8 Signs That You're a Tiger Mom

July 10, 2015

If Amy Chua's book about being "the tiger mother" resonates with you, chances are you could be one, too! Tiger moms take perfectionism and competitiveness to a whole new level. Do you have the fangs for it?

Did Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" sound eerily familiar to you? In her book, Chua details her intense and questionable parenting style and her belief children should be forced to succeed no matter what the personal price.

While it quickly became a topic of humor, the "tiger mother" method of parenting is real. Family therapist Lee Reyes-Fournier knows firsthand about being raised by a tiger mom. "In my home, a 'B' was the same as an 'F' and being competitive was like breathing," she says. "Tiger Mom gets results because she instills in the child a drive to succeed and never give up."

So how do you know if you're a tiger mom? Look for these signs:

  1. Everything Had Better Be Perfect -- or Else.
    If you're upset your child's A- minus wasn't an A or an A+, you might just be a tiger mom. It doesn't matter about doing one's best because obviously your child's best wasn't good enough! Tiger moms never settle for less. Perfection must be achieved in school, on the soccer field, at home -- yes, everywhere -- and why not?
  2. Rules Are Not Meant to Be Broken, And You Have a Lot of Them.
    Your rules list is a mile long, of course. It has to be this way for everything to be perfect! Just make sure you keep those rules well documented because when you have so many even you might even have a hard time remembering them all. But nobody has to know that!
  3. All work And no Play Isn't Dull -- It's Smart.
    Your child doesn't need friends. Friends will only end up being a distraction. Your child needs to stay focused on being perfect always. Forget the birthday parties, sleepover and play dates. There isn't any time for that in your child's schedule.
  4. You've Got a Schedule And They'd Better Stick to it.
    Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei, an artist and a parenting blogger at Sweet Stella's, says she sticks to a pretty tight schedule. "When our first was a baby, we had the most insane bedtime routine and schedule," she recalls. "My in-laws were looking after him while we went out for a date, and I wrote out two pages of instructions and scheduling for him, all surrounding what to do for bedtime. Looking back on it, it was ridiculous, but boy did that baby sleep 15 hours a night!"
  5. You Decide What's Important -- to Them.
    Since you are the master tiger ruler, you determine what's important for your kids. You always wanted to be the gold medal gymnast -- your child will fulfill that dream for you. You won't expect anything less, even if your child's heart is set on something entirely different from what you had in mind. After all, if it's important to you, it must be important to her.
  6. Your Threats Are Over the Top.
    Kimber Matherne, a crafty blogger at The Pinning Mama, is a stickler for following through with her threats. "From time to time I let something not-so-smart slip, like threatening not to take my kids for take-out if they don't clean up their mess." Matherne admits there's a flaw to using a threat like that because you have to follow through. "I immediately wanted to cry because I realized this is more of a punishment for me since I really didn't want to make dinner!"
  7. There's no Complaint Department.
    There is no whining about eating your vegetables at the tiger mom dinner table. You believe your kids ought to keep quiet and get with the program. Tiger moms know best, after all, and if you're serving lima beans for dinner, those lima beans will be eaten!
  8. There's no Time for Childish Things.
    Your child brought home a picture from school that he is so proud of. All you can see is that he colored outside of the lines. That picture won't be hanging on the fridge anytime soon. You'll wait for a better one to hang.

All kidding aside, Reyes-Fournier says, "In the end, any time love is conditional with a child, it will harm the child." She adds that no matter how sweet success can be, giving your kids the tools they need to achieve their goals (not yours) "is a gift that keeps on giving."

Stephanie Glover is the writer and photographer behind A Grande Life. When she doesn't have her camera in her hands, you'll find her with a cup of coffee.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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