Back Off

05.09.13

Death of the Tiger Mom

A study shows that helicopter parenting harms kids.

The first academic study of the sort of authoritarian, demanding parenting that Amy Chua made famous in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been published, and it suggests that such upbringings aren’t great for kids. As Paul Tullis writes in Slate, University of Texas professor Su Yeong Kim followed 300 Asian-American families for a decade, and found that children of parents whom she classified as “tiger” had “lower academic achievement and attainment—and greater psychological maladjustment—and family alienation, than the kids of parents characterized as ‘supportive’ or ‘easygoing.’” Kim’s research contradicts the popular notion that Asian kids excel academically because their parents apply harsh, unrelenting pressure. Instead, she found that parents classified as “supportive”—those who are affectionate, attentive, and less likely to use shame and punishment to control their children—got much better results. “Tiger parenting doesn't produce superior outcomes in kids,” she concludes.