Chinese moms vs. Western moms: Is there a mother superior?
(CNN) -- After my 7-year-old daughter's sleepover and a few hours before my 9-year-old son's play date, and just in the middle of quieting my daughter's whining about her impending piano lesson last Saturday morning, I stumbled upon "Why Chinese Moms are Superior," Amy Chua's Wall Street Journal article that's created a firestorm.
The article was excerpted from her new book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."
Chua, a second generation Chinese American, mother of two and Yale Law School professor, argues that Chinese moms churn out whip-smart kids precisely because they don't allow childhood frivolity like sleepovers or play dates, along with just about everything else that is social, fun or distracting, including TV, video games, sleepaway camp and auditioning for the school play.
They also insist that their children master the violin or piano -- but only those two instruments -- be the top student in every subject with the exception of gym or drama, and receive no grade below an A.
Let's be honest, Western Moms would also relish these dazzling results -- valedictorian and violin virtuosity -- but can't imagine themselves, or their kids, committing to the rigid Chinese Mom-style method to guarantee perfection. But more importantly, Western Moms, and in particular working moms, just don't have the time, energy, or well, discipline.
The "Chinese Mom" theory is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. And to get good at anything, you have to work hard. "On their own," Chua writes, "Children never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences." This is where Western parents fail, she says, by letting our kids give up too quickly. We simply don't have the fortitude or patience to push through our children's resistance.
Maybe modern day parenting in America has become too permissive. Maybe we've gotten too soft. We coddle and cajole our children as we gently nudge them passive aggressively to do their chores and their homework
"Will you please put your clothes away?"
"Let's study for your spelling test now, OK?"
"Sweetie, can you please turn off the TV and do your 15 minutes of assigned homework reading?"
Seriously, 15 minutes. Even that's positioned as a question, not a demand.
Go to any school today with a "progressive" philosophy and administrators proudly espouse the virtues of addressing the "whole child" and creating an independent, creative, empathetic individual. These are the buzz words that resonate with Western parents. It's true, we want happy, well adjusted, well rounded children who will contribute to society. We also buy into the theory that creativity, critical thinking and social skills are essential for future success.
Chinese moms vs. Western moms: Is there a mother superior?
Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:26 PM
Posted 27 January 2011 - 01:40 AM
I do not think that there is any mother superior, in my opinion I feel that any mother that loves their kid and doesn't lord over them too much. is a good mother.
Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:20 AM
IMO, she alone cannot represents the complete "Chinese parenting style" and is more likely to be a stereotype, as all Chinese families are different and have different family backgrounds. Those families who are better educated will tend to focus more on educating the kids, be obedient and achieving academic excellence. But nowadays, each Chinese family is different. We cannot simply read this book and generalize it to be "Chinese parenting style". Although achieving academic excellence is a priority, it has added much to a very pressurizing society, particularly in Asian societies. You sometimes wonder whether kids are really that happy by achieving good grades, rather than getting the fun out of learning and developing critical skills such as social skills, manners etc.
If you're interested in traditional Chinese parenting, you should read Chinese Classics such as Yan Shi Jia Xun 颜氏家训, Di Zi Gui 弟子规, Zhuzi Jiaxun 朱子家训. They present more of true Chinese family culture education.
"夫君子之行：靜以修身，儉以養德；非淡泊無以明志，非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮
One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang
Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:27 PM
Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:52 PM
If it didn't involved the word Chinese and if the author of such a piece wasn't someone affluent like Amy Chua (law professor at Yale who has written well-known commentaries), this entire issue would have been brushed aside. As it is written for and within an American perspective, it's pretty much silly in general to put any nationalist rhetoric around it, as some journalists and news anchors have done.
Anyone reading this has to be honest with him/herself. Due to China's growing status, anything related to "All things Chinese" is going to get a lot of eyes on it, regardless if it has anything to do with stuff that actually happens in China.
IMHO, I think it's a combo of Chua wanting to promote her book, the media's play on "all things Chinese", and the public's addictive interests into anything related to parenting in general; all of the things I mention so far is what this issue is pretty much about.
Occasionally, there will be people with anti-Chinese sentiments jumping on the bandwagon just because there's another subject they can use to express their views. Also, occasionally, there will be some Chinese or Asian supremacists who also will use this to justify their beliefs as well.
Edited by Gan, 27 January 2011 - 06:53 PM.
Posted 27 January 2011 - 07:22 PM
Do we follow a legalistic view [like the book] or the Confucian/Mencius view?
How strict, and how much creativity do we allow?
I wouldn't put too much $$ on this book.
Posted 27 January 2011 - 07:44 PM
- Mei Houwang likes this
I had begun to cherish words excessively for the space they allow around them, for their tangencies with countless other words that I did not utter. Andre Breton
Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:42 PM
I am Jewish, and I had a Jewish mother - I wasn't forced to do anything, but I still achieved well enough, without pushing - I forced myself. That's the goal, to create a self motivated person, not a robot.
Being in a Chinese university on exchange now, I see what the system has created; on one hand, you have 40% of the class cheating on everything, and unable to string a reasonable sentence (I am talking about French classes, and languages in general), most being "pushed" children who are afraid of failing. Then on top of it you have a system where it has been decided that if they fail anybody, they are not doing their duty to the student, so everyone gets over 70% even if they cheat and still get the answers wrong. Simply put, the pressure is on one to do well, but nobody actually cares.
Then I compare the intellectual climate of a real arena, where people are directly competing to the best of their abilities, where friendships and association becomes key - basically, you set a bell curve at 67, with 25% getting bellow 50, and 25% above 80, and see how things go - even if a class is not competitive, it will become competitive, as everyone is out there to beat the other people, not the test. Within that frame, who you associate with, how much you study, how well your brain works, all become central to success. Simply put, you either swim or drown.
The Tiger mom is basically creating a fake sense of competitiveness, with the only result that the child will not be beaten for that time - the kid cannot win, as there are always other things to be learned, and nobody can learn them all. In the end, the child does not compete, but against a computer, and there is no outcome but dissatisfaction - put them instead into an environment, and the results will be astoundingly higher.
For instance, stick kids into extra curricular activities amongst their peers, and see the result - Piano and instruments are good for development, but if they are forced, it is pointless.
That is basically an American versus Chinese paradigm, both being extreme examples - The united states has done well in the world because it has encouraged competitiveness within individuals, and China has slacked because it has discouraged anything that is not within the frame. Of course, there are faults in both plans, but ultimately in terms of education, it is all useless unless the person emerges as an individual afterworld, and is able to function without being yelled at.
Posted 05 May 2011 - 02:13 AM
Posted 06 May 2011 - 06:35 AM
For several countries, which potentially lived by hedonist, that Amy Chua's style of motherhood MAYBE fits.
Life is about to struggling, for life itself, not for social remarks nor other insignificant stuffs.
Actually, my parents never been that tensing, like Amy Chua, thankfully. LOL.
Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:24 PM
but i am not happy with this, i wished i would have get pressure during childhood even to the point to be afraid of getting low marks and studing hard, but than i like to do hard enduring work mentally or physicatlly, i enjoy it, i have a plan and feel clearly betwen success and failure. but it could be worse, my neighbours are not very educated, children are arguing with their parents and even shout at each other, the son in this family just turned 17 but has already a 2 year old son while the mother is not interested in him and just spending her time going to disco or having fun with boys.
i do not think pressure to succeed is inhumane nor chinese, it should be a worldwide value anyway.
Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:42 PM
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