Paper on The Best of Both Worlds: The Roar of the Tiger Mum


Parenting styles differ from one parent to the other and among cultures. An approach considered effective in one scenario may not have the same similar implications in another. As such,  parenting styles should be defined by the circumstances under which decisions are made and the cultural expectations of the place where the parenting takes place (Hunt, 2013). In “the Roar of the Tiger Mum,” various arguments are made for and against the tiger mum perception and its ability to drive children towards success. The main reason children succeed in the Chinese context is that their culture supports the ‘tiger mum’ concept of parenting. The children have gotten used to the social constructions in the society thus know what to expect as per their culture. On the contrary, Western children are considered somehow pampered due to lack of strict parenting relative to the Chinese parenting style. Although each of these two positions has pros and cons, neither of them is fully reflective of perfect parenting. A combination of Western and the tiger mom parenting methods is necessary for optimum growth and well-being of a child. The choice of the method of application is specific to an individual as well as to the context under consideration.

The Tiger- Western Mum

One of the distinctions between a western and tiger mum as explained by Chua (2011) is that while the latter wants her child to be the best, the former desires the child to be the best they can be. Therefore, the tiger mum derives optimum utilization of their child while the western one leaves room for a child to slack. With sufficient freedom to decide what one wants to do, it can be difficult to determine whether a child is exerting the maximum effort in a certain activity. At the same time, pushing the child to achieve the best without regard for his or her potential can hinder the child from gaining optimum pleasure from the activity in which he or she is engaged. As much as it is critical to perform excellently, efforts should be made to ensure that children are not pushed to achieve what is not possible for their age and ability. The level of competence in different activities differs from one person to another, and at times, such a disparity arises due to genetic predispositions (Hunt, 2013). Requiring one to achieve beyond what he or she can is tantamount to subjecting the individual to duress. Accordingly, the optimum parenting style is the one that not only considers the capacity of a child but also pushes him or her to perform well, which be accomplished through different strategies, the key of which is understanding the child’s desires.

The tiger mum parenting style, which does not consider children’s interests while pushing them to perform, is limited in its capacity to initiate well-meant progress of the children. For instance, the tiger mum has an in-built perception that academic performance should be mandatory for all their children and anything less than an A is inexcusable (Chua, 2011). The mentioned point of view has no room for the personality differences among children and has the potential of limiting interactions between children. Consequently, children brought up by such mothers are likely to be more concerned about their academic grades, than how those grades impact their future lives. In contrast, the Western parents give their children the impression that as much as they are expected to go to school, being educated does not mean having the best grades in all subjects (Chua, 2011). Such mums’ perception is also a bit skewed in that as much as children should not be pushed to over-focus on their academic performance, they must be allowed to explore other aspects of their lives. Having a combination outlook to parenting would help a parent to convince a child that education is important without pushing him or her to make it the core purpose of his or her life. Additionally, the parent understands that the child is a holistic being thus capable of attaining education and pursuing other talents of their choice (Rothrauff, Cooney & An, 2009). However, the Western mum has to demand excellence from the children without making them feel confined.

A good mum ought to understand that the parent and child are different beings thus their interests vary. While the tiger mum may encourage participation in extracurricular activities, she does so without considering the opinions of the child about what he or she is expected to do (Chua, 2011). Children too have passions and desires, some of which may be quite distinct from what their parents want for them.  The Western mum allows children to select extracurricular activities based on the child’s interests, an endeavor aimed at ensuring that children enjoy their activities and subsequently are happy. Such a parenting approach shows not only parents’ concern about their children’s well-being, but also their intention to continuously allow the children to make personal decisions (Hunt, 2013). In every activity that such children take part in, however, there is a need for some level of control of engagement until they understand how to balance between what they do by compulsion and what they do out of the will.

Comprehending a child’s needs and competencies can help a parent to monitor his or her progress and develop his or her capacities effectively. A tiger mum acts as a cloak that covers and chokes their child through the compulsive parenting style. Childhood memories ought to be bright and fun, even therapeutic. However, the tiger mum’s style of parenting is more likely to create children that are fearful, conceptually enslaved, and potentially sad as evidenced by the assertion that ‘playing the violin took one to an era of dark memories (Chua, 2011).’ The Western mum, on the other hand, gives their child the freedom to choose and to associate with others. In this way, the child becomes more productive in that they are better capable of voicing their opinions, making independent choices, and generally enjoying their lives. With a little bit of control, Western parenting results in children that are not only free but also responsible and disciplined in their activities, children who enjoy their freedom without the guilt of consequences or need for constant supervision.


That the western mum has greater potential for developing productive and happy children is undoubted. However, this potential can only be optimized if such parents are willing to push their child a little beyond their comfort zone for better performance. Borrowing various aspects of the tiger mum can help to achieve the mentioned objective, especially when the parent in question is a single mum. In this case, the mum would help their children develop not only into responsible adults but also ones that are more open to airing their opinions, more willing to do things they like and enjoy and subsequently happier children.



Chua, A. (2011). Battle hymn of the tiger mother. The Penguin Press.

Hunt, J.C. (2013). Associations between different parenting styles and child behavior. PCOM Psychology Dissertations, Paper 262. Retrieved from

Rothrauff, T.C., Cooney, T.S.  & An, J.M. (2009). Remembered parenting styles and adjustment in middle and late adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64B(1), 137- 146. Retrieved from