Study Refutes “Tiger Mom” Parenting

A new study from the University of California Riverside reveals that the strict tiger mom style of parenting may not be superior.

"Tiger moms" be warned: punitive parenting techniques may do more harm than good.

That's a conclusion by a new study that looked at how Chinese parents' strict behaviors influence their childrens' outlook.

"Our research shows that Tiger Mother type of parenting, specifically controlling, punitive, and less supportive type of parenting is really not working in this sample of Chinese adolescents," said Cixin Wang, an assistant professor at UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education. "It also shows that it is important for Chinese parents, who tend to be less emotionally expressive and use less praise in parenting, to show their approval, love and support for their children."

The study, believed to be the first that provides empirical support to this idea, refutes the idea that the traditional, strict "Chinese" upbringing, which gained widespread attention in the 2011 book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua, is superior, according to a UC Riverside press release.

For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 600 Chinese middle and high school students. They asked about their perceptions of the behavior of their mothers and fathers, as well as their self-esteem, school adjustment, depression and problem behavior, the authors said.

Chinese parents use "psychological control" to influence their children -- the stricter, the better, Wang said.

Wang, who was raised in China, recalled her mother questioning why she only got a 99 percent on a first grade assignment as opposed to a perfect score.

Cultural differences explain why Chinese parents rarely show emotion.

"Chinese parents do not want their kids to become arrogant," Wang said in an interview.

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