What does ‘tiger mother’ mean?
Feifei: Hi Neil. Good holiday? Neil: Lovely, thanks. You know I adore the beach. Feifei: Your kids must have loved it too? Neil: Ah, they didn’t come. They were at summer music camp. Feifei: That’s very dedicated! Neil: Well, they have piano exams to pass, Feifei. And then there’s a French test when term starts again, so they’ve been having intensive French lessons every evening. Feifei: Wow, you really are tiger parents! Neil: Tiger what? Feifei: I mean you push your kids to achieve success at school. A ‘tiger mother’ or ‘tiger parenting’ describes a particular kind of strict upbringing. Neil: Well, let’s say we just want what’s best for our kids. Even if they don’t appreciate it yet! Feifei: The phrase ‘tiger mother’ was first used to describe a style of raising children common in some traditional East Asian households, though it can be adopted by anyone. Neil: It appeared in a book by Chinese American law professor Amy Chua, who claimed her academic success was partly thanks to her own tiger mother. Let’s hear examples. I never got to relax as a child. My tiger mother had me up at 7am practising the violin every Saturday and Sunday. We’ve decided to let little Bruno do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I’m worried tiger parenting would stress him out. I have my tiger parents to thank for making me learn my multiplication tables at the age of three. I would never have become the governor of the bank otherwise. Neil: You are listening to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. Our expression is ‘tiger mother’. Well Feifei, how to be a good parent is always a subject of debate. Tiger parenting is no exception. It all depends on your values, really. Feifei: Absolutely. In any case, Neil, it sounds like your kids have had a very busy summer of learning. What are you up to with them this weekend, anything fun? Neil: We’re going to the zoo. Feifei: That’s nice. A reward for getting good grades? Neil: Yes. Though we’re going to take our notebooks too. They have to learn so much about animals if they want to get top grades in biology this year. Feifei: You really are a tiger parent! Neil: Roar. Feifei: Bye. Neil: Bye.