Enough with the violin.
Two Beijing school girls are pushing back against overly ambitious parents with The Complete Book of Combat With Mum, an online manual that teaches the fine art of softening a Tiger Mom’s cold heart.
The makeshift guide is aimed at kids aged 6 to 12 who might be facing the kind of disciplinarian described in Amy Chua’s notorious Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Ten-year-old authors Chen Leshui and Deng Xinyi shared their tips in a notebook crudely illustrated with ballpoint pen diagrams.
“Despite their simplicity, the pictures exactly capture the savagery of a Tiger Mother in full cry: a domineering powder-keg of ambition,” wrote The Times’ Leo Lewis.
The girls describe 20 different wiles, from bursting into tears and burying your head in mom’s shoulder to threatening to run away.
More disquieting techniques include answering her punishing questions with your eyes closed and fashioning “mini weapons” out of household items.
The idea came to Ms. Chen after she got scolded for a bad exam mark, but it was actually her father – certainly no “wolf dad” – who uploaded the guide to China’s equivalent of Twitter, where it went viral.
“I am against the methods of the Tiger Mother. It is needless interference in children’s lives,” Mr. Chen told The Times. “We always advocate that parents should provide children with a free space.”
Earlier this year, Ms. Chua became the subject of international scorn after she described her merciless upbringing of daughters Lulu and Sophia, from banning sleepovers to threatening arson of Sophia’s toys if she didn’t get to the piano. Lulu eventually rebelled and Ms. Chua backed down a touch, letting her scale back music lessons for tennis and allowing friends over.
In the end, Ms. Chua was vehemently proud of the way her daughters fared in a competitive world. At the same time, she regretted not offering them more choice or paying more attention to their “individual personalities.”
As The Guardian’s Joanna Moorhead wrote of the rebellious spitfires at the helm of the current guide, “That’s the bottom line on parenting: our kids get the final word. Every single time.”
What did you take home from the original Tiger Mom? Should overbearing parents take some lessons from The Complete Book of Combat With Mum?