How many parents find a balance in their parenting that works. We seem to go through cycles, fads as it were. We didn’t like the autocratic parenting many of us were brought up with so we reacted and swung the opposite way being nice to our children, giving them all they want at the same time interpreting what they wants as what they need. Hard to get those two straight! We were all about raising our children’s self-esteem and thought we would do that by telling them how wonderful they are at everything they do. Trophies for every kid on the team, praise stickers and prizes for “good” behavior, telling children how special they each are…. Well, that backfired big time, but we hadn’t quite figured out what to do instead when along came Amy Chau with her new memoir, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother. Chau’s book shows us how Chinese mothering raises successful children (or that’s what she wants us to see), which is once again a swing in the far opposite direction. She chastises American parents for being soft and feeling-oriented and shows us how her harsh, autocratic style led to two very successful daughters – altho almost at the risk of losing one of them. By calling her daughter “garbage”, refusing the “lazy” efforts put into home-made birthday cards, threatening them with anything and everything to illicit perfect performances both academically and musically, she claims she boosted their self-esteem and takes full credit for their successes. As children’s failures are a shame on the family, she says that absolutely a child’s behavior is a reflection on mothering. Hmmm. Doesn’t that leave the child’s nature out of the picture. Indeed, her second daughter’s nature is what in the end broke Chau’s uncompromising severity-a little.