Is the Tiger Mom Teaching Her Kids Financial Independence?

Janet Bodnar questions whether the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is arming her kids with necessary skills to make good money decisions.

In the midst of the controversy surrounding Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, personal-finance blogger Beth Kobliner raised an interesting question: Would Chua’s helicopter parenting prevent her kids from developing financial independence?

I mulled this over as I read Chua’s book, in which the Yale law professor lays out her take-no-prisoners philosophy of child rearing Chinese-style. Chua doesn’t merely hover over her kids; she slams into them like a cruise missile and grinds them into the ground. Her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu, now teenagers, were never allowed to attend a sleepover, have a play date, watch TV, play computer games or get a grade lower than an A. And she was relentless in forcing them to practice the piano and violin -- sometimes during kicking-and-screaming confrontations that lasted for hours -- on the way to an eventual performance at Carnegie Hall.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.