Home » Articles posted by Boon Han

Author Archives: Boon Han


Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

I actually had another blogging topic in mind but was inspired to blog about this after reading “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”.

All parents love their children but because of our cultural backgrounds and upbringing, we tend to express this love a little differently. In 2011, Amy Chua (an Asian American Law Professor from Yale) wrote a book titled “Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother” about her experience bringing up her 2 daughters and how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. The Wall Street Journal published an article under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” on January 8, 2011, with excerpts from her book. This sparked off a whole debate all over the world about how the “Demanding Eastern” parenting model is better than the “Permissive Western” model of bringing up kids. Read the full article here:


She talked about how she never allowed her 2 daughters to: attend a sleepover, have a play date, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin and not play the piano or violin. She also called her daughter “Garbage” (apparently her dad called her that when she was young and she was somehow inspired by it to do better). Amy Chua received death threats and many people accused her of child abuse.

Her older daughter, Sophia (18 this year) is a piano prodigy and made her Carnegie Hall debut at 14. She is now attending Harvard. She also started a Blog in defense of her “Tiger Mom” and said how thankful she was to have such a mother.

Earlier this year, Norway & India got into a diplomatic spat after Norwegian social workers took two young Indian children into care because they slept with their parents and their mother fed them with her fingers – both widespread and normal in India but considered unacceptable in Norway. The parents were told the children will remain in foster care in Norway until they are 18 and that they will only have occasional contact with them. The full article can be found here:


Some questions which came to my mind after reading “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” and the 2 incidents above:

  1. To what extent should the government “interfere” with how parents bring up their children?
  2. Do you agree that parents should use the rod to “discipline” their children?
  3. Do you think that parents should enforce a strict routine for their kids (because kids won’t know what is best for them, are inherently lazy and will need a push from their parents) or allow them to explore their individuality and develop at their own pace?
  4. Would you praise your kid if he/she got a B+ in school or would you push him/her to strive for an A the next time?

Would love to hear all your different views on the above!!

%d bloggers like this: