Amy Chau has gained international attention since an excerpt from her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published in the January 8, 2011 issue of the Wall Street Journal. He’s already got almost 8,000 responses and has put Amy on the cover of Time magazine. Amazon claims his book is a box office hit.

Amy Chau writes about why Chinese mothers are superior to Westerners and why they raise such stereotypically bright and talented children. She claims it is a tough love, the kind of tough love that includes insulting her children, insulting them, and banning sleepovers, play dates, computer games, and television. It means caring about your child’s achievement, not his self-esteem, and demanding nothing but A’s from him in school.

I teach at an international school in Hong Kong and asked my predominantly Chinese students to read Amy Chau’s article in the Wall Street Journal and respond. This is what some of them said.

Dealing with traditional Chinese parents is difficult and frustrating. The techniques Amy Chau used to discipline her children may horrify many of her readers, but that’s the way it is in Asian culture. Amy called her daughter “trash.” Well, I remember the day my dad called my brother “trash.” The crude statement broke my brother’s heart. I’ve never seen him so hurt. Amy Chau simply describes the reality of most children growing up in a Chinese family. Chinese children must obey their parents and never question their authority. I’m not going to judge the morality of the way Chinese parents treat their children, but I think a change must certainly be made.

You might think that this writer is exaggerating the way Chinese mothers behave. Well, it isn’t! Growing up in a Chinese family has been exactly the same for me. I have never had a grade lower than an A and I have always been the best student in my grade. I also started studying piano when I was very little and have been practicing a lot every day since then. It means that I was restricted from participating in many other things, but now that I am studying music in high school, my piano skills are really useful. Chinese mothers believe that if their children work hard, they will have a better life in the future. Chinese mothers can be tough, but they are only tough for the benefit of their children.

Chinese mothers are eager for their children’s academic and musical abilities. Almost all of my Chinese friends play at least one or two instruments, take sports lessons, and have a tutor for school work. But not all Chinese parents go crazy when their kids get a B. Most Hong Kong parents don’t have time to practice piano with their kids or do something with them, they are too busy working! Amy Chau can be an extremely ambitious and overprotective mother, but that doesn’t mean that all Chinese mothers are like this. I know for sure that my mom is not!

I am a Chinese boy who has experienced exactly the kind of parenting that Amy Chau writes about. I have also experienced the consequences associated with the Chinese style of parenting, including low self-esteem and fear of failure. Despite this, I believe that the way I was raised will eventually make me a successful person, a person my parents will be proud of, and someone their friends will look up to with admiration.

My mom and I sat down and read Amy Chau’s article together. Amy said that Chinese parents believe that their children owe them everything. My mom told me I don’t owe her anything. My mother has never hit or insulted me. I even got some D’s last year in school, but my parents didn’t get mad or force me to go to a tutor. I don’t like the way Amy Chau labels Chinese mothers and makes them all look the same.

Sometimes my parents call me a pig for doing something wrong. I know they don’t really mean it and it helps me improve.

I think that many Chinese parents are becoming more respectful of their children’s individuality and many of them are encouraging their children to pursue their dreams, rather than just pleasing their parents.

I feel sorry for the poor children raised by this dragon lady, Amy Chau. If those tactics had been used on me, I would have left my parents.

Amy Chau says that Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore exceed all wishes and preferences of their children. That is exactly what my parents believe. Chinese mothers can raise successful children, but do they really communicate with them? NOT! My biggest passion is theater and acting, but my mom wants me to go to law school and become a lawyer. She doesn’t care what I want to do because she wants me to be “successful.” The problem is that we have very different definitions of success. I believe that to be successful is to be happy. She thinks it is having high income. I don’t doubt my mother’s good intentions. I just wish you would hear what I think sometimes.

When I was young I experienced exactly what Amy’s daughters Sophia and Louisa endured. But when I got to sixth grade, my parents realized that all their threats and restrictions only made me hate them. Amy says her tactics teach kids to excel, but I know kids whose parents are like Amy. Your kids study all night and still get a B. Being tough on kids doesn’t ensure an A.

Asia has the highest suicide rate in the world. Looking at all the students who spend all night studying, spend all their free time doing things they don’t like, and all the children who are told that they are useless, rather than beautiful, it is quite easy to understand that rate of suicides.

My mom is a Chinese mother but she is not like Amy. She praises me when I do my best, not when I get an A. I’ve always appreciated that except now when I’m applying to college, I have to compete with all those Chinese kids with perfect grades.

I am very glad that my Chinese mother is not a Mother Tiger: cruel, ruthless and unsympathetic. She is almost the opposite. She just wants me to do my best. In fact, I put more pressure on myself than on my mom. I am lucky that my mother is not like Mother Tiger.