The Tiger Mum in You

Could it be that inside every Cantab roars a proud Tiger Mother?

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Imagine having a mother who, from as far back as you can remember, drilled you towards perfection. Every waking hour, she’s there – an overbearing, unrelenting, unforgiving presence, constantly pushing you towards academic success. No room for friends, no room for fun, only room to improve. As horrible as this may sound, the truth is that it’s horribly familiar.

Meet Amy Chua, a self-proclaimed ‘Tiger Mum’. Chua has provoked controversy over the past year after publishing a book explaining and discussing the gruelling parenting methods she has adopted in order to push her children to the limit. Much of the Western media was in uproar over Chua’s apparently unloving and vindictive approach to parenting. But Chua’s attitudes are not as foreign as we like to think.


Amy Chua: Pushing for perfection – just like us.

Imagine yourself several years from now. It’s likely you’ve got some rather ambitious career plans. Given the increasing levels of competition in the job market, this means you’re going to have to work hard. Very hard. You’ll spend extra time in the office to impress the boss. You’ll spend less time socialising with friends. You may even delay marriage and children – all in your attempt to ascend the slippery steps of the job ladder.

Chua’s values – ambition, hard work, and sacrifice – are those which many of us must take on board when we enter the job market. At present, the British population is working record-breaking amounts of overtime. Given the current economic climate this can partly be explained by fears of redundancy, but it is also telling of an emerging culture in which a higher number of educated individuals are willing to compete for their chance at a career.

Whether this shared attitude is something to be celebrated or shunned is another debate entirely. What is significant however is that Chua’s mindset is not as “foreign” as we may think. If you don’t approve of Chua’s parenting methods, you may want to ask yourself whether you might be in conflict with your own five year plan.