Father loses parenting rights for forcing homework on his children

Erin Anderssen

Globe and Mail Blog (includes correction)
Posted on

In a follow-up to the “Tiger Mom” controversy, an Australian father has lost the ability to make parental decisions for his kids, after the court ruled in a custody dispute that he was too “rigid and obsessive,” especially where homework was concerned.

The divorced father required his daughters, 13 and 11, to complete homework above their academic levels, in the hopes of helping them win scholarships. To monitor their study hours and work-ethic, he says, he also told them to write daily reports about the activities, and read them over the phone.

The case, reported in the Herald Sun, became public after the mother went to the court seeking sole parental responsibility for the two girls and a younger son, saying that her ex-husband’s behaviour was causing constant stress about his high expectations. (The son will still spend time with his father, but the judge order the father to have counseling with his ex-wife to fix the relationships with their daughters).

The case has sparked a debate in Australia about how far parents should push their children to succeed - with one education expert observing that the best way for parents to help their kids get good marks was to have a good relationship with them.

Meanwhile, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, daughter of the original Tiger Mom, Amy Chua, has responded to all the debate (including, apparently, death threats) resulting from her mom’s book excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, which detailed her tough-love teaching style. To read her clear-worded defense of her mother - even how she understand why her mother once ripped up a card she’d made for her - click here.

Now weigh in: Should parents pile it on? Or just lighten up?


Editor's Note: Amy Chua's book excerpt appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Incorrect information originally appeared in this article.