I am definitely a Type A personality, always rushing around, trying to do too much, not good at just lying on the beach. But I'm so thankful for everything I have: wonderfully supportive parents and sisters, the best husband in the world, terrific students I love teaching and hanging out with, and above all, my two amazing daughters.
When I'm not the Tiger Mom, I'm a professor at Yale Law School, and if one thing is clear to me from years of teaching, it's that there are many ways to produce fabulous kids. I have amazing students; some of them have strict parents, others have lenient parents, and many come from family situations that defy easy description.
A lot of parents today are terrified that something they say to their children might make them 'feel bad.' But, hey, if they've done something wrong, they should feel bad. Kids with a sense of responsibility, not entitlement, who know when to experience gratitude and humility, will be better at navigating the social shoals of college.
For my senior prom, my father finally said I could go - as long as I was home by 9 P.M.! That was around the time that most people were heading out. When I was little I was so mad at them all the time. 'Why can't I do this?' 'Why are there so many rules?' But looking back now, my parents gave me the foundation to have so many choices in life.
I was raised, myself, by extremely strict but also extremely loving Chinese immigrant parents. To this day, I believe that their having high expectations for me, coupled with love, was the greatest gift that anyone's ever given me. And so that's why, even though my husband is not Chinese, I try to raise my own two daughters the same way.
Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. I tried to find the balance between the strict, traditional Chinese way I was raised, which I think can be too harsh, and what I see as a tendency in the West to be too permissive and indulgent. If I could do it all again, I would, with some adjustments.
Happiness is not always through success. Equally, the constant pursuit of success is sure unhappiness. But we have to find the balance. My own thoughts are that parenting is very personal. And we all feel enormous insecurity about parenting. What are they going to think of us 20 years down the line?