This article was originally published on Fatherly and reposted with permission.
In 2011, author, lawyer, and Chinese American Amy Chua hit the bestseller list with a cri de cœur-cum-manifesto for overbearing parents titled “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” in which she made the case for stringent, results-focused Chinese parenting. Chua walked right up to the line of calling American parents sentimental wimps (even putting a toe over it in some interviews) and a lot of people took it personally. Chua was pilloried in definitely racist, maybe racist, and personal terms across the internet. But her book sold because the idea of “just do it better” resonated naturally on some level. Chua was telling parents to say a thing they’d kept bottled up. She was telling them not to be warm and fuzzy. For me, this notion was antithetical to every instinct. In my house, we talk about feelings. But, starting a few weeks ago, I was rethinking my resistance. My oldest was struggling with disciplinary issues in first grade and I felt like I was lacking the tools to come down hard. I decided to overcompensate. Chua would be my guide.