Tiger Mom, Amy Chua's Daughter Defends Her

Filed under: In The News

Tiger Mom Amy Chua has been attacked for her uber-strict parenting style. Credit: AP Photo/Larry D. Moore

Writer Amy Chua unleashed a parenting fury after shocking the world with her essay on her Confucian child-rearing practices, which include no sleepovers, playdates or TV.

The essay, excerpted from her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," was printed in the Wall Street Journal and describes an extreme parenting regime that includes drilled academic learning and demands hours of daily music practice.

The Internet erupted in a firestorm of outrage over the piece, in which Chua describes how she belittled one daughter, calling her "garbage," and threatened to withhold food and bathroom breaks from the other if the 7-year-old didn't play the piano perfectly.

The self-proclaimed tiger mother and Yale law professor's e-mail box soon started filling up with furious denunciations and even death threats, according to the network.

But, this morning, Chua's eldest daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, 18, tells the New York Post her side of the story in an open letter, defending her mom's super-strict parenting style.

"Dear Tiger Mom, You've been criticized a lot since you published your memoir, 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.' One problem is that some people don't get your humor," Chua-Rubenfeld writes. "They think you're serious about all this, and they assume Lulu and I are oppressed by our evil mother. That is so not true. Every other Thursday, you take off our chains and let us play math games in the basement.

"But for real, it's not their fault. No outsider can know what our family is really like. They don't hear us cracking up over each other's jokes. They don't see us eating our hamburgers with fried rice. They don't know how much fun we have when the six of us -- dogs included -- squeeze into one bed and argue about what movies to download from Netflix."

Chua-Rubenfeld writes in the Post that having Chua as a mother has been no "tea party."

"But now that I'm 18 and about to leave the tiger den, I'm glad you and Daddy raised me the way you did," she adds.

In reference to the handmade birthday cards her mom ripped up because "they weren't good enough," Chua-Rubenfeld writes: "Maybe if I had poured my heart into it, I would have been upset. But let's face it: The card was feeble, and I was busted. It took me 30 seconds; I didn't even sharpen the pencil. That's why, when you rejected it, I didn't feel you were rejecting me. If I actually tried my best at something, you'd never throw it back in my face."

In the Post letter, Chua-Rubenfeld lists reasons why she supports her mom's parenting, and concludes that strict rules made her more independent.

"If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I've lived my whole life at 110 percent," she writes. "And for that, Tiger Mom, thank you."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.