Strict parenting not all that bad

Mother and author Amy Chua may have a book on the best-seller list, but her over-the-top parenting style is what has grabbed headlines. Chua’s memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” recounts her experiences in strict parenting. Her tactics may make her closer to dictator than doting mom, but the book raises the question: Does controlling parenting yield better results?

Yes, Chua’s methods border on insanity. From forcing her child to practice a piano piece non-stop without water for hours, to calling her child “garbage,” Chua’s standards teeter on the brink of absurdity. However, I believe the idea behind the madness has merit. Setting high expectations for individuals brings about the best results.

Chua’s method of achieving greatness from her children is backed with experience. She is a professor at Yale Law School and was raised the same way by her parents. She believes her expectations of excellence will lead to perfection, which will lead to satisfaction, creating a cycle. In essence, behind Chua’s requests for only A’s and piano perfection lies the concept of setting expectations.

As a college student I can relate this idea to many aspects of my life. Most undergraduates have had experiences with team projects and group members who do less than their fair share. Taking a cue from Chua’s method of excellence could better a team project. Setting high expectations for each member and following through with them would develop a sense of accountability.

In a personal example, I have noticed my strength as a resident adviser has increased due to a method similar to Chua’s. By setting high expectations for my residents, they have goals to achieve within our community. This in turn creates fewer disciplinary issues and more community involvement, which raises positivity among my residents.

I can attest that high expectations from my own parents have led to my success academically and elsewhere. Though my parents were not as extreme as Chua, the expectation of at least a 3.5 GPA led to a GPA that surpassed their goal for me. The high expectations they set for my college applications led to my education at a quality university. My parents set high expectations because they knew I could attain them. Working hard to achieve goals creates discipline and perseverance.

Chua may be scrutinized as an overbearing mother, but her ideas aren’t that out of line. Setting expectations to control the quality of a group can be effective in areas other than parenting. Being a tiger mother may not be so bad after all.

Gina Dolski can be reached at

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