The Hybrid Tiger: Secrets of the Extraordinary Success of Asian-American Kids
There’s no shortage of books on the topic of parenting. And there’s probably an equal amount challenging many of these books’ central theses. The most controversial in recent years has been Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
In The Hybrid Tiger, Professor Quanyu Huang attempted to counter some, not all, of Chua’s aggressive parenting advice. Deeming much of Tiger Mom’s counsel as “harsh” and “out of date,” Huang contended that most Chinese-American families do not heap such overt criticism upon their children. However, he does believe that American (non-Asian) parents need to be more proactive when it comes to the academics of their offspring.
When the author brought his family from China, he was shocked to discover his son’s peers’ inadequate study habits. Worse, their parents’ indifference. The majority, he observed, did not push their children enough and, in many cases, weren’t even involved. When it came to extracurricular activities (e.g., soccer and cheerleading), though, he noticed parents were more than willing to actively support their children.
Although Huang made several keen observations that American parents should consider, his book reads like a series of academic articles meshed with personal reflections rather than a flowing narrative. The information is interesting, but its delivery lacks cohesion. It’s unfortunate. Hybrid Tiger is the type of book that could have had the positive impact that Amy Chua’s intended to have, but neither will change many parental minds.