Battle Hymn of the Lion Mother

Yale Professor, Amy Chua’s new book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ has caused some serious controversy amongst parents in the US and probably in Europe too. It’s basically reignited a debate that’s always been going on. That is the ‘Strict versus soft parenting’ one. She just provided a new dimension to it. Her book is mainly talking about a specific style of parenting which might be seen as harsh within the Western parenting context.

Parents using this style don’t subscribe to the ‘Everybody’s a winner’ or ‘there are no losers’ mantra sweeping schools and parenting methods in the West. This type of approach doesn’t praise children just for the sake of it just so their egos aren’t hurt. This parenting style expects results from children and puts them under pressure to perform and deliver.  

Since Mrs Chua uses the term ‘Tiger Mother’ to describe the Chinese or Asian mom, I would like to introduce the ‘Lion Mother’ term to describe the African mom. Mrs Chua admits herself that she uses the Chinese mother tag loosely and that the parenting style can be used by many races and cultures. With that in mind I know for a fact that the Lion Mother can give the Tiger Mother a run for her money when it comes to strict no nonsense parenting. Trust me on that.

I don’t know what the reasons are for the difference in parenting styles. I’m guessing that it’s because areas in the world such as Asia, Africa, Latin America are no nonsense places where the living environment for the average citizen is tougher than for those in the US and Europe. Children have to be brought up to survive in these conditions.

I’m not sure which style works and I know it’s dependant on many variables. That also impacts how we portray the ‘Mama Mama’ character in the Bino and Fino cartoon. Even though she’s technically Bino and Fino’s grandmother, how strict do we make her?

All I can say is that I was brought up under the Lion Mother method. And I’m glad was as it has helped give me a strong foundation to deal with real world issues. It’s not as tough as it might look when you know the Lion Mother has your best interest at heart and loves you. After all, life is hard and the world can be a cold place.

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A new black cartoon made in Africa for kids all over the world.
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9 Responses to Battle Hymn of the Lion Mother

  1. kloppenmum says:

    My perception of mothers from the countries of which you speak, is that they are also emotionally available to their babies and toddlers – night and day, often wear their children and bedshare – those behaviours would give the kids a strong sense of self in the first instance. Discipline is great, and I believe you that Lion Mums are strict and no-nonsense, but, I believe, it is only great when children have this firm base in the first place. Then you end up with fabulous people rather than great performers.

    • evcl says:

      I totally agree. That aspect probably didn’t come out well as I’m not the best writer in the world. that’s why I mentioned at the end that actually it’s not that harsh when you know your mother loves you and shows that side. I can only speak from my experience, that of extended family and friends from Nigeria and Africa. We all had tough strict moms. But you also knew they were there for 24/7 to back you up and pick you up when you were down. They were and still are the first to defend their children against anyone unlesss that is if they think you are in the wrong. Then they’re the first to read you the riot act!

  2. kloppenmum says:

    I’m white and from New Zealand, and I intend our children to remember me as a Lion Mum too. I just wanted to be sure that the assumptions I have made are correct. (Your writing is fine.)
    I think the parenting style that works depends on what we want for our children. Amy Chua wanted children who were high achievers, and that’s what she got. I want children who are mature, self-assured and can think for themselves – that’s why I looked outside of my race and culture for answers.

    • evcl says:

      Hi. I was just taking a look at your blog. I was skimming it but liked what I read so far. I think I’ll post it on our cartoon twitter page. To be honest I don’t think race has much to do with it. I think it might be more to do with the stage certain societies/cultures/countries are. I think the more affluent, stable and indulgent they become, the parenting style mirrors it. This is a huge generalisation but I think it’s easier for spoilt lazy kids (and adults) to survive and be pampered in say the U.S. than Nigeria. Just because of the different development stages both countries are at. By the way I don’t have a child and I’m not judging anyone. I could also raise spoilt kids which I don’t want to do. You and other parents have more experience to back up what you are saying. I’m just looking from the outside!

  3. kloppenmum says:

    I completely agree with you: easy life makes for material pampering. Wealth also makes it desirable to separate children from their parents. Take bedsharing with parents: 100 years ago it was normal; then children slept together; then together in the same room; then in their own bedrooms; now I have friends who have separate lounges for children and adults. The greater the separation and push for independence the more selfish the society. And you’re right of course – it’s more of a middle-class/wealthy phenomenon not a race based one.

  4. kloppenmum says:

    Oh and a big thankyou for putting a link on your twitter page. I am a twitter virgin, so have no idea what that’s about except that it’s a big deal. Pleased you liked the blog, and thanks for ‘chatting.’

  5. kloppenmum says:

    And I’m Karyn….yawn :)

  6. kloppenmum says:

    OK, now I feel rude… the cartoon idea looks great and I think the concept is long over due. My computer doesn’t have a sound card so I skipped over that bit – besides, I was really enjoying our ‘conversation’. I sincerely hope it is successful for you, and I might even let our kids have a look at it (they’re not usually allowed to watch tv) …now, please excuse me, I have to go to bed.

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