Amy Chua, the “tiger mother,” is clearly hitting a nerve–especially among the anxious class (it used to be called the upper class), which understands how much skill and discipline are necessary for success in the new economy.
What Ms. Chua and her critics agree on is that childhood is all about preparation for adulthood. Ms. Chua claims that her parenting methods will produce ambitious, successful and happy adults–while her critics argue that her methods will produce neurotic, self- absorbed and unhappy ones.
It took economist Larry Summers, in a debate with Ms. Chua at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to point out that part of the point of childhood is childhood itself. Childhood takes up a quarter of one’s life, Mr. Summers observed, and it would be nice if children enjoyed it.