I guess if child abuse comes paired with a degree from Yale, it's considered a novel and interesting way to parent. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2043313,00.html
Those words may seem strong, but throughout Amy Chau's book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," she admits to calling her two daughters names, withholding food, water and love in order to get the girls to accomplish what Chau saw as important. If this doesn't fall under both emotional and physical abuse, I can't understand why these ideas weren't backed by Dr. Spock or Alfie Kohn as good parenting techniques.
I've read her book -- something she claims is a satire on her life. Whatever the hell that means. Either you didn't allow your seven-year-old to drink water or pee in order to motivate her to learn a song on the piano, or you didn't. When my mother tried to get me interested in the piano, she gave me candy. I am not a concert pianist, my sister became one.
This is how I envision the making of Chau's book: Penguin publishers read the manuscript, knew it would create controversy over her approach, so they printed and sent it out to Barnes and Noble, counting the million of dollars from families looking for guidance. These parents, desperate for answers on how to raise a successful child, picked it up, read it, and God-forbid, applied Chau's methods. On Amazon, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" gets a three-star rating from over 300 reviews … shiver.
I guess the question is how far a parent is willing to go to make their child a success; although, I'm not entirely sure how each person defines success. While I didn't become a concert pianist, ballet dancer or attend Yale, I still think I'm a success. I've never passed out only to wake and find a tattoo on my butt, never cultivated an S.T.D., or never been unable to stand up for myself; all minor things that can be a good meter for success. I think the following interview by Stephen Colbert sums up my thoughts on Chau and her daughters who seem happy … for now.