China's Moms Don't All Fit Terrible Tiger Cast

Jackie Kennedy once said if you bungle raising your kids, nothing else you do really matters, so perhaps it's no surprise that a book about a Chinese-American mother's no-nonsense approach to parenting has become a best-seller and the topic of heated debate.

Consider this, Asians make up less than 5 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for nearly 13 percent of the students at Harvard and 34 percent at the University of California at Berkeley.

We have two perspectives on this debate.

"Tiger Mother" Author Defends Harsh Parenting

BEIJING - Here, the Chinese mother doesn't fit the American stereotype, CBS News Correspondent Celia Hatton reports.

(Scroll down to watch two videos on this report)

Wang Li and her daughter are inseparable whether sharing the ice on skates or their love for music on a piano bench.

Like most in China, Wang isn't familiar with Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", but this Chinese mother is sure she doesn't fit Chua's ethnic typecast of a tough-as-nails disciplinarian.

"As a parent, you are your child's closest friend," she said through a translator. "You are supposed to give her as much attention as you can instead of verbally hurting her."

Chua's book talks about "Chinese mothers", but in a country of more than 1.3 billion people, it's tough to make any generalizations about how parents raise their children.

Most Chinese families are only allowed one child under the country's strict family-planning rules. The chance to be a parent just once -- and the pressure to get it right -- has led China to have its own fierce disputes over child-raising.

Spoiled only-children and lax parenting are a national obsession linked to a host of issues from Internet addictions to soaring child obesity.

On the flip side, some pressure their children to succeed academically at any cost since just a fraction of the country's children will land a spot in a top college.

Still, many moms and dads are now questioning Chinese schools' use of rote learning and memorization. They're encouraging kids to discover their own passions.

"I won't force my son to do what I want him to do," Wang Hui, a stay-at-home mom, said through a translator. "I hope he'll be grown up enough to make his own decisions."

As China's astrological Year of the Tiger draws to a close, many here hope the myth of China's fierce tiger mothers will too.