Study debunks ‘tiger mom’- myth: children worse grades, are more depressed and more alienated from their parents

How to raise children? Be a loving parent or rather a tiger mom? Well, bad news for Amy Chua and her following, being a tiger mom doesn’t deliver better grades, en contraire!

A new study by Guadagno et al published in Asian American Journal of Psychology shows that the opposite is rather the case.

From the actual research:

‘Tiger parenting, which owes its existence to the belief that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting” (Chua, 2011), ironically does not result in the best educational attainment or the best academic achievement; instead, it results in children experiencing a level of academic pressure that is as high as that associated with harsh parenting. It is actually supportive parenting, not tiger parenting, which is associated with the best developmental outcomes: low academic pressure, high GPA, high educational attainment, low depressive symptoms, low parent–child alienation, and high family obligation.’

But this doesn’t mean that all the other possible approaches are that better:

Easygoing parenting is associated with similar or better developmental outcomes than tiger parenting, with the exception of Wave 1 family obligation for the adolescent-reported maternal parenting profiles. Harsh parenting is associated with similar or worse developmental outcomes than tiger parenting, which reflects findings in the literature on authoritarian parenting (Nguyen, 2008). These differences are consistent across parent and adolescent reports.

You can also read this article on Slate about the research.

Btw, something that strikes me as interesting in this research: “Over time, the percentage of parents classified as tiger parents decreased among mothers but increased among fathers.”

Abstract of the research:

“Tiger parenting,” as described by Chua (2011, Battle hymn of the tiger mother. New York, NY: Penguin Press), has put parenting in Asian American families in the spotlight. The current study identified parenting profiles in Chinese American families and explored their effects on adolescent adjustment. In a three-wave longitudinal design spanning 8 years, from early adolescence to emerging adulthood, adolescents (54% female), fathers, and mothers from 444 Chinese American families reported on eight parenting dimensions (e.g., warmth and shaming) and six developmental outcomes (e.g., GPA and academic pressure). Latent profile analyses on the eight parenting dimensions demonstrated four parenting profiles: supportive, tiger, easygoing, and harsh parenting. Over time, the percentage of parents classified as tiger parents decreased among mothers but increased among fathers. Path analyses showed that the supportive parenting profile, which was the most common, was associated with the best developmental outcomes, followed by easygoing parenting, tiger parenting, and harsh parenting. Compared with the supportive parenting profile, a tiger parenting profile was associated with lower GPA and educational attainment, as well as less of a sense of family obligation; it was also associated with more academic pressure, more depressive symptoms, and a greater sense of alienation. The current study suggests that, contrary to the common perception, tiger parenting is not the most typical parenting profile in Chinese American families, nor does it lead to optimal adjustment among Chinese American adolescents.

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