4.14.2011

Q&A: Shopping, Stuffed Animals and Playdate Math

Q: Why did you decide to start this blog?
A: When the whole world’s calling you a mindless robot, you kind of get the urge to start talking! Even though "Sophia" in the book is much more impressive than Sophia in real life. I think I’m sullying my impeccable image one post at a time, but so be it.

Q: So does Tiger Mom ever go Garfield (read: feel lazy)?
A: Absolutely...she has a ridiculous amount of energy, but eventually she burns out and collapses in bed. She’ll be like, "Sophia, get me my water bottle!" when it’s on her bedside table.


Q: I think many of people who read your mum's book wouldn't know satire if it hit them in the face. Do you feel the same?
A: It’s despicable to suggest her book is satirical, and I’m deeply traumatized. If you lay awake every night weeping over the charred remains of your stuffed animals, you’d be traumatized too. [edit: for the love of god, people, I'M KIDDING]

Q: What is it like getting up in the morning and getting ready for school with the tiger mom? Is it pretty hectic over there?
A: Lulu is the real tiger mom in the morning. I’d sleep through lunch every day if she didn’t drag me out of bed.

Q: What is your expectation of college life?
A: Sleep all day, rave all night. Learn by osmosis.

Q: Do you often go shopping with tiger mom?
A: There’s not much to buy in New Haven. Well, groceries. My mom knows how much I like driving (I have a license but no car), and she milks it. "Sophia!" She dangles the Jeep keys in front of my face. "You can drive to....STOP & SHOP!!!!" I take the bait every time.

Q: If your mother prevented you from going on play dates, sleep overs and participating in school dramas, shouldn't you have turned out to be socially incapable?
A: Thanks for asking – I’ve wanted to address this point since David Brooks published his op-Ed in the NYT. Let me indulge my not-so-inner nerd for a second: when you spend 7 hours at school a day, 180 days a year, for 13 years, you rack up 16,380 hours of social interaction. That’s the equivalent of over 3,200 five-hour playdates. So overall, I don’t feel too deprived.

Q: How do your friends and classmates feel about the situation?
A: My classmates, friends, and boyfriend have been the absolute best. When the people you know and like are on your side, it matters a lot less what angry strangers think. But NICE strangers’ opinions are super-super-important. They can/should be voiced in the comments section below :]

I'm at bulldog days right now...everything is absolutely incredible! So I'm curious about demographic here: who's reading this? Are you a teenager, a parent, somewhere in between? And what are you hoping to find on my blog? By all means suggest post topics. I'll write what you want to read. Leave me a comment!

441 comments:

  1. For me its really a funny answer....

    Q: What is your expectation of college life?
    A: Sleep all day, rave all night. Learn by osmosis.

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  2. As a current Yalie watching the influx of pre-frosh on campus, I just want to wish you a FANTASTIC time at BDD. :) Best wishes making your college decision--I know you'll do well wherever you choose! (But I do have to put in a good word for my beloved Yale...)

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  3. 思慧﹕
    我是世界日報的記者崔芳,能給我寫封信嗎?有事相求。(想請你寫篇文章)

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  4. Wooooo Bulldog Days!

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  5. Like I said before, compare the two visiting programs...you'll see a very telling difference.

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  6. I like your clothing style :)

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  7. Visitas will be better. And Harvard is better, so there really is no decision to be made.

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  8. Hello Sophia,

    I just finished your mom's book. I couldn't put it down once I started.

    The excerpt from your essay about performing at Carnegie Hall was beautiful. I don't play an instrument and am clueless about music, but I truly felt your love and appreciation for music.

    Please keep writing and best of luck with college!

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  9. Loved Tiger book & esp loved you in that laugh-til-you-cry-til-you-laugh-riot!
    I wanted to both thank and spank your mom:Thank her for telling the truth about wacky, misguided focus on "self-esteem" in our Every Child Wins a Fake Prize country. And spank her for, from time to time, making your childhood a living hell!
    Best wishes to you in whatever you do & wherever you end up at college.
    -Yale alum
    Ps: Also at B-dog Days with our daughter who has a Big Decision to make. Suggestion: Have a chat with Yale prof / Harvard alum Anne Fadiman before you head up to Cambridge.

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  10. I agree with C from NY - could you one day post a video from your performance?

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  11. Parent and grandparent. Where did you get your sense of humor? From Dad?

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  12. I'm a fourteen year old.

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  13. As a parent, I would like to know what you honestly think of your mother's parenting style? You spoke of being traumatized. Maybe this is a hard question for you to answer seeing you are not a parent yet, but do you plan to parent the same as your mother?

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  14. Routed here from abovethelaw; I suspect that you will have significant law-folks readership since David links to your blog on and off.

    -
    Well-wisher

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  15. I'm 14, and I want to know, how did you do it all? Could you have even gotten close to where you are now if not for your "Tiger Mother"?

    And for those of us who are not blessed/cursed with "Tiger Parents", is there a way to replicate that success?

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  16. As humans, we are all products of our circumstances. If you had not been born to your psychotic mother, you would not be where you are today. You live in a glass cage: a strict mother that has (whether you believe it or not) made all your major life choices FOR you, a very nice house in New Haven, a PRIVATE high school, two rich lawyer parents, ETC. What SIGNIFICANT things have you done with your life that haven't had the Tiger Mom approval stamp on them?? What life-changing troubles have you overcome on your own that have shown your inner strength of character?? Why should people admire you at all?? If anything, they're not interested in you as a person. They're kissing your ass in hopes that you'll provide them with a precious checklist of things they need to do to get into the same colleges you got into.

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  17. Who your parents are has an impact on how your life turns out. That was such brilliant insight; good job guys. By the way, your bitterness and cynicism do not reflect well on your parents.

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  18. Welcome to the blogosphere :)

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  19. Oh, demographic: I'm a law student. I stopped by because I hope to be a parent someday with my Asian boyfriend. He thinks tiger parenting is the way to go; I was raised by west coast hippies. So, I've followed what David Lat at abovethelaw has posted about your family and that led me here.

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  20. I'm a current undergrad, have Asian parents who were quite lenient (by any standards, I might add). Saw your mother's article on the WSJ and thought I'd check your blog out. Very interesting to see people who have been raised in a different environment.

    I'd like it if you could post about what it was like having parents with such differing attitudes regarding parenting. That's the sense that I got from what I've read thus far, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Look forward to reading more of your posts!

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  21. Wow, some of those posts are needlessly hateful. Folks, having a Tiger mom won't get you on stage at Carnegie or into Harvard/Yale. You need an awful lot of talent to go along with great parenting.

    Sophia, congratulations and good luck! I linked here from Above the Law. I'm just beginning the journey of raising my own child, and found your mother's book interesting and I appreciate your perspective as well.

    C from Chicago

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  22. Congratulations. Don't let all she shmoozing get to you too much-- you'll be back to being a freshman next year. and if its anything like my undergrad, seniors will be super friendly to you because they want hookups.

    Unsolicited advice: stay in touch with high school friends (and boyfriends if that works out)-- don't get lost in the alcohol haze many college students immerse themselves in. you may be more adult than some of the upperclassmen. plenty of people at elite schools burn out and lose track of what they want to do with their life.

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  23. Why are you so perfect? You're very pretty and accomplished

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  24. Go to Yale. Seriously. The schools are roughly equally good academics-wise (unless you want to study math or non-bio science, in which case, go to Harvard), but socially and activities-wise, it's no contest.

    (I'm a lawyer. I came through ABL. Your dad taught my crim class.)

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  25. Hi,I like your blog. Keep doing it, young man. I think I read your mother's heart, she is a GOOD mother and you two are great kids. Your blog tells me you are not blocked in any ways by "tiger mom", you grow up fully and so well.

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  26. I was routed here through Above the Law also. Currently in law school. When I first read your mom's preview in the WSJ, I forwarded it immediately to my Chinese mom. I am incredibly thankful for the way she raised me, not unlike your mom, but probably to a lesser extent. So when I read the article, I thought I my mom would like it as a vindication for her strict parenting. Instead, she actually was offended and thought I sent it to her spitefully. I think she's gotten soft--too many years living in America.

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  27. I have a similar question as previously asked: If you ever become a parent, are you planning to employ similar parenting habits as your mom did? Specifically those that she was most criticized for.

    Also, pretty sure Sophia was being sarcastic in that entire answer about being traumatized.

    Also, poster above me needs to be calm down. Our "major life choices" are often made for us as kids. Were you (Anonymus above me) able to decide on all your "major life choices" prior to college on your own? While I was given more freedom in my decisions than your typical child, I know it would be silly to believe that my parents had no influence on where I ended up, so I really don't think that a point for criticism.

    I don't think Sophia has said anywhere that anyone should admire her either. It's just her blog man. Your rationalization of peoples' interest in her reeks of... well you know.

    --

    College senior from NY

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  28. I'm a 26 year old female graduate student. Since you are going off to college, I'd love to see a post about what you might be dreading about it. I personally wasn't aprehensive about my undergraduate experience...until I met my dorm-mate, who did not believe in showering :P

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  29. I'd like to read about how you manage your time. Asian or not, tiger mom or not, it takes a truly intelligent person to be so successful both academically and artistically. So I feel you'd be doing a lot of people (younger ones especially) a big favor if you share your secret of time management. Case in point, you actually do answer so many questions asked of you on this blog, and in a timely fashion too, amidst your schedule of college tours. So where do you find the time?

    To answer your question of the age range of your readers, I'm thirty something, and was also routed here from abovethelaw, and was realy excited to see that you have a blog!

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  30. Hello Sophia! I am a fourteen year old, and I must say you are doing a great job with your blog so far!
    This has been mentioned before, but I think it would be interesting if you shared how you manage your time. I think that's what many people are curious and envious about your mother- how she is a successful Yale law professor, mother, and wife. For example, what is an average school day like for you (maybe before the end-of-the-year-senioritis-slump)? And how do you like to spend the gob of time that is summer?
    Also, when you decide on your choice of college, (best of luck with your decision!) I would love to hear your motives behind it!
    Do you plan on keeping this blog running when you head off to college?
    These are just my suggestions, but I'm sure you'll come up with something very witty, insightful, and clever!

    {A side note: I wrote my English term paper on the Tiger Mother debate, and my teacher said she is going to read your mother's book now and will suggest it to the principal and other teachers from the school :) }

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  31. Routed here through ATL as well. Congrats on your acceptances! I'm an ethnically Chinese law student from Arizona, with somewhat tiger parents growing up. Looking forward to more posts and reading your mother's book.

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  32. I'm a law student as well, but I've been following this since the WSJ article. Forwarded it to my mom, who said, "See? At least I wasn't that bad." She regrets not being hardcore enough, though - I, for one, did not get into Yale. Despite that, they're not too worried, because version 2.0 is coming out, and he got a 5 on the Calc BC last year, at age 12.

    Props to your mother for finally standing up to the hippie parenting norm. And I'm really glad you started up a blog - I hate how condescending the NYTimes crowd gets when they think they're speaking for those poor, suffering children/citizens of developing countries/heathens.

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  33. Harvard reminded me of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz..huge reputation, but when you get there, it's only a short dude behind a curtain.

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  34. Hi Sophia!
    I'm 22, and I am in situation when I have to raise three very-American children (16, 14, 12. Since I'm so young myself, I was looking for some guidance in parenting; that's why I bought your mom's book. I loved it! Unfortunately, it's a little too late for the tiger-technique in my case - the kids are almost all grown-up. I guess, we are not making it to Carnegie Hall. :) Still, I'll try to be as much of a tiger as possible for the youngest two girls. Tell you the truth, I wish with all my soul that I had a tiger mother... I could have been ruling the world by now! :) You are a living proof that Chinese parenting works: you are a beautiful young woman, who's incredibly intelligent, bilingual, and plays a piano at the superior level. You succeed in everything you set your mind to, thanks to your mother.
    However, the question remains, would you raise YOUR children Chinese way? Will YOU be a tiger-mother when the time comes? I"m sure public would appreciate if you write about this in your blog.
    Best wishes to you Sophia.

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  35. Demographics: 14 year old stalker :P

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  36. Big law firm partner, parent, Yale family. You seem like a good kid. Go have fun.

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  37. Hey Sophia!
    I'm a high school senior (I'm actually also doing accepted students visits in New England this week). I read your mom's book, loved it, and have been following some of the press about your family. I think so many of the questions and themes in the book are universal, no matter what kind of family a person grows up in, and I really enjoy the dialogue that the book has created. (I wrote on your mom's facebook wall thanking her and comparing her book to Fiddler on the Roof.) I think that everyone wants what's best for their families, and so everyone can relate to your family's story on some level.

    I don't mean to be stalkerish by reading your blog-- I know I might be overwhelmed by so much attention-- but I honestly just enjoy hearing your funny and insightful opinions. Let's send each other good vibes for the college decision process and freshman year, okay? :)

    As for post suggestions, I know it's your blog, but it would be cool to hear thoughts from Lulu or your dad if they're interested. Also, do you know how much you're planning to continue with piano?

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  38. Also routed from Above the Law (law student). I am impressed. Be careful though. There will be drama in your life. You do not want it coming out on your blog.

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  39. Hi Sophia,
    I'm a mother of a nearly 2 years old daughter. I've heard of your mom's book and I was curious about how do you and Lulu feel about all of this. Happy to read your blog, and you seem to be a sweetheart. Go have fun with your life!

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  40. Linked here through abovethelaw.com. I'm a 3L at law school, female. I'm impressed by your wit, maturity, and poise, from what I can glean in your writing...after all, you're only 17 (?)! Amazing. Even if you had a "Tiger Mom," it still seems that you can think for yourself and know what you want.

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  41. Mother of a 12 year old.
    I am here because I am glad to hear you and your sister are not what your mother's detractors claim you both are - traumatized.
    You and your sister are bright, talented young women who have worked hard. How awful to see the comments by the haters who believe that you would not have achieved the same results without your mom's memoir. Good luck to you, Sophia and to Lulu too!

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  42. lol im always surprised at the intense reactions everyone had to your mother's book. even the "supportive" comments which seem to separate your positive traits from anything your mother did...such as the, "even though you had a tiger mom you turned out great" comments haha. on one hand, im shocked at how close minded so many people are...on the other hand, i guess it is really hard to truly understand unless you've actually lived it.

    there is obviously no perfect parenting style, but i can see where your mother is coming from. i come from a similar background and i turned out perfectly fine in all respects haha. good luck on your ugrad choice.

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  43. Sophia,
    I am an immigrant Chinese mother of two girls (5 and 10 years old) who are both learning the piano. Their piano teacher (Russian) first introduced the WSJ article to us and he said the book is his Bible. When my older one did not make enough efforts to learn a piece, the teacher would say I am not Chinese enough. I bought your mom's book and was really impressed by everything she did and what you have accomplished. The book is much richer than the WSJ article and it resolved many doubts I had when I first read the WSJ article. I watched some of the media coverage (the WSJ videos, etc.) about you and your family, and I am happy to observe that you are absolutely not a robot and you are extremely graceful, independent and intelligent. Your mom is so charming and does not look like a tiger mom at all. We live in Boston and hope you will select Harvard! Then you will really be the new tiger in town.

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  44. I'm also a lawyer sent here by abovethelaw. Your mom is awesome. From an immigrant family (not Asian but from around those parts) also and I loved how she called out lazy American parenting and how ridiculously permissive American parents are with their kids. Anyway, good luck at Harvard/Yale.

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  45. To say that even very strict parenting could result in children like robots grossly overestimates the influence parents have on their children. How silly. That sounds like wishful thinking on the part of parents: their children will be independent and creative because that how they raised their children, right?

    I can understand the desire to believe that your parenting would be highly influential, but to believe your parenting method can overcome free will or a child's true self from coming through proves too much. Pretty arrogant.

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  46. I'm a 13 yr old who's hoping to get some study tips frm u! what is your study schedule like at home, with the hours of piano and all?

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  47. My mom sent me a link to your blog because she liked it and I think it's really funny. Our family, being of the strict Vietnamese variety, really enjoyed your Tiger Mother's book as we could relate to it in many ways. My sister gave it to my mom as a birthday present. I could tell when my mom was reading it because I could hear her laughing downstairs when I was upstairs studying in my room. And then she would call me downstairs to read a section with her and we would laugh over it together.
    I think tiger mothers and tiger daughters tend to have good memories together :)

    P.S. I know this may sound anal retentive and this is not a serious criticism, just a passing remark, but in reference to an earlier post "anyway" is singular, not plural :)

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  48. I would like to know if sports play an important part in your childhood? Did you have time to practice any sport seriously? or is your family more musically oriented? (I am a try-to-be tiger mom of 2 girls: 24 and 21 years old)

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  49. I can't believe I'm posting here, but ... I want to echo Luke. Seriously, seriously, seriously reconsider whether this blog is a good idea. You're 17, 18 years old ... The internet is forever.

    Genuine best wishes,
    A 30-something who is really glad all we had during college was email

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  50. I hope you come to Visitas and pick H over the bull dogs (is that what they're called?)... Look forward to your future timeless Harvard class ring!

    <3, your future Harvard class of 2015.

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  51. I'm a graduate student.

    When I read your mom's book it seemed like she got the tiger thing from her zodiac sign, is that right? I was thinking she is lucky that she's a tiger. I hope to be a fairly strict parent someday, but I don't think I want to be known as a "Rat Mom." And I don't know that anyone would be scared of a "Rabbit Mom"....

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  52. i'm a 2nd gen chinese american lawyer and got here via abovethelaw. i finally read the book last night, and found it much better than i'd anticipated. i seriously give you props for making it through all of that pressure.

    also, i went to harvard for college/law school, and i would say go to harvard over yale to at the least get away from your parents and what you already know. college is a great time to explore and cambridge/boston are great places to do so because they're so lively, public transport-friendly, and relatively diverse.

    one random question i have for you is the book said your name is "si hui" in chinese. are the characters 思慧 by chance?

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  53. Can u write about ur relationship with ur lil sis? Like... how close u both are or what your differences are... do you share clothes, talk about boys & stuff... do u get to bully her at times... hehe those things. :)

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  54. Like several other commenters, I was sent here via an abovethelaw link. Having been raised to some extent by tiger parents, I understand the rationale. You seem like a talented, and focused person. While I understand (and to an extent agree with) the criticism of the tiger-parent approach, I think the criticism has gone overboard. :)

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  55. 2 things:

    1st- This is a personal question, and by all means feel free not to answer, but how religious is your family? I know that your dad is Jewish, but Asian parenting typically doesn't mix with a traditional Jewish lifestyle...

    2nd- Please tell your mother that she is a special lady and that I have admired her ever since the WSJ article.

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  56. Sorry if this is personal...but was the Tiger mother ever picky about you having relationships at school?

    Btw, I'm really enjoying her book so far :)

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  57. Hello Sophia! :D

    Firstly, I think you're super cool! And that it's great that you're bashing the Mindless Robot Child stereotype - kudos. Congratulations on getting into Yale/Harvard, and Carnegie Hall, and uh, being awesome in general. Haha. As for demographics, I'm a 15-year-old Malaysian. I came here because I was curious about you. So reading your first-person posts is really interesting. I especially liked the bit with playdate math. ;) Anyway, do keep posting!

    Also, you can access your reader demographics from your dashboard :)

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  58. I'm here because I honestly thought this was a Troll Blog and at one point, I was hurled by a fellow blog commenter over to the "Had Enough Therapy" blog when I asked the question "What is the purpose of family?" The answer being "cultural transmission".

    I had Amy Chua for contracts in law school, basically skipped half her classes, and went to a party at her house once. She seemed like a nice person, but I was too burnt out on school and life to actively particpate in law school.

    I'm actually very bitter about my entire college experience. I consider them the worst 5 years of my life. In hindsight, I could have done basically everything differently.

    My personal experience growing up is probably closer to the medial portrayal of your life than was your life.

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  59. Hey Sophia~!

    20 years old. Sophomore in college. I like your blog posts. . .they're fun to read. ^^

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  60. Hi Sophia! i'm a 17 year old high school senior, also headed off to college this coming fall. i've been reading your blog and your tweets, and i have to say - gurl, you are way funnier than i ever imagined. i thought your mom's book was quite an interesting read. even though i didn't agree with everything she said, it was thought-provoking and witty and i enjoyed every page. best of luck with your big college decision! i'm sure you'll be successful and happy wherever you end up :)

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  61. Sophia,
    You seem like such an interesting person with a great sense of humour!
    I'm a frosh at Queen's University, and found your blog from your advertisement on your mom's Facebook page.
    Suggestions: keep doing the Q&A and anecdotes about life with the tiger mom. Or random musings about life in general :)

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  62. Routed here by ATL. I am a lawyer and a mother of two daughters, 13 and 15. I clicked on the link because I have followed the stories on your Mom's book and also because my 15 year old is discussing the book in her child psychology class. The Tiger Mom parenting style would not work for me or my children. (I had a father with a similar style and I rebelled like your sister (actually, way more than your sister.) But, I am a second born with a type B personality who values happiness more than being No. 1. While I value excellence, I have never understood people who are obsessed with being No. 1. I don't believe the Tiger Mom parenting style teaches children how to fail - and everyone fails at something eventually.

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  63. First off, great post! It's cool to know you're so much more than what one might think based on your mother's book. :)

    Secondly, to answer your question, I'm a 23 year old college-educated gay Jewish hairdresser.

    I'd love to read about your experiences with Judaism and your what your dad's like ~He's been something of a non-presence through all of this. Also, what TV shows do you watch?! :D

    p.s. I also agree with the other comments here about being careful when blogging.. But I get the sense you're an highly socially intelligent person who knows how to take care of herself. :P

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  64. If you believe "the Bible is the inerrant word of God", do you really want gay Americans to be executed per Leviticus? And should native born Americans be able to vote on whether or not you should be allowed to get married as you voted on gays?

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  65. Sophia, I LOVE your blog, your writing and, especially, your tone. Your mom must be so proud. Best of luck on the college decision! (Oh, I'm a mom with one grown son and a college freshman daughter.)

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  66. Thanks for the blog and nice to meet you. By the way, my Mum called your Mum and you're in big trouble!

    From one Chinese kid to another =D

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  67. I'm a Harvard prefrosh as well! Hope you choose H :)

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  68. Silly rabbit. Don't you know that tigers belong at Princeton?

    -Princeton '05

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  69. You are a cutie. call me

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  70. Girl, you got dis shit. Whichever school you choose is lucky to have you (although I'm a sophomore at Brown and bummed you didn't consider us!).

    I grew up with two Chinese parents (professors of biochemistry), and (especially because I turned out to be a Visual Arts concentrator), I know the pushing and supporting and tough lovin' from the parentals only gets you halfway there to where you're trying to go - keep doing what you do. It's wonderful.

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  71. Linked from I-already-forget-where. Clicked because I can't help clicking Internet links. But now feel like I can weigh in on your college decision!

    I'm a Yale grad. I don't think one of Yale or Harvard is definitively "better" - depends on the person. (And actually, some entirely brilliant people would do better at completely different schools, too!)

    But given that: if you grew up in New Haven, I'd think you'd want to move to a new city for college. It's healthy to have some distance from your family once you turn 18 or so. And Boston's a cool town.

    But it's hard to resist Bulldog Days, I know.

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  72. I was once a tiger cub. Still am, I suppose. How does it feel to be the voice of a movement?

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  73. Yale is shit. Don't settle for that shitty school. Go to Harvard!

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  74. here from gawker's post about your blog. am currently an undergrad (almost done!) that rejected all her family's expectations (i had tiger parents). congrats on making up your mind to leave the predetermined path to forge your own. much luck with decisions!

    would love to read about how you came to that decision though! it's always an interesting story.

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  75. Congrats on being courageous enough to start this blog. My question for you is what traits have you acquired from each of your parents? Or rather, how have each of your parents helped you to become the person you are today?

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  76. Oh boy...I feel so sad for you. I really do.

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  77. A tiger mother should use her claws to protect her children. I feel sorry that you, a tiger cub, has to defend your tiger mother and take care of her feeling at such a young age on public occasions, on her facebook (an idea that she trashed harshly in her book), and now with this blog.

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  78. You are impossibly hot and incredibly talented. Are you single?

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  79. This is awful. You should close this down...there are a lot of strange people out there.

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  80. 23 year-old college student, came across this blog today via Gawker. Haters to the left! I hope college is everything you want it to be, Sophia.

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  81. You are an inspiration to daughters everywhere! I'm so excited you started the blog and looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for you. Good luck at Yale or Harvard, which ever you end up choosing! And I love your mom!

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  82. I would pick Yale... but that's mainly because I love Gilmore Girls.

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  83. Q: How do you envision music performance being a part of your college life? Is your Harvard-Yale decision based on the quality of their music departments/extracurricular groups at all?

    As a student at Harvard, who had a tiger-mom-of-sorts ("no hanging out! no boyfriend! and god forbid, no theatre!") and competitively played piano and violin throughout her life, it's interesting to see you become your own person, after you and your family were put in the spotlight by the media. I'm just curious to know how much music is playing a role in your college decision. After the ultra-stressful competitions and performances in high school, I thought I would put music on the backburner--play in an orchestra maybe, do some chamber music here and there. The wish to attend a conservatory didn't even occur to me. Two years later, I did a complete 180, and now I'm concentrating in music (though at Harvard, it's not a performance major, as you probably know). I have no fucking idea what I'm rambling about at this point (I think I'm braindead from writing this paper), but I think what I'm trying to get at is that college is really great, no matter where you go. You're going to figure yourself out, you're going to change a lot. It's almost a good thing that this tiger mom mania has happened right before you're going to begin staking out your own life. I thought my mom would always be a tiger mom, but it turns out she's been regretting her tiger-mom-ness nowadays. But I too don't think her parenting style was necessarily bad or overbearing. I know it's because she cares, and yeah, I don't think a lot of people understand that kind of life. I'm pretty sure I turned out to be OK and socially adept (I have friends, I promise!). But realize that you are your own person now, and that being your own person doesn't mean you don't love your mom.

    It seems like people have been telling you the pros and cons for Harvard and Yale, so I'll put in my two cents. I've been at Yale a number of times to visit friends there, and I do really love the place. It's pretty (within the boundaries of the campus) and seems to nurture the arts and creativity in general more. Demographically, it seems like there's a higher percentage of hipsters (but more like pseudo-hipsters) there than at Harvard. They've got naked parties (though the last one got shut-down?), and fun frats. However, all that good stuff definitely exists at Harvard, though it doesn't pretend to be as prevalent? I don't really know how to explain it. I have loved my experience at Harvard, and there are truly great, compassionate, and unique people here. You can find a true sense of community in all sorts of social structures--whether it's your House, your final club or other elitist groups, or your extracurricular group. The party scene is fab, if you know the right people. And it's such a hotspot intersection point for the most influential people in the world, who come as guests all the time.

    Anyway, sorry for the word vom I'm really just rambling. Maybe I'll comment again in a more concise manner, but please ask more questions about Harvard and Yale if you're still undecided!

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  84. Sophia, I loved your mom's book and I'm loving your blog. You have a great sense of humor---keep it coming.

    (And since you asked, I'm a mom of four.)

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  85. Sophia, I'm also a "tiger cub" :D Nice seeing this blog post. I like that you're letting the world know that all us tiger cubs are not the beaten down, mindless robots people think we are. Anyways, good luck with college and keep up the blog!

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  86. Current Yale grad student checking in to see if you made up your mind yet. :) Yale undergrad combined with Harvard grad school would be pretty sweet unless you're thinking about law school (then I'd switch it up).

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  87. Will you address the question of participating in sports ftom the tiger cub perspective? I think the tiger style of parenting actually makes a lot of sense, but for me participating in sports was one of the most influential and useful aspects of growing up.

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  88. What did you think of Visitas?

    I am a Harvard-committed, half-Asian "tiger cub" :)

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  89. Referred to the blog via Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn.

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  90. 22 years old grad student. love your blog

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  91. im a 30 year old male who got interested in your story when i found out your grandparents came from the philippines. are you in anyway appreciative of your chinese filipino roots or are you straight up chinese now?

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  92. I like your blog lots!!!
    and I'm a fellow 2015-ner, or 2011-ner :D

    haha post more pictures and can't wait for the stories!

    btw, whats your favorite sports and clothing store? just wondering :P

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  93. I'm a drag queen from Manila, and am working as a relocation consultant for P&G.

    I love that you sound like you turned out nicely. I am happy that you are a testament to your mum's dedication to brilliant parenting and selfless love. I hope I can become a good parent like her. :)

    Congratulations on getting into Harvard!

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  94. glad to see you writing. this is a great blog

    i live in beijing, you would have a large chinese audience (even in english; your mother is famous is here) except that blogspot is blocked here. have you considered opening an account on sina weibo as well as starting a blog there? you could very easily become an internet celebrity here

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  95. Hi Sophia!

    It's great to know that you have a wonderful sense of humor :) This is my question: How long do you usually spend on homework each night? And on weekends? :P

    Thankss! Looking forward to your next post :D
    And I'm still a high schooler! Congratulations on getting into Yale and Harvard!! You truly deserve it!

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  96. Hey Sophia!

    Like you, I was raised in a disciplined Filipino-Chinese household. In my beginning years, I lived through a routine every single day until I reached 13.

    Although there were restrictions and constrictions, in this style did I realize the value of my independence.

    Mazel tov on Harvard! I'll see you around
    - Mark

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  97. Interesting. As for my demographic, I'm retired, w Chinese wife and daughter.

    Your blog brings to mind another blog I just read, by an ambitious young woman, who wants more out of life: http://angelaejkoh.com/

    yamabuki

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  98. Sophia- your mothers book was a joy to read being a mom myself I totally get what she was trying to do and recognized the moment when she just thought ok enough!lol but I think your mother needs to write fiction because she has a terrific gift for words....and I'm reading your blog because you had a inner strength in you that I am sooooooo looking forward to hearing about as you deal with university and career...I like your families perspective and humor and I'm hoping you will have a blast in school( but still get 90's lol)

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  99. I'm a parent who wasn't pushed enough as a kid (who resisted being pushed).

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  100. 38 y/o single female. Been reading about the book, Tiger Moms etc from Laineygossip.com
    Got the link for your blog from that website.

    I love the book. I agree with the concepts and I think you are going to have a bright future! Congratulations on Yale and Harvard!

    I grew up with loving parents who were strict. Not Tiger Parents though. They told me to do the best that I can and that will be what they expect. Kind of wish they had pushed me more.

    Hopefully I'll have a crack at being a Tiger Mom one day soon.

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  101. Please correct me if I am wrong - but even though your maternal grandparents where raised in the Philippines - they are not Chinese/Filipino mixed. There are a lot of "Chinoys" in the Philippines - but from what I have read in your mother's other book, your grandparents are not. Your mother goes into detail about the role of Filipinos as servants in your great-grandparents' home.

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  102. I'm 30. Went back to school finally lisenting to my mother..

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  103. Loved your mom's book and love your post. You are freaking hilarious.

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  104. hahaha. so what angry strangers say doesn't matter but what nice strangers say is super important. nice headstart on just listening to what you want to hear, which is how your mom came up with these crappy theories of hers.

    no use replying, never coming back to this blog. have a boring average life.

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  105. Great idea starting your blog. I think you will have lots to share especially on your college life at Harvard or Yale. Good Luck!

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  106. You are seriously HILARIOUS! I am enjoying reading your posts! :)

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  107. Hi Sophia!

    I'm sort of a "tiger cub". My mother was not so much a strict person regarding academics, but morals in general. "No hanging out after school, no boyfriend, no dating unless you're looking for marriage, etc." I didn't go to Harvard because it was too far away and I was encouraged not to venture too far away from home because there may be 'bad influences' and it would have 'changed' me.

    I was a high school valedictorian. I played the violin as a child, but gave it up for piano. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with an emphasis in piano and completed a Master of Arts. I am earning a second Master's degree before the Ph.D (in an undetermined field).

    Do you think that you will change because you are moving away from home to attend Harvard? (My mother thought that this would happen to me, so I'm wondering...)

    I wish you the best! :)

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  108. I wish your mom would write a parent handbook. Everyone needs a little push and I'm going to be doing the same to my son and myself.

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  109. Hi:

    Just wanted to let you know you are a nice hit on www.koreabusinesscentral.com. It is a site for people who live or are connected to Korea. Chinese moms are also well known here as ajjumas. Korean moms...

    For myself, a child, depending on who they are, needs an individual approach based on strength(I see you got by starting this blog), intelligence (you seem to have that) and the discernment to realize that life is not one size fits all (I have no clue if you have that).

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  110. ok, so i'm a 14 year old girl and i find your blog incredibly interesting. you are so different from what i'd expect and you seem like a fun and energetic person who has discipline - which is good. oh ! and you're really pretty. and i just want to know: how did you handle all the pressure while growing up. from playing the piano constantly to academics, it seems so hard for someone so young. i've been playing the piano for most of my life and i'm really focused when it comes to academics, but i could never imagine being in your position. one would think that you need a little fun growing up......and i don't mean fun by playing math games ;)

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  111. I am a twenty-five year old Master's student, and I read your mom's book earlier this year in one sitting. I can tell from your blog that you, like your mother, have a terrific sense of humor.

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  112. Hey there, I just got connected to your site from a post on Yahoo, and haven't really heard much about your "Tiger Mother" but was drawn into the article. So for whatever it's worth this seems like it'll be an awesome blog to read, and your background makes it that much more interesting. Every parenting style is different and is seems to have worked out GREAT for you, way to go! =]
    -oh, and I'm a mother of two by the way.

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  113. Hi, I'm an educator in Minnesota. I found a link to your blog on Yahoo.

    I haven't read your Mom's book, but maybe I will this summer.

    Good luck to you at college!

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  114. Hi My Name is Leah,
    and no i have not read your mothers book. I've heard all the media crap being said about her and By your wit and wonderful sense of humor you seem to be just fine. Though i think people mistake strict for unloving. and it seems to me that you are a well rounded person i don't see what the big deal is on how you were raised. Congrats on your acceptance in to two of the best Ivy league schools around and Goodluck in life!

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  115. I've been following the controversy surrounding your mother's book and am finally going to order it and sit down to read it. I'm pregnant and by reading the book I hope to learn how I can begin torturing my child sooner rather than later. Really, though, I believe there is a lot of truth to what your mom says about people putting their children on pedestals in which they do not belong. If I hear one more thing on facebook about how well so-and-so's child did in their t-ball match, I'm going to scream. Yay- your child can hit a ball off of a stick, I'm sure they will end up with a Nobel Peace Prize.

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  116. Demographic: teenager.
    Reason for being here: I read you're mothers book and it was HYSTERICAL.

    I cannot believe that you're not only brilliant and hard working and talented, but also really funny with a crisp, conversational writing style! It's. Just. Too. Much.
    You should just stop this blog. It makes it impossible to imagine that there is anything wrong with tiger parenting or tiger cubs.

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  117. I am a parent and I LOVE your Mom's book, I found it to be entertaining, and reminded me quite a bit of my own upbringing. Growing up, I did not agree with how stern my parents were, but now, as a parent, I fully appreciate it. Good Luck in all your endeavors

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  118. Tell your mother GREAT JOB!!! If more Americans were a little more strict with their kids, maybe our schools and society wouldn't be in such a horrible state!! I am tough on my kids and I am not going to back down! Kids need guidance, I'll save the friendships for people my age!!!

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  119. You asked.
    I'm a parent who has a tiny-bit of tiger and wishes she had more. Love to know what kind of parent you think you'll be.

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  120. I am a 31-year-old mom of 2 girls, Abby 6 and Lucy 3. I read your mom's book and was impressed by her dedication to you two. As someone who has the sense to recognize many tongue-in-cheek moments in the book, I find it courageous of her to offer such raw honesty. The distance between wanting the best for your children and actually creating an environment where discipline and work ethic can grow is greater than most parents are willing to go. Reading the book validated the way I run my Mexican/Irish household and I certainly hope my daughters grow to be as happy, successful and well-adjusted as you and Lulu seem to be. I wish you the best college has to offer!
    ~~Carmie

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  121. hey tiger cub :-)

    do you plan on studying abroad? i went to brazil and absolutely loved it! if you do study abroad, where do you think you would go?

    love your blog, although it's seriously distracting lol... advice for college: try your best not to procrastinate. avoid it, if at all possible. seriously, it's awful.

    and if you are still deciding on where to go, remember that you'll have the option to go to the other for grad school most likely, so make the decision based on where you feel most comfortable. im in grad school at harvard right now and i love it way more than i thought i would.

    i think getting away from your parents would def be a good experience, but it's always nice to have their support and be able to live close to home is nice when you're having those really bad days... if you ever get those! lol.

    good luck with everything!

    p.s. some ppl are hella mean on here... laugh it off, they r def haters.

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  122. In response to your demographic request I am a father of two boys, 13 and 9, married to a Malaysian. Good for you on your sense of humor, one of life's most important assets. As a parent I lean toward being a tiger dad. Your family is of interest as I think you've done a lot right and achieved much. But wow, I can't imagine going to Yale or Harvard. I went to U. C. Berkeley but wouldn't do it again. All three are just leftist indoctrination camps.

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  123. My name is Megan. I'm a recent college grad (job hunting). I really just wanted to learn more about you & your family. I found your blog from a post about your mom & your response to all of her criticism.

    I will admit, when I fist heard about your mother's book, I was outraged! All I read was what they posted on the Wall Street Journal, so I didn't get all of your mom's humor because what they posted was, too me, not humorous. Then I saw her do some interviews. I really started to like her. I haven't read her book yet, although I intend to.

    I'm more like you, I could sleep until noon if allowed.lol

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  124. So excited you started this blog! I'm currently reading your mom's book and am so intrigued by the controversy surrounding it. I'm a 28-year-old mother of three (ages almost 4, 2, and almost 7 months), with an MA in Counseling, married to a pastor. I'm looking forward to hearing about your college adventures and how you assimilate new perspectives and experiences into your unique worldview.

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  125. I read all the articles in the Wall Street Journal including the great question answer stuff by your mom in the WSJ. After reading it all I called my mom and told her I wish she would have been a little more like the "Tiger Mom". Not that I have any complaints about my mom, but your mom has many incredible ideas to think about. Now you come along and I'm impressed...Harvard, great sense of humor, etc. Congratulations to you and your family. Demographic: 53 Yrs, Male, Real Estate, Recreation, living in Boise ID

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  126. PS. Do you or anyone in your family get into politics? And what is your mom's view on the state of education?

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  127. Loved, loved, loved your mom's book. I know some peeps in this country have a hard time reading it....they just don't get the humor in it. She reminds me a lot of my mom, just with a 20 year age difference. Basically same part of the world as far as culture goes, just a different country (she's Thai). People here raise their kids with the "I'm gonna be my kids best friend" mentality instead of being a parent. It's completely different from my mom always telling us, "I'm your mother, not your friend." And I totally get what she meant by it. Anyway...no matter what is said, or done, people are always going to have an opinion and go overboard or misinterpret what they read. They'll just never understand because they don't want to. And from one "Tiger cub" to another: Keep up the good work.

    As for demo info...Asian/American married, full time student (grad school) with kids between the ages of 11 and 7, 30 years old.

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  128. ok I am somewhat confused and slightly concerned...your mother hopefully in her actions doesn't thwart you...your blogging...i see this on a major website YAHOO...no less so its not like your passions have been compromised ...so you look like the gorgeous mother of yours....your not poor....your going to go to a great school....you have exception beauty...why are you complaining or did I miss the whole thing? now your mothers view are slightly off but aren't we all ...you can find me on yahoo....aka diogee_x

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  129. I'm a parent and a psychologist and I'm interested in seeing how parents affect their children in ways they hadn't anticipated. I'd like to hear your opinion about your upbringing when you are 27. I find that folks your age generally aren't in a place where they can entertain too much ambivalence about how they were raised...sometimes things just need a little time to percolate.

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  130. Dear tiger cub,
    moms like tiger mom are a must especially in the US, where kids are stereotyped as wild child druggies. Well that's what I usually hear or read from the media and btw I'm not a US citizen. You have to thank your mom for her efforts that have made you into who you are right now, such a well-rounded person. Your mom might be strict when it comes to rules but she too has a heart made of cotton. Good luck! I know you're gonna go far because of your upbringing.

    PS just wondering cause you said you don't watch TV, but how did you know that xoxo is associated with gossip girl? :))

    Anyhoo I've read in your blog that you have a boyfriend. Did you encounter any problems regarding romantic relationships?? Like is your mom strict or was there a phase that she was against you having a boyfriend? HAHA i'm 19 and my mom wants me to have one but my dad on the other hand is such a tiger dad. :))

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  131. I am a graduate of a local boston college and am very intrigued by your blog. Have you picked a school yet?

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  132. I purchased your mother's book as my birthday gift to myself after seeing the review in the Wall Street Journal. I have five little ones, ages eight down to nine months. We are a homeschooling family, homeschooling year round and doing French and Latin in addition to the regular round of subjects....and, yep, the eight year old and (almost) seven year old have taken piano since age five and have just started violin. The child who is almost five starts piano in a couple of months.

    I get a lot of criticism from people for this, too...nothing of course like your Mom; I'm a stay home mother former elementary school teacher, not in the public eye -- but I have a similar philosophy -- grades lower than A aren't good enough, nothing worth doing ever came without practice....and being a homeschooling mother there may be even more pressure.....??? We are responsible for the whole deal.

    I love your sense of humor and the honesty portrayed by you and your mother. It takes a great deal of courage to be open with your life in the way your mother has been. As has been mentioned time out of mind, there is a huge difference between abuse and discipline.

    Congratulations on the wonderful piano gift that you have, and do keep us posted on what you may decide to do. I feel like I now have some backup for certain accusers who think I am torturing my children when they finally beg for a movie and I permit them to choose which Leonard Bernstein Young People's Concert they wish to view...because there's really nothing else for them to watch...although I don't make them practice six hours a day - at the moment I require 30 minutes violin, 45 piano. But that's open to change without notice.

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  133. My Caucasian daughter just married a
    Chinese man. He is an US Air Force pilot, attending medical school to become a surgeon, who eventually wants to own his own business. He relates tales of giving his mother a Mother's Day card that she tossed aside saying, "All I want is for you to be first in your class". He was 8 years old. Neither he, nor his 2 sibling sisters have anything nice to say about their parents. I thought it was near child abuse and emotional neglect, and his mother had reaped the child she had sown - a super achiever who never called her. Reading your mother's book helped me relax my judgment, and understand the cultural aspects and motives. The main difference between you and my son in law seems to be the relationships you have with your mothers. I still believe that, in the end, the priceless mother/child relationship far outweighs any child's achievement. You and Lulu are remarkable girls who have your mother to thank for investing countless hours and money into you, but I hope your love for one another is valued above it. I have 3 outstanding children( by western standards) who each have a Master's Degree and play an instrument at performance level. It took some Tiger Mothering to get them there, as I recognized in the book. I am proud of, and happy for, them...but I am am most pleased with our close relationship.

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  134. I'm a single homeschooling self-employed mom of a teen boy. A bit of a "tiger" myself, I've protected him, not let him do everything that "everybody else" is doing; forbade him to watch most kids TV after he topped the age of 5, instead opting to expose him to copious amounts of classic TV and film. But he has TONS of freedom personally when deciding what to do and when to do it -- as regards chores, media, how to spend his earned and gifted money -- even how and what we'll focus on in school)He's incredibly creative, has a sharp mechanical mind and would like his first job to be a business he starts. His taste in music is cool and eclectic (Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and Duke Ellington) He's independent and confident, but realistic about his own shortcomings, has a very dry, sharp wit. In fact, via your writing, I suspect you may be much alike in spite of your different (though maybe not so different) upbringings. A parents' job is to protect, guide and then throw out of the nest when baby bird can fly. You throw them out too soon, SPLAT. It ain't pretty. Good job, Tiger Mom and her gals!

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  135. I'm so amused by your blog, the sarcasm just makes my day lol. I haven't experienced the same amount of strictness that your mom imposed on you, but something similar in the latin-american-cuban way, and I have to say, it earned me a full ride to my local university here in Miami and I'm more than happy with the results.

    Keep going for what you love and be proud of where you come from!

    Will be keeping up with this blog :)

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  136. Hi,
    I'm currently a junior in high school and my grades aren't as great but my motivation is very great. I haven't been doing so great in school and I would really like to. Do you have any ideas for someone who wishes she could even dream of apply to such prestigious colleges.
    Not a blog reader, but I really love this one!

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  137. Perfectionist control freaks are hard to live with. I speak from experience.

    Does anyone really believe the Road to Happiness is lined with thousands of hours of piano practice and always wanting to be the best?

    In one respect Amy Chua certainly has more in common with the values of the current Chinese Dictatorship than with the values of a free nation like America: Complete disregard of individual liberty.

    And harsh treatment will beget harsh character.

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  138. You wanted to know who"s out here reading your blog. Likelihood you see this I would think is slim to none, but here ya go anyway.

    I'm a 39 year old woman, twice divorced, non-parent(by choice), although I do have horses and a canary.

    I do hypnotherapy, Equine assited therapy, and teach horseback riding lessons. Even though I am not a parent, I work and spend time with humans of all ages every day, from about 3 months old to friends I have in their 70s.

    Outside of people my own age, most of the people I spend time with are between 6 and 23 years old.

    I have not read your mother's book, nor do I intend to - the controversy around it is enough for me.

    I read your blog because I am interested in balance. It seems, like most of us, that you have had challenges and successes, and that you are still you, even though you have been guided by your upbringing. Seems like you might be a little less 'normal' than most Americans, and a wee bit smarter and connected than most, both of which I think are GREAT!

    Good luck - and stay true to YOURSELF!!!

    ; )

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  139. Hi Sophia!
    I am a young professor who is starting to think about having a family of my own. I started following the Tiger Mom controversy b/c I'm ambivalent about how I'd like to raise my children one day. To be honest, I found your mom's approach inspiring, and it made me want to hear your own opinions on your upbringing. Thanks for starting this blog and voicing your perspective! This is an extremely important issue, and I am glad that our country is having the Tiger Mom debate.
    Kristen

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  140. Oh, for the love of Mike, you were supposed to be screwed up and humorless. What fresh hell IS this blog??? Quit being rather delightful, would you? (So saidith the 40-something mother of one, for your demographic pleasure.)

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  141. Hi,
    I am currently a freshman in college and for my english class we had to write a paper on your mom's book. Let me say I have some respect for your mom because no matter what people said around her she stuck to her principles. As for you, I'm glad you are sticking up for your family because it shows how well your parents raisied you. I hope you keep writing because this is very interesting!

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  142. Hi Sophia! Very happy to see your blog :) I'm Chinese American mom of one 10 year old girl who is half-Caucasian. I absolutely LOVED your mom's book, have shared it with my husband and my coworkers (teachers). Good luck with your college decision!

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  143. Congrats on your academic success! Obviously, your mother did a wonderful job bringing you and your sister up. It will be interesting to see if you raise your children in a similar manner. How about your Dad? Do you have a good relationship with him? P.S. Your boyfriend is a lucky guy.

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  144. i'm an illustrator. married. army life. mid-20's. :) and we're also Chua's on my chinese side. i kidded around with my hubby and some cousins about maybe being related because we knew a bit of what your mom was talking about. then again i'm sure it's not just the Chua's in the world who can relate :p

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  145. I adore your family. Don't worry about what anyone says. Just be yourself. I am white American male married to Indonesian woman with one Chinese grandmother. We have two cute daughters, Saraswati and Athena. My wife is kind of a tiger mom.

    One of my ancestors, Thomas Dudley, wrote the charter for Harvard. One of my other ancestors, Abigail Pierson, is sister of Abraham Pierson, one of the men who founded Yale.

    I would never be able to get into either. I taught myself to write poetry, and I got a MS in Cartography. Thomas Dudley's daughter, Anne Bradstreet, the Puritan poet is my ancestor 13 generations. I taught my daughters to write poetry and they are still in grade school.

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  146. Are those your legs pictured in this post, or is that some generic image? Lovely.

    If thats you, I'd request that you post more picts of yourself.

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  147. Grad student here, fellow Tiger child (immigrant parents, yes, so the "we sacrificed for you" guilt is strong in this one). My mom used to make me re-do my homework if it wasn't neat enough, even if all the answers were correct. Foreign language, gymnastics, and dance during the afternoons. I have no musical talents (my good ear mostly applies to languages), unfortunately, but my younger brother is a fantastic piano player.

    I loved your mom's stories and I've been getting caught up in your blog posts because they remind me a lot about my own upbringing. Those who are appalled by the methods our parents used tend to forget that 1) they were done out of love and 2) they work.

    Anyway, long comment. Good luck in your first year of college.

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  148. I like your Mother's book. I have read it twice. It doesn't matter what other think, it is quite obvious she is a good mother and her daughters are well grounded. Now I would love for her to write a book about your Father and marriage.

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  149. You have bloomed where you are planted. What a testimony of independence and frankly, a sound mind. Thanks for speaking out and not letting anyone break your spirit. We're not horses after all, and you're not a timid girl. It makes a mom who has raised three children to be who they really are "SO PROUD!!!" It works, it really does!
    I will be following everything you have to say. Even though my middle daughter married someone I didn't really want her to marry, I'm still so thankful she felt free to do just that!

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  150. I'm glad you are speaking out. Being Chinese growing up in the US it's fascinating to see the reaction to your mother's book. It seems that the vocal and angry critics cannot handle a different way of child rearing. If you only have good genes but no one pushed you to your limits, you are not going to be as successful as you are today. That is just a simple fact. It is up to the wise parent to figure out the potential of the children and tailor the nurturing process accordingly.

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  151. Hey if it makes you feel better I think your mom and mine have something in common. My mother is what we call a Yiddisher Mother, or Jewish mother, and although I have not read your mothers book, I have read a few excerpts. I may not agree completely with your mothers methods, but I did find a lot of similarities between your mother and mine.
    Amy Chua made an excellent point on Western Parenting (I don't count in that). Parents are to soft and aren't harsh and pushy when they should be. Check out the Yiddishe Mama, A guide to the Jewish mother. It may not be as controversial as your Mother's book, but it did cause a bit of a stur from cranky, humorless American Jewish mothers, who cannot be truly constituted as the Yiddishe Mama. A title that not all Jewish mothers can posses. For being a mother of the Jewish religion is one thing, but to be a Jewish Mother is completely another. I loved the book and so did my Yiddishe Mama and my Aunt another Yiddishe Mama.

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  152. I think that what surprised the most about your education is that your mother doesn't have any doubts about what she is doing. Most parents, like me, struggle thinking what is best for our children.

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  153. I read your mother's book and I just loved it. We are raising our daughter as an Italian in the US and the challenges of keeping our culture are huge. I totally get the no play date or sleep over thing - you work so hard to bring your child up a certain way and you don't want it to get ruined in just a few hours.

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  154. Sophia, congratulations on your acceptance to Harvard. I don't think anyone doubted that your mother's parenting tactics would result in academic success. Our concern was rather that her parenting tactics would result in children who have some other problems...either self esteem issues, bitterness and anger, or depression. Hard to say how you are affected as you are still young and you are still going to defend your mother publicly. If you dared to humiliate your mother she would probably have your head wouldn't she? Your mother has confused academic success with success in general. Academic success means getting into Harvard for your mother. Success for most Americans means growing up to be a secure, content, and happy adult. There may be a few children who grow up to be secure and happy despite having a mother like yours. But most won't. We know a Chinese man whose mother was very much like your mother. He married, had children, and now is a father who has anger management issues. He takes it out on his children. It is hard to grow up normally when your mother is anything but normal.

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  155. I am a 39 yr old mother from the Chicago area, who came by your story via yahoo top stories. I had never heard of your family or your mother's book prior to reading. A link brought me to your page where I was expecting to read a blog from a quiet, meek little girl who is fragile and scared. What a breath of fresh air you are. You are neither meek or fragile and you certainly don't seem scared. You seem like a well rounded normal young woman who is getting ready to go to University and enjoy life and build yourself into anything you want to be. I have not read your mother's book so it would be unfair of me to pass any kind of judgement on her. Yet I do know that if a mother is taking the time to raise her children and teach them skills that will make there life easier and more productable in the future, is a loving mother. I wish you all the best in everything you do.

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  156. When i first heard about your Mom and her book, I automatically became impressed by her approach to parenting. I always believed that children are not asked if they want to do something, they are told what to do. My ex wife and i did not share the same approach. I believed in education first, all else follows. At the end I lost the battle and my children lost their education and many other things. I love my kids immensly and i am to blame for not choosing the right partner. I admire your Mom and Dad for not caring about 'being cool and nice' and looking after you and your sister's future. I admire you for now understanding what your parents want for their children. Its a though world out there. Cheers.. Rob..

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  157. I wince when I hear the words Tiger Mother. My mother is also Asian and was extremely strict with my brother and me. She used to hit us relentlessly, forced us outside in the cold with barely any clothes on when we failed to obey her, and even traumatized my western father with verbal abuse.

    My brother is now a heroin addict dying of Hep C, and I am a recovering drug addict who ended up in a string of abusive relationships, not to mention other dangerous activities.

    I'm glad you excelled under such pressure, but this is not a parenting style I would ever push.

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  158. I'm a Dad, on the look-out for a wife for my oldest son (Princeton '09), thinking of what a blessing your mother is. You and your family are delightful, funny, beautiful, and truly positive forces of nature! I'd love to read your FATHER'S blog, as I'm certain that he'd be hilarious in describing his blessings.

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  159. This is the first, but not the last, visit for me...I was definitely curious when I saw the headline about Tiger Mother's daughter blogging. I did wonder what you would be like...and now I see, you're pretty incredible!

    As a magazine editor I have to say I judge people by their writing style...and yours is entertaining and smart. You've clearly not been deprived!

    I will definitely be back. So glad you've started your blog to dispel all of the stuff that has been written about you, your sister and your mom. I have felt that it's great that she's contributed (perhaps) another approach to parenting as I am the mom of an 18-month-old, and think we as parents can pick up bits and pieces from other philosophies and approaches and make it our own...and I do see merit in her approach. After all, you've turned out really well! (So far...don't go TOO crazy at college!!)

    :-)

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  160. And btw, for demographics...I'm a 44 year old married stay at home mother. I hope that you write a blog after you are married and have children over the age of seven. I think your perspective will begin to change then.

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  161. Sophia, I finished the book yesterday and I loved it! In some parts it was very funny, and in other parts it was thought-provoking. I am taking classical guitar lessons, and as an adult beginner I was inspired by the sections of the book on learning the piano and violin. I wish that I had a Tiger Mom when I was growing up. Tell your mother hello and that I am a big fan of the Tiger Mom!

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  162. I didn't have a Tiger Mother growing up but I did have Tiger Father. Growing up with a strict parent was hard, but I was disciplined and didn't run around causing trouble. Maybe being strict comes with being an old school Asian parent?

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  163. Loved your mom's book. I'm a mommy of 2- a 5yr. old and 3yr old, live in so. cal.. and am a hard ass like your mom. She's pretty much my hero. Believe it or not I'm a white mom with an Asian hubby, I think have the Asian parenting style and he got the so called western parenting style. I can only hope that my children have the daunting task of choosing Harvard or Yale. congrats, to you and your parents they did an awesome job.

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  164. I am a 29yr old mother of a 7yr old daughter and stepmother of a 10yr old boy and 6yr old girl. My daughter, by blood, is very much overly disciplined. She has a set bedtime, is not allowed to slack at school and candy or coke, forget about it. Here is an example of how well “trained” she is. She comes to me with one piece of candy and asks if she can have it, I tell her “no” and she says “ok” and puts it back in her candy jar in her room. If and when I do cave and say yes, of course she has already had lunch or dinner, she will raise both eyebrows and ask again to make sure she didn’t hear wrong.
    My stepson is a dream but my stepdaughter is something else. Bedtime, whenever she finally falls asleep; school, sad faces at least two times a week; candy and coke, a pacifier to stop the crying and screaming when told no and that candy in the jar in her room, no way we would put one in her room! She lives with her non disciplinary Mother but when she stays the weekend with her Dad she comes to rules and me, the evil stepmother.
    My 7yr old was born and raised on discipline. She still loves me to pieces and no matter how many times I tell her she can’t go over to a friend’s house for a sleepover, no to staying up late, or the battle to make her shower every night, no one could ever make her love me less.
    Your mother obviously did a great job with you, seeing how grounded and well spoken you are. I clicked on your blog out of curiously to see if being a stronger disciplinary worked without jeopardizing the love you have for your mom or causing you to need serious counseling for your “tiger mom” issues! Looks like I will be grapping your mothers book to see what I need to work on to continue my path of a true Tiger Mom.

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  165. I love your blog. Period.

    From Malaysia with love (not a James Bond reference either, apparently I have a pre-historic T-Rex for my mom)(Kidding, I love my mom. Say hello to your mom for me)

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  166. Hello Sophia,

    You are a witty one!

    As a teacher, I have observed a variety of parenting styles and your mother's, while harsh to some, is not uncommon for many cultures. Some of my students have responded to the strict discipline by rebelling, some with overwhelming and often unbearable stress, and others are like you-balanced.

    I believe your mother has tapped into your full potential. You are beautiful, incredibly intelligent, and, through your blog I am gathering that you are full of life. I wish you a lifetime of continued successes and happiness. You will face disappointments, but with your upbringing, I am sure you will handle all life has to offer with grace and dignity.

    I do have one question for you. Will you raise your children as your mother raised you?

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  167. I read your blog and think you are quite a well grounded kid. Way to go not letting what other people you don't even know bother you. Good luck picking your school

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  168. I'm a 34 year old mother of an 8 year old boy. My mother was born in Taiwan and dad is American (of European ancestry). My mom was definitely Tiger Mom-ish (my younger sister and I both played classical music; no dating allowed; strict rules at home; any grades less than an A were met with strong disapproval; withholding of affection) but we both rebelled in our 20s from our upbringing. I have dealt with many personal issues including low self-confidence, need-to-please tendencies, secret perfectionist, etc. that I attribute directly to my childhood. I am raising my son different from the example set by my mother -- I tell him I love him every day, show him that it's okay to make mistakes and life will still go on, and show him by example not by withholding activities or the inability to experience the pleasurable things in life. Yes, it's important to grow up to be strong, self-sufficient, and smart. But there many approaches to take as a parent. And there is a price to pay for the more extreme approaches as well.

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  169. I just hope that your mother doesn't call you everyday, or visit everyday for that matter. I was able to wean my parents away from daily phone calls by texting "I'm in the library studying, sorry" whenever they called. Good luck on your "Semi-bubble" independence!

    Demographics: 23 year old male, just graduated from Boston College.
    Note: I haven't read your mother's book. yet.

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  170. I don't see what the big deal is about how your Mom raised you. To me, the reason most kids are obnoxious, self-centered, and lacking in morals is because parents now-a-days are too soft. They aren't raising kids, they are raising future adults! I give kudos to your Mom and it helps me to keep in mind how I want to raise my daughter.
    P.S. Obviously it worked, seeing as you got accepted to two great colleges and you seem very down to earth :)

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  171. You and your sister are living proof of tiger-mom's vision for you two and her 'gentle' guidelines have succeeded. It is so true that - "there is no pain no gain" and "there is no free lunch". Congratulations to tiger-mom for a well-done job.

    We heard so much about tiger-mom and you girls. Please tell us how is tiger-dad like? Is he even a 'tiger' at all?

    The 'solid' foundation has been build, now you can go enjoy building your creative on top of it - the sky is the limit. How does be the first Chinese American president sound?

    Enjoy the rest of the ride!!

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  172. Plus, is that you in that picture ? If it is, I like your style :D

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  173. I am a 34 yr old at-home mom of two boys, ages 8 and 5. My book club read your mom's book and I saw that you started a Blog on my Yahoo News update, good for you! :) I found you, your sister, and your mom (and dad!) fascinating.

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  174. Hi Sophia,

    I have a sort of new spin into this whole Tiger Mom= success thing.

    How much do you feel that your current success was due to having parents who are very educated and have the monetary means for opportunities? The more I read the book, the more I see it as a success due to these factors. I doubt someone who grew up in poverty with uneducated parents can get as far as you have even if their parents were "tiger parents"

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  175. I fit into the "somewhere in between" category. I had my daughter when I was 18 going on 19 (I was pregnant my senior year, although no one knew. Actually no one knew until a month before I had her.) I'm not with her father anymore (we dated for 3 years but were never married) however, we do have custody orders in place and he is in her life. Anyway, I'm now 21 and a single, full time working, mother to a beautiful, brillant (and I'm really not bragging she is extremely intelligant!), out going two year old. I would say that I've grown up and matured very quickly and that I am very responsible and take care of my business. I was raised in a Southern Baptist home and my parents were strict-ish (not at the level of strictness you were raised at) but pretty much let us learn some hard life lessons on our own. Part of me really wants to have the "Gilmore Girls" relationship with my daughter but the other part of me really wants to take the approch your mother took. I know either way I'll make mistakes and she will ultimately be who she wants/is destined to be, but I pray I don't screw her up! If you were in my situation, how would you approch parenting? Thanks! And, sorry for the novel! :)

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  176. I'm a mom who thinks your mom rocks. :)

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  177. Hello! I'm so glad to have found your blog. I've read several articles about your mom's book and it's been on my must-read list for awhile now. Demographics: 24, married, Nashville TN. Came across your blog because of the hype surrounding your book. I've never heard of tiger parenting before, but I think it's an excellent concept. And your sense of humor and wit is proof enough that you weren't traumatized into a weak soul! Good luck in college- I'm sure you'll make out fine!

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  178. Dear Sophia:

    I don't know if you will have a chance to read all these responses. Contemporary life is a busy business, after all!

    I am a 51-year-old father of a talented, hard-working, high school junior daughter. I take the Wall Street Journal by subscription, and read your mother's book so as to judge the work in its entirety. I knew that there would be a conversation stir as soon as I read the excerpt, but I didn't want to further the misinformation by judging a work I hadn't read! (I don't find others reluctant to do so.)

    My daughter was grappling with maintaining first-chair status in our area's best youth symphony, so there were many ways to relate.

    One of the constant conversational oversights that I encounter when trying to discuss the book with other parents -- most of whom, of course, are making judgments without having read it! -- is that there is an expectation that there is a successful American parenting "norm," the deviation away from which is to be suspect.

    Your mother repeatedly asks, rhetorically, versions of (sorry if she dismisses my paraphrase) "Well how is YOUR approach working?

    Sometimes, it MUST be the case, we must all learn to persevere!

    Best of luck to you. I think my daughter would enjoy your company. I know she'd like your sense of humor! Maybe you'll run into each other over the years.

    John

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  179. I tried to post this but it was too long so---- PART 1

    Hi Sophia,
    You have a great attitude and obviously are turning out very well. I'm very happy for you and your blog is very witty! I'm Chinese-American was raised by a "lite" version of a tiger-mom also (maybe not as strict as yours) and thought this true story that might interest you. (and you can share it with your Mom if you want)

    So I'll start by telling you that I didn't do as well at first in the Tiger Mom system. I have ADD and I didn't like my teachers because they didn't seem that smart to me and unlike my siblings that went to Harvard and Yale I didn't get good grades. I always did well on standardized tests however and I still got Bs but to Tiger parents that is a failure as you know. haha.

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  180. Continued from above ......

    After college, I wanted to prove I could outdo my tiger siblings and Tiger Mom philosophy so I went into sales instead of being a doctor or engineer. I wanted to show there were other ways to make it in this world than working for a big company as a top recruit.

    So I struggled at first, but I figured it out. Once I got the hang of it, I never looked back. Within my first year, I was the top performer and billed over a million dollars and made more than my tiger Mom and tiger siblings ever made. A decade later, I am running a multi-million dollar business. My tiger siblings are doing well with high base salaries in respected jobs, but I am the only one that is wealthy and I make more than my older siblings combined (or than my parents ever did.)

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  181. I read your mom's book and loved it! I laughed and cried with her. I was hoping she would have a blog!! I am a mom with 2 daughters(11 and 7) and a baby boy. I'm trying to become tiger mom-ish. It's not easy!!! Good luck to you!

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  182. While I may not agree with your mom 100%, I do believe that children today have way to much room to roam. Keeping your children busy learning isn't child abuse. I do believe that children should be able to interact with others on a playful and intellectual level, however if your mother stuck to traditions or created her own parenting style I think she did a great job at raising you and your sister!

    To bad more parents don't take the time with their children like your mother did with you!! You go Tiger Mom!

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  183. Now that i've found a way to succeed, my relationship with my tiger parents is fine. But it was very difficult growing up being the black sheep.

    The moral of the story is
    1) Tiger parenting can work even when it doesn't work I suppose. Even though I went against the grain, I still give credit to Tiger parenting for enforcing some fundamentals.

    2) Even if you don't succeed in the tiger parent system to tiger parenting standards, it does not mean you will not succeed in life.

    3) Those who have achieved great accolades in the academic world need to realize that what it takes for financial success is very different than what it takes to achieve academic success.

    4) Never underestimate the power of the desire for success. Tiger parents look for results, but they sometimes they don't realize that there is nothing more important in life than an INTERNAL burning desire to succeed and the resilience to follow through. Your kids need to want to succeed for themselves, not for you.

    5) Tiger parents often preach following directions perfectly. It's important as a tiger kid to sometimes go outside the box and create as creativity is the most valuable commodity above knowledge. As a musician, I hope you will spend a lot of time writing music and creating your own songs as tiger parents usually only preach playing classical music perfectly. (yes, we all played piano as well - haha - not nearly as well as you of course)

    I'm telling you all of these things because I believe that the greatest gift you can have it to have HIGHER goals and aspirations than your tiger mom ever expected for you. Dreams for your future, that she would never have even imagined you would have.

    Cheers and best of luck to you.

    Evan

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  184. Hi! I'm a 43-year-old. My dad was a control freak to the max. I was kept like a cloistered nun during grade & high school - extremely sheltered, controlled and restricted. Even though I graduated top in my class, was very intelligent and accomplished, I was not at all prepared for college. There is so much more to it than just academics. I was not at all prepared for failure and didn't know how to deal with it. I was also very burned out by the time I got to college. I hate to tell you but at some point in college, you will probably fail (ie not get the highest grade in the class) at something. You will meet someone smarter and more accomplished than you. You will also be confronted by social situations that you won't know how to handle. Don't wig out. I got extremely depressed and became suicidal because I didn't have the tools to deal with life outside of my sheltered cage. If you ever get to that point, please seek help. Therapy and anti-depressants did wonders for me. I will pray that your college experience is better than mine was. Good luck & God be with you.

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  185. I am 20 and I am just looking to see what kind of person you are. I am just interested in how you deal with stress (I think you may have dealt with it a lot). I am in my Second year of college. I am looking to be a nurse but I am curious to see how determined you think you will be once you are no longer under your mother's roof. Do you get phone/text time with your friends and boyfriend or do you only speak to them at school?

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  186. I find it great that you have decided to show the world you are an individual and not some robot or person in a boook. Congratulations on having such a difficult decision between Harvard and Yale. My parents were very watchful of me growing up and for that I am very greatful. You are totally right to show the world your individuality while respecting your mothers image at the same time. I can only hope and pray that there are more people your age whoCongratulations ladies on being wonderful individuals who love and respect their mother. have their priorities in order as far as what they want to be in life and who they are.

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  187. I am a new parent and was also raised by a Tiger Mom just like your mother. As a child, I absolutely hated the way my parents raised me (no sleepovers, no boyfriends, no drama classes!) but now that I have a daughter of my own, I totally understand why they did it. Admittedly, I was very bitter towards them for a long time. But now I fully appreciate what it is to be a mother and want only the best for your child. It is not easy being a Tiger Mom. It's so much easier to just let your child do whatever they want to do. To those that ask you whether you will raise your child in the Tiger Mom way - I can tell you that there's no way you can know until you have a child of your own. I didn't until I had my daughter and I'm 32. If you asked me at 18, I would have said "Hell, no."
    Congratulations on your acceptance to the top schools. You'll have the time of your life in college!

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  188. Do you have any advice on how to improve sight-reading skills?

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  189. You seem like an awesome girl.

    Granted, I'd have curled in a ball and cried if I had a Tiger Mom raise me. My Mom was strict (she was an Officer in the Air Force) but I recall watching a lot of TV. And whining about quitting piano lessons, which she allowed me to do, probably so I'd shut up.

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  190. Really I'm just enjoying you prove to all the parents who are terrified of being anything other than a friend to their children that you're not only achieving success but also socially fine with a sense of humor :)
    I'm 22 and attending college in Chicago.
    I honestly wish my mom had been more like yours when it came to discipline- I feel like I would have done better my first couple years in college that way :(
    Keep blogging and Congrats!

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  191. Sophia, you seem like a lovely young person. I'm a mom of 2 elementary school boys and I run a tight ship. I've received criticism for not letting them watch TV, stay up late, play random sports or have sleep overs and I think it comes from people reflecting thier parenting fears onto me. Somehow they take what I don't allow as a criticism for them allowing thier children to do those things - which isn't the case at all. Also, I think that you scare the crap out of these parents who have given thier children everything and then wonder why they become adults who can't communicate, assimilate or balance a checkbook. I look forward to hearing great things about you.

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  192. A Half of A Tiger MomApril 20, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am half tiger mom...LOL My kids have rules and I expect a lot from them. I admired your mom's work and I love your sense of humor. Keep it up! --A Mom with 2 Asian Kids

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  193. 24yo, Graduate student and fellow tiger cub. Your mom's book is really great, and I think your whole family seems awesome. I know it must be obnoxious to have so much media attention and all these people talking about how you must be so scarred, but the book was really refreshing. I remember being in high school and how so many of my friends had very strict parents (not as bad as yours were, or really, not as bad as how everyone thinks yours were). However, despite seeing the reality of strict parenting, in the media, the portrayal of parents was always of two befuddled adults who essentially let their children run amok; it was hard to rationalize the difference. While your family is much more extreme than my friends' and my families, it's still much more easy to relate.
    What I really want to know is what you want to do with your life (in terms of career). I know you said you wanted to stay away from Pre-med/law/etc because you wanted to stay away from predefined tracks, but I'm not sure what you mean by that, after all, you do a lot of different things with an MD that aren't on a predefined route. But regardless, I was wondering what you were thinking about as far as your career and how that has changed over time.

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  194. Hi Sophia,

    Please explain to me (and the world) why your mom thinks that playing the violin or piano is morally superior to playing the guitar or acting in a school play.

    Thanks.

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  195. 27yo university graduate - mother to a 2yo son. Mostly nosey, but interested in your mother's parenting style - and in turn, you as a person as a result of her parenting.

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  196. Yay for you, good luck at college.

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  198. I personally admire your mother.
    I am from Indonesia, and has just migrated to Michigan.
    We need more Mom like yours to have a better America, full of success stories, invention, positive and energy.

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  199. Hi! I'm engaged to be married and the notion of having children is often thrusted in my face. I must say, after reading your mother's book (and as a product of strict upbringing myself), my future children will be brought up more strict than others, because there is a 'real world' out there and it's tough!!

    Best of luck wherever you decide to go to school- I'll second the advice up top, "party hard, study harder!!" and just have fun :) you only get 4 short years.

    Have fun!!

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  200. Love the blog and applaud you for the way you've chosen to handle the media, critics, and other judgemental people hurling insults at you and your mother. I also love the humor woven into your posts! Keep up the great work and best of luck on your college adventure :)

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