or by being too soft (doormats, permissive style). We
also teach that both styles bring something positive to the table,
and that the best style is a synthesis of the two (active, authoritative
style). Some parents need to tighten up, while others need to
lighten up. I think that your contribution to parenting is in
getting parents to take a look at both ends of this continuum,
and reevaluate their position. Thank you for this.
I'd like to further this discussion by inviting you and the
parents and educators that read this article to join me on Facebook where we can share our opinions
and learn from each other. After all, isn't that a big part of
what democracy is all about?
President, Active Parenting Publishers
PS. Your daughters sound like great kids. We'd love to hear
from them, too.
To join the Tiger Parent discussion go to: facebook.com/ActiveParentingPublishers
here to order excellent books for authoritative parents!