An author named Amy Chua, an American-born Chinese mom, has ignited a media firestorm with her guide on mothering the Chinese way (her book was titled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, probably after her publishers told her Enter The Dragon Lady was a bit over the top). The method Chua trumpets with such relish involves a number of basic tenets (and I should point out here that with my background, I've lived through some of this from the kid end):
* Extreme negative reinforcement.
Chua allegedly threatened to burn her daughter's stuffed animals if she didn't practice. She called her daughter "garbage", which in my experience is fairly tame. Sometimes hitting is involved. This doesn't do any wonders for your mental health but it does teach you that piano or math or whatever is fucking serious business.
How could it not be?
* No positive reinforcement.
There's a couple of reasons for this, but the basic idea is that you get yelled at for bringing home an A, A-, B+, and whatever grades come after that (I wasn't allowed to get them), but if you bring home an A+, your reward is basically no yelling. No "Good job," or even "That'll do, pig."