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Tiger Mother: ‘I can’t take any credit’ for daughter getting into Harvard

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Many parents would experience an ego boost if their children were admitted to two Ivy League universities, but not “Tiger Mother” Amy Chua.

Chua, who stirred up moms and dads earlier this year with a Wall Street Journal piece that promoted rigid child-rearing, isn’t patting herself on the back for daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld’s recent Harvard University and Yale University acceptances.

“I’m afraid I can’t take any credit,” Chua wrote in an email to the Boston Herald. “I don’t think my parenting had anything to do with it — I think Sophia did it 100% herself.”

Chua’s opponents might agree with that claim. The Yale professor’s January WSJ article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” sparked national outrage and tallied up nearly 10,000 web comments. The piece, which was an excerpt from Chua’s book, highlighted some of the strict rules she enforced on her two daughters. The restrictions included but were not limited to: not being allowed to attend sleepovers, have play dates, participate in school plays, complain about not being able to do school plays, get any grade less than an “A,” play any instrument other than the piano or violin, or opt out of playing the piano or violin.

Many violently disagreed with Chua’s suggestions and parenting techniques, which some described as abusive. Among other things, critics were displeased to read that Chua had instructed one of her girls “to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.”

If Rubenfeld-Chua could live her childhood all over again, would she have wanted the same kind of upbringing to ensure she’d get into the highly ranked colleges? Rubenfeld-Chua, who saw much success before getting into the Ivies, said herself that growing up under Tiger Mother’s rules wasn’t a piece of cake. In a January letter to the New York Post titled “Why I Love My Strict Chinese Mom,” the young lady addressed some of the downsides of being raised by Chua.

“Having you as a mother was no tea party,” Rubenfeld-Chua wrote. “There were some play dates I wish I’d gone to and some piano camps I wish I’d skipped. But now that I’m 18 and about to leave the tiger den, I’m glad you and Daddy raised me the way you did.”