What drives a parent to force her kids to practice piano or study for hours on end? For many immigrants, it’s not so much blind ambition to climb the social ladder… but to merely gain a foothold in a new country. This spring, I’ve been reading a lot of Asian American literature: Lac Su’s I Love Yous Are for White People, Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation, and Erin khue Ninh’s Ingratitude. I have to admit, there are some common themes — the pressure and tangible rewards of academic success, the fraught parent-child relationships
Over and over, my thoughts kept going back to Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. But while Chua’s story has gained the lion’s share of the media spotlight, most of these stories are not played out in elite Ivy League communities. They are the stories that come out of first-generation Asian American communities such as Monterey Park, the Bronx, Silicon Valley.
You can check out my piece on the socio-economic factors behind tiger parenting at the new online magazine, Talking Writing, with Editor-in-Chief, journalist and Harvard University Extension instructor, Martha Nichols.