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News & Press: Northern California News

[NorCal & The Commonwealth Club Present] Amy Chua: Tale of a Tiger Mother - A Smashing Success!

Friday, January 13, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jocelyn Leung
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Ascend and The Commonwealth Club of California Present
Amy Chua: Tale of a Tiger Mother - A SMASHING SUCCESS!

The Event began with a nice Cocktail hour serving wine. The Commonwealth Club is a great place with a lot of history -- for example, Shirley Temple Black is a prior President for this group. People were excited to see Amy Chua speak; the audience filled up the main room quickly and additional people ended up standing in the back. The Commonwealth Club partnered with Ascend to present this event.

Amy began by expressing how she believes many have misunderstood her as a result of writing "Tiger Mother." She began writing this book as a sort of therapy after her youngest daughter Lulu and her got into a big fight at the Red Square in Moscow. It took her just a few months to write about 2/3 of the book because everything came out so easily. Many parts of the book were meant to be humorous and even sarcastic -- although she realizes that others have interpreted it differently.

Amy was raised by "Tiger Parents" in Indiana. She reflected how their strict parenting was out of love, and she would never talk back to them. When it came time for Amy to be a parent, she also raised her first daughter Sophia in a strict manner. Sophia was well behaved and Amy didn't understand why other parents thought parenting was so difficult. Then came her youngest daughter Lulu. Lulu in many was has a similar personality to Amy, which led to confrontations. Lulu was not afraid to talk back to her Mom, and Amy realized that her parenting techniques that worked on Sophia would not work on Lulu.

Writing the book became a bonding experience for Amy, her husband Jed, and their daughters Sophia and Lulu. Amy stressed that she believes there are many ways to successfully raise children, and the "Tiger Way" is merely one method. She is learning how to adapt her parenting techniques as she continues to raise Lulu, who is now 15 years old. Whereas Sophia never had sleepovers, learned to play the piano, concentrated on grades, etc. -- Lulu has had a few sleepovers at the house, quit playing violin, is now playing tennis, and balances school with her social life.

In the Q&A session, Amy expressed how parenting must be done with love. Her parents were strict, yes, but they let her know that they love her. This has had a resounding impact on Amy's life. Although Amy enjoys the mini-celebrity that has come with this book, she stated that her next book will be more academic. After the Q&A, Amy took photos and signed books -- and was very kind to stay late so that all people in line got to meet her.

Participants' Feedback

On Amy Chua’s parenting methods:
"I admire her for being honest. I think that everything she did… was for [her daughters’] benefit.” "Her methods are very similar to German philosophies.”
Mr. and Mrs. Horst Wend

On her novel, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, being interpreted as a parenting guide:
"It is a little more literary than a "how to”. And it’s really not a "how to”; it’s really more of a "how not to”… In some aspects, the high standards are to push people to do their best. If you don’t do your best and don’t succeed, you’re short-changing yourself.”
– Mike King

Amy Chua speaking at The Commonwealth Club.

Amy shared her struggles and aspirations as a parent, as well as what it really means to be a tiger mother with Anna Mok (right). Anna is one of the founders of Ascend and interviewer/moderator of that night's event.

After the event, Amy autographed her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, for participants.

Many stayed after the event to get their books autographed.

Author: Chris Li
Photographer: Monica Shih

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