Crouching Tiger Mother, Hidden Justice?

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?… <Read More>

The Affirmative Defense of “Parental Discipline”

I am sure that the idea of this concept seems troubling to most. But, let’s try to think this out rationally and first attempt to conceptualize the competing views without law, common law, or even case law. As my Family Law Professor used to say when evaluating a disputed issue, a case or a law, “Tell me a story.”

Scenario 1:

Good father, hell GREAT father, and a Child acting out. Not just wild, but violent- Hitting, kicking, screaming, being a real terror. Dad tries to reason with the tyke, but it’s not happening. Warning 1- “You cut that out mister (or missy) or you are getting a time out”. Didn’t work. 2- “You stop that or you’re losing TV, Dessert, Games (You name it).” Nothing- it’s getting worse. 3- “If you don’t cut that out you are getting a spank on the tush!” “Ye right, you wouldn’t” the tiny brat replies as he/she continues to terrorize the house like Godzilla loose on Sesame Street.

Scenario 2:

Child cries because her toy was taken away- slap.  

(Spank and Slap have a different effect, don’t they?)

Scenario 3:

Yank on the arm for letting go of the hand.

Scenario 4:

Grab arm when running away on the street.… <Read More>