Monday, July 18, 2011

Tiger Mom vs. Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Our Centre College alumni study group considered Amy Chua's The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. They are, in effect, arguing with each other.

I have given my overall assessment of each book here and here.

Chua is right that her children would not have been great child musicians if she had not pushed them to an extreme degree.

Caplan is right that upper-middle class children with competent, loving homes will not turn out very much differently as adults if they are pushed to achieve early, or not.

On the whole, I think Caplan has the better argument. I am all for helping your children to pursue their passion to get good at it. And everyone, at every age, needs to be held to high standards. But I don't think that pushing children to either be prodigies by sheer effort, or to spend their youth on something that the parents have the passion for, is worth it.

1 comment:

Peter Hoh said...

If you have a bunch of kids, odds are that one is going to be the studious type who ends up being a high achiever. When you only have one or two, you have to force the issue, if your goal is to have a high-achieving child.