Are You a Tiger Mom? 10 Clues

Amy Chua made headlines in 2011 with the release of her parenting tome, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom," a book that detailed her intense and sometimes questionable parenting style. Dubbed the original "tiger" parent, Chua believes that children need to be pushed, pulled, molded and squashed into success at any cost. Does this sound like you? If so, you might be labeled as a tiger parent. While Chua blames Western moms and dads for being too "soft" on their kids, tiger parenting is sometimes so intense that it can have a serious effect on a child's psyche. If the following clues point to your parenting style, it might be time to loosen the reins and give your little one some leeway.

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Your mantra is "only perfection."

If your child comes home with a B on his test, are you thrilled that she gave it her best? Or are you only focused on the fact that her grade wasn't flawless? Tiger moms don't settle for anything less than perfection. Whether it's performance in school, on the soccer field or in a musical recital, children are expected to give it all or go home.

Friends take a backseat to work.

Social situations aren't the strong point of a tiger parent. Instead, it's all about work, work, work. Slumber parties, playdates and hanging out with friends after school always take a backseat to homework and practice—no exceptions.

You use dicey discipline.

Nothing is off limits in the pursuit of perfection. Chua admitted that when one of her daughters hadn't mastered a challenging piano piece, she hauled her child's dollhouse to the car and threatened to donate it to the Salvation Army, piece by piece, until the song was mastered. As a result, her kid stayed glued to the piano for hours, forgoing food, water and bathroom breaks to get the job done. It's a bit extreme, but tiger parents justify their means by attributing them to the eventual success of the children.

You reject all things childish.

Who cares if your kid colored that picture from the heart? He went outside the lines! A more permissive parent would see the effort as touching, but tiger parents scoff at anything indicative of a young mind. Instead, some hardcore parents have been known to toss homemade birthday cards and demand better ones. Sayonara, self-esteem!

You threaten more than ask.

There's no democracy in this den. Instead of asking children to get their homework done, help with chores or practice piano, tiger parents go right for threats instead. These intense parents are so afraid of failure that they have to resort to negative consequences to get the job done. It sets kids up for a worst-case-scenario mindset, rather than participating out of actual desire.

The schedule trumps all.

Hey, we get it. Being on a schedule helps you feel in control and limits speed bumps throughout the day. But when your set-in-stone schedule trumps everything else in your child's life—including friends, food, sleep and just about anything enjoyable. This inflexibility can lead to a seriously unbalanced lifestyle.

Leisure time? What's that?

When other kids are playing the occasional video game, checking out cartoons or riding bikes, your little one has his nose to the grindstone 24/7. Instead of having time to be kids and enjoy their childhood, they're treated like adults from the womb. You don't get to rest on a Wednesday afternoon, so why should they?

You make your child study to get into kindergarten.

Real tiger parents believe that success starts so early in life that studying, working and achievement begins before a child is even in school. If a kid isn't getting straight A's in colors, the alphabet and writing his name, it's seen as a huge failure, no matter the age.

No complaining—ever!

Whiny kids are the worst, but tiger mamas take it to a whole new level. While a child complaining about lima beans can grate on your nerves, a true tiger parent doesn't allow any form of complaining, be it second-guessing or a well-placed whine. Intense parents believe their kids need to learn to adapt to just about anything. It's a good lesson when given in moderation ... but even kids need to vent every now and again.

You choose what's important.

You've always wanted your child to be a star violinist, so you make her take violin lessons ad nauseam. But if she's really a jock at heart, forcing her into music doesn't take her personality or preferences into consideration. Of course, a tiger mom assumes that what's important to her will naturally be important to her child, even when that may not be the case.

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