1     



Amy Chua

  • American educator
  • Born October 26, 1962

Amy Lynn Chua (born October 26, 1962) is an American lawyer, academic and writer. Chua graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is the John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her expertise is in international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law. She joined the Yale faculty in 2001 after teaching at Duke Law School for seven years. Prior to starting her teaching career, she was a corporate law associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.


I am definitely a Type A personality, always rushing around, trying to do too much, not good at just lying on the beach. But I'm so thankful for everything I have: wonderfully supportive parents and sisters, the best husband in the world, terrific students I love teaching and hanging out with, and above all, my two amazing daughters.




It may be the optimist in me, but I think America has a uniquely powerful and capacious glue internally. The American identity has always been ethnically and religiously neutral, so within one generation you have Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Jamaican-Americans - they feel American. It's a huge success story.




Instilling a sense of self-discipline and focus when the kids are younger makes it so much easier by the time they get into high school.




In Chinese culture, it wouldn't occur to kids to question or talk back to their parents. In American culture, kids in books, TV shows and movies constantly score points with their snappy back talk. Typically, it's the parents who need to be taught a life lesson - by their children.




A lot of parents today are terrified that something they say to their children might make them 'feel bad.' But, hey, if they've done something wrong, they should feel bad. Kids with a sense of responsibility, not entitlement, who know when to experience gratitude and humility, will be better at navigating the social shoals of college.




When I'm not the Tiger Mom, I'm a professor at Yale Law School, and if one thing is clear to me from years of teaching, it's that there are many ways to produce fabulous kids. I have amazing students; some of them have strict parents, others have lenient parents, and many come from family situations that defy easy description.




You know, I think it's so ironic that we're calling hard work, striving for excellence, don't blame others, you know, don't give up, that we're calling these, quote, 'Chinese values,' 'cause I always thought of them as American values.




For my senior prom, my father finally said I could go - as long as I was home by 9 P.M.! That was around the time that most people were heading out. When I was little I was so mad at them all the time. 'Why can't I do this?' 'Why are there so many rules?' But looking back now, my parents gave me the foundation to have so many choices in life.




There's something suspicious about saying, 'I'm just going to leave my child alone and let her pursue her passions.' You know what? I think most 13-year-olds' passion is sitting in front of the TV, or doing Facebook, or surfing the Internet for hours.




The Romans thought of themselves as the chosen people, yet they built the greatest army on Earth by recruiting warriors from any background.




Some people don't need parental commitment, they will still come out great, but for others, parents can be critical in providing moral and academic guidance.




I think if you're a 'tiger parent' early on, you don't need to be a 'helicopter parent' in high school.




I do think that maybe, even subconsciously, a lot of parents in the West are wondering, have we gone too far in the direction of coddling and protecting - you know, you see kids, sometimes that seem very rude and disrespectful. And the more important thing is they don't seem that happy.




I think the biggest difference is that I've noticed Western parents seem much more concerned about their children's psyches, their self-esteem, whereas tough immigrant parents assume strength rather than fragility in their children and therefore behave completely differently.




My youngest sister, Cindy, has Down syndrome, and I remember my mother spending hours and hours with her, teaching her to tie her shoelaces on her own, drilling multiplication tables with Cindy, practicing piano every day with her. No one expected Cindy to get a Ph.D.! But my mom wanted her to be the best she could be, within her limits.




Tiger parenting is all about raising independent, creative, courageous kids. In America today, there's a dangerous tendency to romanticize creativity in a way that may undermine it.




When I was little, my parents really only wanted me to be a scientist or a doctor; they had never even heard of law school. I think even these days if you were to tell your mother you want to be a fashion designer, or an artist or a writer, a lot of Asian parents would be alarmed because they don't think that's a secure career.




I sort of feel like people are not that honest about their own parenting. Take any teenage household; tell me there is not yelling and conflict.




I say 'I love you' to my daughters every day.




Once you get to the Enlightenment, the way that powers get to be hyperpowers isn't just by conquest. It's through commerce and innovation. Societies like the Dutch Republic and the United States used tolerance to become a magnet for enterprising immigrants.




I'm a proud strict mom and, you know, I'm really proud of the two daughters I've raised. And I'm especially proud of my relationship with them. We're very close. I think we're good friends.




Oddly enough, I'm not a particularly judgmental person. I just don't have a lot of filtering when I'm in 'tiger mother' mode. I say what comes into my head.




Genghis Khan decreed religious tolerance for all of his conquered peoples. So I think he definitely would approve of our constitutional protections of freedom of religion. I think he would also approve of the way the U.S. has been able to attract talented people from all over the world.




I think there are many ways to raise great kids. From what I can tell, Ayelet Waldman's kids are interesting, strong, and happy, and if that's the case, that's good parenting.




When my kids wanted to give up on things, I wouldn't let them, and those are lifelong lessons.




I see my upbringing as a great success story. By disciplining me, my parents inculcated self-discipline. And by restricting my choices as a child, they gave me so many choices in my life as an adult. Because of what they did then, I get to do the work I love now.




I was the one that in a very overconfident immigrant way thought I knew exactly how to raise my kids. My husband was much more typical. He had a lot of anxiety; he didn't think he knew all the right choices. And, I was the one willing to put in the hours.




Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. I tried to find the balance between the strict, traditional Chinese way I was raised, which I think can be too harsh, and what I see as a tendency in the West to be too permissive and indulgent. If I could do it all again, I would, with some adjustments.




I'm a slave to my dogs and go out with them almost every day. They are poorly behaved if they don't run. They really act up.




I saw my parents come over. They were immigrants, they had no money. My dad wore the same pair of shoes, I had some ugly clothes growing up, and I never had any privileges. In some ways, I think the person that I am now, I think it's good that I had that kind of tough upbringing.




What the Chinese parent is conveying to the child is not that 'you've got to get A's or else I won't like you.' On the contrary, it's, 'I believe in you so much, I know that you can be excellent.'




To be honest, I know that a lot of Asian parents are secretly shocked and horrified by many aspects of Western parenting.




Westerners often laud their children as 'talented' or 'gifted', while Asian parents highlight the importance of hard work. And in fact, research performed by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that the way parents offer approval affects the way children perform, even the way they feel about themselves.




I once won a second prize in a history concert. My parents came to the ceremony. Somebody else had won the prize for best all-around student. Afterwards my father said to me, 'Never, ever disgrace me like that again.' When I tell my Western friends, they are aghast. But I adore my father. It didn't knock my self-esteem at all.




I do believe that when your child does poorly on a test, your first step should not necessarily be to attack the teacher or the school's curriculum. It should be to look at the idea that, maybe, the child didn't work hard enough.




The most successful hyperpowers are the ones where there was actual intermixing. Tang dynasty China was China's golden age, and contrary to what I was told when I was growing up, Tang China was founded by a man who by today's standards was no more than half Chinese. It was a mixed-blood dynasty that pulled in 'barbarians' from the steppe.



1