Ever since author Amy Chua pounced onto the scene earlier this year, coining the phrase "Tiger Mother" and touting strict Asian parenting as the key to her children's success, a swarm of controversy has arisen, with many parents proclaiming their way of parenting is superior. In her book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," Chua explains that she uses the term "Asian parenting" loosely and that Tiger Parents can come from any number of immigrant communities.
Either way, out of the woodwork have come other self-proclaimed experts, branding their ideal parenting skills with such phrases as Helicopter Parents, Hippie Parents and Ostrich Parents, to name a few.
Although Chua says her best-selling book isn't a parenting guide but instead a memoir, there is no doubt that her Tiger Mother style of parenting is fierce and has been met with intense scrutiny. In her book, she writes that Chinese parenting in America "is a never-ending uphill battle, requiring a 24/7 time commitment, resilience and guile."
She also writes, "Tiger mothers view childhood as a training period." And with that in mind, we thought we'd have our own trial run, taking her lessons straight from the tiger's mouth. We hired two actresses -- Rachel, to play the role of the Tiger Mother, and Misha, to play her daughter -- to see how people would react if they saw a mother berate her daughter for earning an A-minus on a math test.
Watch the scenario unfold on "What Would You Do?" Friday at 9 p.m. ET
We brought our Tiger Mother and daughter to the bustling City Limits Diner in White Plains, N.Y. Shortly after our hidden cameras started rolling, the claws came out. But were they our Tiger Mother's or the customers'?
As Rachel begins to lay into Misha, it doesn't take long for customers to notice.
"This is good?! What happened? I don't understand!" says Rachel. Without a sound from Misha, Rachel continues, "This is ridiculous. Nobody in our family gets an A-minus, period."
At a nearby table, school psychologist Silvana Martone has heard more than enough, and raises her professional concern. She interrupts, "Excuse me, I work with children. Speaking to her that way is not going to help her. OK?"
Rachel replies, "I want her to be excellent -- that's why I'm doing this. And I'm sorry if I disturbed your lunch."
Martone retreats, all the while keeping an eye on Misha as the berating continues.
As soon as Rachel leaves to use the restroom, Martone takes the opportunity to ask Misha a few questions. "Sweetheart, look at me," she begins. "Is this how your mommy treats you all the time?"
"She just wants me to be perfect," Misha explains, quietly.
Just before Rachel returns, Martone reminds Misha, "If you ever feel that you are in danger in any way, you dial 911, you hear me? OK? Remember that!"
As we break our scene, we can't help but ask for her professional advice. "The approach is everything," she says, "and sometimes they can't always, you know, succeed to your expectations, and that's OK. You have to accept your child for who they are."
With new customers seated nearby, Rachel repeats the disruption by ripping into Misha: "You're an embarrassment; you are a disappointment. No daughter of mine is going to get an A-minus. You know what? You're not going to eat now!"