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The Pros and Cons of Tiger Parenting: Balancing High Expectations with Emotional Well-being

The Pros and Cons of Tiger Parenting: Balancing High Expectations with Emotional Well-being

Have you ever wondered about the fine line between nurturing academic excellence and safeguarding your child’s emotional health? In the world of parenting, the concept of Tiger Parenting stands at the forefront of this intriguing puzzle. With its emphasis on discipline, high expectations, and relentless pursuit of success, Tiger Parenting ignites passionate debates and sparks curiosity about its impact on children’s well-being. Join me as we embark on a journey to explore the pros and cons of Tiger Parenting, delving into the delicate balance between fostering academic achievement and preserving the precious essence of childhood emotional resilience.

What is Tiger Parenting?

In Western society, the term “tiger parenting” was first used by Yale Law School professor and mother Amy Chua. With the publication of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua in 2011, tiger parenting gained popularity and has been a parenting buzzword for more than ten years. Chua describes in it the rigorous upbringing she gave her two children as well as the accomplishments she wanted them to have in school and outside of it. Chua notes in her book that the strong morality and ethics of Confucian thought served as the inspiration for her parenting method. 

Tiger parenting is a term coined to describe a strict, authoritarian style of parenting characterized by high expectations, rigorous discipline, and a strong emphasis on academic success. This parenting approach is often associated with parents who adopt a “tough love” mentality, pushing their children to excel academically and achieve ambitious goals. The term “tiger” is derived from the stereotype of the fierce and demanding tiger mother who exhibits strict control over her children’s lives in pursuit of excellence.

Tiger parents typically enforce strict rules and routines, closely monitor their children’s activities, and place significant pressure on them to perform well in school and extracurricular activities. They believe in setting challenging goals for their children and providing extensive support and resources to help them succeed.

Pros of Tiger Parenting

  • Academic Success: Tiger Parenting often leads to remarkable academic achievements. By instilling discipline, perseverance, and a strong work ethic from an early age, children raised under this approach frequently excel in their studies. 
  • Cultivation of Grit and Resilience: One undeniable benefit of Tiger Parenting is the cultivation of grit and resilience in children. By setting high expectations and pushing their limits, parents encourage their children to confront challenges head-on.

Cons of Tiger Parenting

  • Psychological Effects: While Tiger Parenting may yield academic success, it often comes at a cost to children’s psychological well-being. The relentless pressure to meet exceedingly high expectations can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety. 
  • Relationship Strain: Another drawback of Tiger Parenting is the strain it can place on parent-child relationships. The authoritarian nature of this approach can breed resentment and conflict, eroding the emotional bond between parents and children.

Finding Balance

Finding balance may be reasonable in this case. Here are suggestions for parents to consider in choosing their parenting style:

1. Tailor Parenting Approaches: Recognize that each child is unique and may respond differently to parenting styles. While one child may thrive in a structured environment with clear expectations and routines, another may require more flexibility and autonomy to explore their interests and develop their own strengths. For example, if one child excels academically under a strict study schedule, another may benefit from having more control over their learning pace and methods.

2. Embrace Diverse Learning Styles: Understand that children have diverse learning styles and preferences. Some may excel in traditional academic subjects, while others may thrive in creative or hands-on activities. Parents encourage your child to explore different interests and provide opportunities for them to discover their strengths and passions. For instance, if your child struggles with traditional classroom learning, consider incorporating educational games, art projects, or outdoor activities to make learning more engaging and enjoyable.

3. Create a Safe Space for Expression: Foster an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment or criticism. Listen actively to their perspectives, validating their emotions and experiences. For example, if your child expresses frustration with a challenging math assignment, acknowledge their feelings and offer support and encouragement to help them overcome obstacles.

4. Set Realistic Expectations: Be mindful of setting realistic expectations for your child based on their abilities, interests, and developmental stage. It is better to avoid placing undue pressure on them to meet unattainable standards of perfection or success. Instead, parents focus on celebrating their progress and effort, regardless of the outcome. For example, Sarah, a former athlete, dreams of her son James following in her footsteps. Despite her best intentions, James struggles with sports and feels overwhelmed. Sarah realizes she’s been imposing her own dreams on him and shifts focus. She discovers James’s passion for music and supports him in pursuing it. As a result, James thrives, and their relationship strengthens, highlighting the importance of setting realistic expectations and supporting a child’s individual interests.

5. Collaborate on Goal Setting: Involve your child in the process of setting goals and priorities, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability. Encourage them to identify their own aspirations and ambitions, guiding them in creating actionable steps to achieve their objectives. By collaborating on goal setting, you empower your child to take ownership of their learning and development, fostering a sense of confidence and autonomy. For example, if your child expresses an interest in learning a new instrument such as playing guitar, you and your child can work together to find a music school to attend, create a practice schedule and set achievable milestones to track their progress over time.


As we navigate the complex landscape of parenting, it’s imperative to acknowledge the nuances of Tiger Parenting and its impact on children’s academic success and emotional well-being. While this approach may yield impressive results in terms of academic achievement, it’s essential to recognize and address the potential drawbacks, including psychological stress and strained relationships. By finding a delicate balance between high expectations and emotional support, parents can empower their children to thrive academically while fostering resilience, happiness, and fulfilment in all aspects of life.

In an effort to help children develop to their best, parents can seek the support from in:genius by NASCANS. in:genius by NASCANS is an award-winning student care brand with over 15 years of experience running quality student care centres across Singapore. Powered by NASCANS, the leading operator of school-based student care centres, our award-winning programmes at in:genius by NASCANS have been voted Singapore’s Best Student Care Programme for consecutive years and helped children reach their fullest potential.

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