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When Tiger Parenting is Really Necessary

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics



What do we understand by the term tiger-parenting and where did this term originate from? How is it related to children’s behavior? Well, tiger-parenting is essentially a form of strict parenting approach which was rampart in Asian countries, but is now adopted in various parts of the world. This parenting style employs harsh tactics such as force, fear, shame while also prioritizing on familial ties. While the negative effects of this parenting style have been widely studied discussed, the positive effects have been little explored. However, recent studies have confirmed that if used effectively, tiger parenting can nurture a positive outcome on children’s behavior and performance.


What you should know about tiger-parenting

The premise around tiger parenting is actually the focus of a parent or parents in ensuring that their children become the best and achieve the goals set for them (Chua, 2011). For example, a parent wishing her or his child to become a doctor may do everything necessary and take all possible measures to ensure that the goal is achieved, whether the child likes it or not. The said parent may employ a strict study program for the child, regulate leisure activities or monitor the time spent in studying and doing exercises to improve better performance (Santrock, 2008).

The exact logic behind tiger-parenting is that utilization of a strict approach in parenting instigates or propels a child to achieve high performance in such areas as academic, sports, talents or later practical life and professional success in their own life. In other words, some force need to be used in order for a child to learn and embrace something new which will later become permanent in his/her life.

The relationship between tiger-parenting and children’s performance?

Can a strict form of parenting style really nurture positive behavior among children? You may ask. Well, according to Juang, Qin, and Park (2013), children reared through tiger parenting may develop psychological issues such as personality disorders, anxiety, depression or even poor social skills. However, according to studies, this is culturally depended and not all children that are brought up with this type develop these issues. In other words, the psychological disorders are not automatic.

On the other hand, evidence is rife that tiger parenting can make children more responsible, productive and motivated. Generally, it is agreeable that there is no parent who does not want the best from his or her child whether to succeed in academic, be employed in a good paying job, succeed in life and even be in a position to support the family. In this regard, tiger parenting will therefore inculcate hard working behavior among child while also teaching them that they are not supposed to quit until they reach a level they want to be.

As exemplified by Amy Chua, the pioneering proponent of tiger parenting, the approach if used correctly lead to a positive outcome in terms of ensuring that children will turn out being successful in their later life. As depicted in Amy Chua’s book, Chuas approach of no play-dates, striving to be on top of the academic ladder through hard-work and depriving the children TV or play ended up making her girls straight A. The girls also become widely talented despite the fact that they initially did not have an interest in music. It is also interesting to note that the girls finally went to Harvard University and eventually got lucrative jobs.

This basically suggests that we can use a strict approach to shape the live of our children positively and progressively. However, I am not saying that we go to the extent of Amy Achua by denying kids to watch TV or play with their friends, what I am advocating for is setting strict timelines for learning, imparting the desired skills/knowledge and values even if it means used a substantial level of force to make them understand and restricting their behavior. The trouble with today’s parents and especially those from the Western world is that they let children loose and give them the kind of autonomy that makes them less adventurous or enthusiastic in gaining new skills. Indeed, there are many people in different parts of the world who never knew that they would become of what they are today until they were made to learn the trade by force or circumstances.

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This analysis showcases that the idea of tiger-parenting should not be dismissed as a poor or less effective method of parenting. Rather, it needs to be reevaluated, taking into account the pros and positive outcomes of the approach by those applying it. For instance, in Asian countries, it is common to see young children who have already become doctors, engineers, pilots, mechanics, drivers, artists, instrumentalists, sportsmen and men among others before even graduating from colleges. What this shows is that with appropriate guidance, it is possible to set a goal for your child or children and achieve it. The Chinese seems to embrace the idea of anybody can become anything if trained. The key point here is training to make someone achieve a skill/knowledge. Since the learning abilities of people are different, different levels of force need to be used to achieve this. Therefore, it is justifiable for parents to become strict in an endeavor to ensure that their children excel in the current day’s competitive global economy.


Chua, A. (2011). Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 8 Jan.

Chua, A. (2011). Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Penguin Press Hard Cover. ISBN978-1-59420-284-1.

Deater, D (2013). Tiger Parents, Other Parents. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 4(1) 76-78, 2013.

Juang, L.P., Qin, D.B., and Park, I. (2013). Deconstructing the Myth of the Tiger Mother. “Special Issue on Tiger Parenting”, American Journal of Psychology, 4(1), 1-6. 2013.

Kim, S., Wang, Y., Orozco-Lapray, D., Shen, Y., & Murtuza, M. (2013). Does “tiger parenting” exist? Parenting profiles of Chinese Americans and adolescent developmental outcomes. Asian American Journal of Psychology , 4(1), 7-18. doi:10.1037/

Liu, G. (2013). Why tiger moms are great. Retrieved from Santrock, J. (2008). A topical approach to life-span development, New York: McGraw-Hill. 2008

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