In Defense of Western Moms

In response to a Chinese mother's strict parenting advice, one Western mom explains the virtues of letting kids quit, having sleepovers and finding their own way.

In the days since this newspaper published Amy Chua's simultaneously entertaining and infuriating excerpt from her new book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," my two elder children, 16 and 13, have devoted a remarkable amount of time to raging against the essay. Were I crafting my own bombastic and compelling rebuttal to Ms. Chua, I might point out, as others have, that Asian-American girls aged 15 to 24 have above average rates of suicide. I might question the hubris of taking credit for success that is as likely to have resulted from the genetic blessings of musicality and intellect as from the "Chinese" child-rearing techniques of shrieking and name calling.

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