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'Tiger Mother' author on child rearing, her immigrant parents, and why raising her kids as she was 'just did not work out the same way'

Photo by Laurie Pink/Flickr (Creative Commons)

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" author Amy Chua joined AirTalk's Larry Mantle on KPCC today to discuss the controversy that has arisen surrounding her newly-published memoir, especially after an excerpted essay ran in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month with her description of some extremely tough love used in raising her two daughters.

In his introduction, Mantle said he'd seen the book as "tongue-in-cheek exaggeration" rather than as a manifesto of how to raise a child without play dates, sleepovers or other small pleasures of Western childhood. Chua, a Yale law professor, said the book "is intended to be just full of deadpan humor. It is self-mocking." The book was written after her youngest daughter, fed up with her overly strict mother, finally rebelled and Chua learned to soften her approach.

"I was raised myself by extremely strict but also extremeley loving Chinese immigrant parents," said Chua, who was born in the United States. "I tried to do the same thing with my own two daughters, and boy, it just did not work out the same way."

A female caller who described herself as Latina sympathized with Chua's no-sleepovers rule, saying these were also forbidden in her family, and the idea still doesn't sit right with her when her children suggest it; others, including some of those posting comments on the website, objected heartily to the methods Chua described even if in self-mockery, including a man who wrote in to the show to say that a friend raised similarly had ultimately killed himself.

The audio from the interview can be found here.