Real self-esteem has to be earned. I also believe in virtuous circles, like, nothing is fun until you are good at it. It is great if you can instill in children the ability to not give up, to have a work ethic.
Genghis Khan decreed religious tolerance for all of his conquered peoples. So I think he definitely would approve of our constitutional protections of freedom of religion. I think he would also approve of the way the U.S. has been able to attract talented people from all over the world.
When I'm not the Tiger Mom, I'm a professor at Yale Law School, and if one thing is clear to me from years of teaching, it's that there are many ways to produce fabulous kids. I have amazing students; some of them have strict parents, others have lenient parents, and many come from family situations that defy easy description.
I do think that maybe, even subconsciously, a lot of parents in the West are wondering, have we gone too far in the direction of coddling and protecting - you know, you see kids, sometimes that seem very rude and disrespectful. And the more important thing is they don't seem that happy.
I once won a second prize in a history concert. My parents came to the ceremony. Somebody else had won the prize for best all-around student. Afterwards my father said to me, 'Never, ever disgrace me like that again.' When I tell my Western friends, they are aghast. But I adore my father. It didn't knock my self-esteem at all.
I think the biggest difference is that I've noticed Western parents seem much more concerned about their children's psyches, their self-esteem, whereas tough immigrant parents assume strength rather than fragility in their children and therefore behave completely differently.