Tiger parenting in Singapore
Education Parenting Preschooler

Tiger Parenting: It’s Characteristics and Pros and Cons

What is Tiger Parenting in Singapore?

Tiger parenting, also referred to as authoritarian parenting, is a strict and demanding parenting approach. Using this parenting style we aim to recognise and give the utmost importance to our child’s academic and professional success. 

Amy Chua, a professor of law at Yale University, introduced the term “tiger parenting” for the first time in her 2011 book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” 

In her book, Chua discusses her experiences using Tiger parenting techniques to raise her daughters. These techniques include using strict and harsh methods of discipline by limiting leisure time and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, it also involves establishing strict guidelines and high expectations.

Singapore is vividly known for its highly competitive and achievement-oriented educational system. Indeed, as a result, we see this style of parenting growing its popularity among Singaporean parents; who are striving to outline the best framework for their children.

In order to acquire the best chance at success in such a competitive society, parents enforce fundamental methods such as;

  • Having higher expectations for academic success
  • Instilling traditional values, for example- respect for authority, hard work and self-discipline.
  • Having limited tolerance for failures and mistakes

Perhaps, tiger parenting in Singapore is implemented by fostering discipline and determination through extracurricular activities such as music and sports. And by limiting leisure activities to allocate more time for studying and homework. 

Characteristics of Tiger Parenting:

  • High expectations for academic success:

Tiger parents hold a high standard for their kids and have strict expectations, which include goals like satisfactory test scores, grades, and academic achievements. As tiger parents, we strongly inspire our kids to work hard for an excelling academic performance and guide them to achieve it.

  • Focus on traditional values: 

Another characteristic of tiger parenting is the emphasis on traditional values such as respect for authority, hard work, and self-discipline. Perhaps, I personally believe these are the core values essential for success in life. Hence, it is instilled in children from a young age.

  • Strict discipline: 

Tiger parenting is often associated with strict discipline. It may include setting inflexible rules and enforcing severe consequences for misbehaviour. You may even need to use authoritarian methods of disciplinary actions such as punishment or verbal abuse.

  • Lack of leniency towards failure: 

Tiger parents may not tolerate failure and may hold their children to high standards. A drawback is that it may cause children to feel pressure and stress, discouraging them from taking risks or trying new things. 

  • Push for extracurricular activities:

We intend to build a well-rounded and successful child through a strict parenting technique. Hence, to boost discipline and determination, we motivate children to participate in extracurricular activities such as music and sports. In a way, it teaches them to be physically and mentally active. 

  • Limited leisure activities:

To allocate more time for studying and homework, Tiger parents may also limit their children’s leisure activities, such as watching TV or playing video games. 

  • Authoritarian methods of discipline: 

Tiger parents may use authoritarian methods of discipline- such as punishment and verbal abuse, instead of constructive criticism.

As mentioned above, in Singapore, the educational sector is highly advanced. Thus, several efforts are made to sustain the professional standards of the country. A rising concern and widely discussed topic under these efforts is- tiger parenting. 

Many Singaporean parents adopt this parenting style hoping to give their children the best chance at success in a highly competitive society. However, we understand it is essential to assess this parenting style and realise the potential negative effects on a child’s mental and emotional well-being. 

Doing so will help you find the right parenting balance between high expectations and support for children. Here is a list of the pros and cons of tiger parenting on kids.

Pros and Cons of Tiger Parenting

Pros of Tiger Parenting: 

  • High academic expectations can lead to a strong work ethic and high achievement in school. For example, a tiger parent may set high expectations for the child to achieve good grades and excel in their studies. As a result, it can teach the child to develop a strong work ethic, as they are constantly motivated to meet these expectations and achieve academic success. Perhaps, by moulding our children into this mindset, we prepare them to always strive for success and aim to achieve it- even in their professional life ahead.


  • Emphasis on traditional values such as respect for authority and self-discipline can instill strong character in children. For example, we teach children to respect authority figures and obey the rules and regulations. This helps them in developing strong self-discipline. 


  • Furthermore, encouragement to participate in extracurricular activities can promote discipline and determination. For example, a tiger parent encourages their child to participate in a music or sports program after school. This leads to the child developing discipline and determination, as they learn to balance their studies with extracurricular activities and push themselves to excel in both. 


  • Limited leisure activities can teach them time management skills and allow them to have a better focus on their studies and homework. For instance, by limiting my kids’ access to leisure activities such as watching TV or playing video games; I infuse in them the importance of time and make them practice good time management skills. It is a skill that will help them stay focused throughout their life. Perhaps, allowing them to make smarter choices in the future, evaluate and make the right time investment. 


Cons of Tiger Parenting:

  • High levels of stress and pressure can negatively impact mental and emotional well-being. For example, a child raised under the tiger parenting style may feel stressed and pressured to meet high academic expectations. It can lead to creating negative consequences on their mental and emotional well-being, such as anxiety and depression.


  • Difficulty coping with failure can lead to low self-esteem and self-worth. For example, a child who is raised under a tiger parenting style may struggle to cope with failure. This can lead to low self-esteem and self-worth, as they may feel like a failure for not meeting their parents’ expectations. To ensure we don’t raise failures, we should give them the space to learn from their own mistakes.


  • Lack of autonomy and emphasis on traditional values can stifle creativity and critical thinking skills. For example, a child raised under a tiger parenting style may have difficulty expressing their own thoughts and ideas. Indeed, this can limit their thinking ability. As a result, children become too dependent and fail to make independent decisions.


  • Authoritarian methods of discipline can lead to difficulty in forming healthy relationships and expressing emotions. For example, a child under this parenting style may have difficulty forming healthy relationships, as they may be afraid to express their feelings and thoughts due to fear of punishment. It can also lead to difficulties in communication skills and expressing emotions in a healthy way.

Difference between Tiger parenting and Western parenting 

Tiger parenting:

In other words, I would say it is the complete opposite of Western parenting.

Tiger parenting emphasizes strict discipline, high expectations, and traditional values. However, tiger parenting in Singapore is a common way of parenting based on the country’s cultural values. 

Western parenting:

Western parenting tends to be more permissive and places a greater emphasis on individuality and self-expression. 

This style of parenting mainly prioritizes fostering self-esteem, independence, and self-expression, which leads to a better mental and emotional well-being of the child. 

It places more emphasis on open communication, negotiation and compromise. Western parents may provide children with more autonomy and freedom to make choices and express themselves. They also tend to encourage their children to pursue their passions and interests, even if it may not lead to traditional success or financial stability. 

Examples of Western Parenting: 

  • Encouraging children to make their own decisions and take responsibility for the consequences. 
  • Allowing children to express themselves freely and nurturing their creativity.
  • Providing children with the freedom to pursue their passions and interests. 
  • Emphasizing the importance of open communication and healthy relationships. 
  • Encouraging children to think critically and question authority. 
  • Fostering independence and self-reliance in children. 
  • Prioritizing children’s mental and emotional well-being over academic success or financial stability. 

In conclusion, Tiger parenting is a strict and demanding parenting style that focuses on academic and professional success. While it can lead to high achievement, it is important to consider the potential negative effects on children’s mental and emotional well-being. As parents, it is crucial for us to consider the pros and cons of different parenting styles and find a balance that works best for the family! Moreover, it is important, as parents; to evaluate our own beliefs, values and parenting goals, and make conscious decisions about how we want to raise our children.

Video Credits: SBS Australia

Written by: Maryam
BA Early Childhood Education with Psychology

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