The Tiger Mom Roars Again

The Harvard admissions committee has spoken.  Amy Chua is “old school” and her daughters appear to be thriving.  Has her story nudged any readers to raise their game and spend more time monitoring their kids and engaging in “tough love”?  How will a sociologist conduct such an event study to test this claim?   Will any parents who were revolted by Professor Chua’s story respond by engaging in less “tough love”?  Such defiance is always interesting.   

Now, Professor Chua could be a pinch tougher on herself.  Here  is her citation count.   One of Cass Sunstein’s papers   generates more cites than all of her papers alone.   I apologize for pointing this out but  I am also “old school”.

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

7 thoughts on “The Tiger Mom Roars Again”

  1. I made my way into Harvard the old-fashioned way too.
    I inherited it.

    And yes there was probably 10,000 better qualified 4.0+ students with all sort of community blah blah bling in their portfolios and Tiger Moms pushing their envelopes to the max.
    But despite their years of hard work, I got in.

    Fair is fair.
    How is that for tough love?

  2. I don’t mean to take things afield on the first post, but I’ve been thinking about defiance a bit lately. As a teacher of generally defiant students, I essentially go with the “catch more flies with honey” doctrine. It seems to work pretty well for me. However I probably put up with things from my students that would make many blush. Yet I recently had an interesting discussion with a colleague who takes the opposite approach – they get few chances and then “they’re outta there”. We discussed who in the end may be getting more out of their students.

    Of course, what complicates the process of teaching – or parenting, for that matter, is personality and temperament. I think my colleague and myself are basically doing what comes naturally to us, and were either of us to try and behave as the other, we would probably fail. Or, it would at least feel very unnatural. On the other end of things, our particular “styles” likely produce different results with different children. I know for a fact that many of her former students behave quite well for me. And likely many of my students could use her more dictatorial approach.

    I’ve thought about trying to find a way to quantify and assess the efficacy of our distinct approaches, but there are numerous difficulties. I might at some future data find a way to design an effective model, one that captures what is going on.

  3. Wait, is 500+ citations for a recent book bad in the polysci world? I do English lit, so I don’t know these things. (For example, Abrams’ “Natural Supernaturalism” (1973), one of the most important literary critical works of the century, looks to have between 580-900 citations on Google. Kermode’s “The Sense of an Ending,” about 900. Bloom’s “Anxiety of Influence” has around 1700 or so. Derrida’s “Of Grammatology” seems to win, I think, with 4555.)

  4. You know what’s weird? She admitted in Time Magazine she exaggerated her stories in the book. No one took this to be as big of a deal as I did (well, no one I know or read).

  5. There are some fields where reality is considered optional – law and economics come to mind. IIRC, John Yoo’s tenure at Berkeley was opposed by a number of history professors, because he had a relity-optional view of history, which was defended by the Dean of that law school. Harvard has Alan Dershowitz, who seems also to regard US and international law on torture as not applying to ‘us’ (I believe that he’s admitted to sitting in on torture sessions in Israel; the normal term for ‘sitting in on torture sessions’ is ‘participating’).

    Economics would have too many examples to enumerate.

  6. Does anyone who has paid any attention to how college admissions work believe that aggressive parental intervention cannot improve a child’s chances of admission to a selective college? I suspect people’s issues with Amy Chua’s parenting style aren’t based upon her hurting her kids’ chances of getting into Harvard.

  7. I guess we should all look to Cass Sunstein for child-rearing advice. Or something. What was this post about?

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