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Entries in Ayelet Waldman (1)

Monday
Jan172011

Strict Parenting Style Leads to Death Threats for Amy Chua

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Amy Chua calls herself a "Tiger Mother" because of her strict parenting methods that didn't allow for play dates, sleepovers or choice in extra-curricular activities for her two daughters.

But her essay in the Wall Street Journal has made her one of the most talked-about -- and criticized mothers -- in the blogosphere.

On January 8, the newspaper published excerpts of her book in an article titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The Internet erupted in a firestorm of outrage over the piece, in which she described how she belittled one daughter -- calling her "garbage," and threatened to withhold food and bathroom breaks from the other if the seven-year-old didn't play the piano perfectly.

The outrage is so intense that Chua has even gotten death threats, according to reports.

Speaking with ABC News on Sunday, Chua reiterated that her book was not a how-to guide to parenting, but a memoir on her experience as a parent.

"My book is a memoir, not a parenting book! I think there are many ways to raise great kids," Chua said.

The controversy over Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, heated up further on Saturday when Ayelet Waldman, a Jewish author and mother, responded with her essay, entitled In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom.

Waldman's essay humorously outlines differences between what she sees as the lackadaisical approach taken by western mothers and the strict regimen Chinese mothers use on their children that Chua discusses.

The first Wall Street Journal piece, which took excerpts from Chua's parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, ignited a heated debate across the Internet, with critics claiming that the book advocates abusive parenting, while others asserted that it would lead to xenophobia and feed China haters.

Aided by the controversy, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reached the number six slot in the Amazon sales rankings on Tuesday, the day it was released.

In her response to Chua's piece, Waldman, author of The Mommy-Track Mysteries series of novels and the wife of best-selling novelist Michael Chabon, jokingly tells of allowing her children to quit the piano and the violin to spare her from attending boring recitals while letting them sleep over at their friend's houses to save money on babysitters. 

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