Crouching Tiger Mother, Hidden Justice?

The best way to save our kids?

Is Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua the answer to our overpopulated juvenile justice system?

In a recent hotly discussed article for The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Chua touts the ability of Asian mothers to raise “stereotypically successful” children. She believes mothers who demand excellence from their children in all aspects of their lives are more likely to get it than those who simply request it. Ms. Chua has raised two daughters using this philosophy–daughters who were never allowed to attend a sleepover, have a play-date, watch TV, play anything but the piano or violin, or get any grade lower than an A in any class (except, of course, gym and drama).

Needless to say, Ms. Chua’s daughters have never been charged with a crime. But Ms. Chua’s philosophy raises the question: what would our juvenile justice system look like if more parents were Tiger Moms/Dads?

When we hear about the latest juvenile crime story, the thought that almost always comes to mind is: “Where are the parents?” Well…what if the parents were always involved in every single aspect of their child’s life, like Ms. Chua was? Former Manhattan Youth Part Judge Michael Corriero has said in class that children are so easily influenced by the actions of their peers because they are usually judged by the company they keep. If the parents were the child’s friends, however, or if the parents essentially forbid their child from having too much contact with their friends (like Ms. Chua did to hers), then this fear of letting children mix with the wrong crowd would be alleviated, wouldn’t it?

But one could also argue that such restrictive and rigid supervision would actually have the opposite effect by causing children to become more rebellious against authoritative figures. And, if the definition of child abuse is changing as we know it, then perhaps one day certain methods of harsh discipline may actually become illegal.