Understanding what it means to be a child of a Tiger Mother


On March 16, psychotherapist John Tran of Capitol Hill Counseling led 22 audience members in a fun, interactive workshop entitled “Are you the child of a Tiger Mother?” at the Taiwan Center. Playing on Amy Chua’s concept of a “Tiger Mother,” a caricature of an overbearing Asian mother who demands nothing less than perfection from her children, Tran engaged the audience in a discussion on who we are and how we make decisions.

“I’m glad NAAAP gave me this opportunity to present it,” said Tran. “I was a bit iffy on whether the topic would be well-received, but the community pulled through with some wonderful and insightful questions and comments.”

The audience included old-hands and newcomers to NAAAP-Seattle.

Former NAAAP-Seattle PR/Marketing Chair and currently San Francisco-based Joneil Custodio made time for the workshop during his short stay in Seattle.

Three psychotherapy students from Argosy University came to observe. Their professor, Dr. David Walker, encouraged them to attend events organized by ethnic-based associations, including NAAAP, so that they could experience being a minority.

“We’re learning to treat and assess diverse communities,” said Rachel Gabriel, first-year Psych.D student. “Part of our training is to see what it’s like to be the only white person in a room and to confront big issues you don’t know anything about.”

The students said they learned a lot from the workshop.

“It was very enlightening.,” said Leonara Cabrera, a first-year Masters student. “I came from Mexico and it’s really interesting to hear the Asian perspective.”

“The seminar consolidated a lot of what our readings have been saying about Asian culture,” said Ashely McCauley, a first-year Masters student. “It was great to get a fresh, human perspective.”

“I found the Tiger Mom dialogue to be intriguing,” said Tonya Knox, a State Farm Insurance Agency Field Recruiter. “To be honest, I did not understand the scope of the concept until the presentation. I see both the benefits and disadvantages of having a Tiger Mom.”

Even those well-versed in the literature on the Tiger Mother attended the workshop, including Asian American Journalists Association National Secretary Athima Chansanchai, who authored her own commentary on the matter, entitled: “I still love you, Tiger mom, dad.”

Professional Development Chair Michael Okimura’s first time organizing event proved to be a success.

“I really enjoyed this event. We’ve been to three different ethnic based organizations and this group felt the most friendly and welcoming,” concluded Gabriel. “I would come back to NAAAP events.”

Proceeds from admission fees were donated to help Japan.

For more information on or to volunteer with NAAAP-Seattle’s Professional Development program, please contact Michael Okimura at Michael.okimura@naaapseattle.org

Photos: (top, from left to right): Ashley McCauley, Leonara Cabrera, and Rachel Gabriel; (middle): crowd; (bottom, from left to right): Michael Okimura and John Tran.

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