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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior...??

  1. #9
    Gataloca's Avatar
    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    Problem with Chinese parents is that the like to compare against each other. So if someone is doing something, they feel that their children should do better. My mom always keeps telling me that the son/daughter of Mr. X makes X amount of money, so why I am making so little.

    I have a relative whose baby is about the same age as mine. The baby is been taken by his grandma, who apparently play and teach lot of tricks to the 6 month old baby, like counting fingers, touching his noses, etc. So my mom just told me the other day that I am taking care of my baby, but I teach him nothing. That I don't know how to educate my child, who according to her, only knows how to cry. Then told my 6 month old baby (who luckily doesn't understand what she says) that he is a spoiled baby, and know nothing..... I just shut her up telling her that that wasn't any big deal, since my baby will know how to do that sooner or later, and I didn't see the point of teaching him stuff ahead of time.
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  2. #10
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Another thing to add, I teach primary students in HK. They are great with "rote learning"--they do great with "monkey see, monkey do" activities but give them some tasks that require a lot of creative thought or comprehension of indirect concepts and they are completely lost.

    I've taught from P1 to F8 in Hong Kong and this is a pattern that does not change. This may work for some straight-forward exercises in mathematics for example but how many accountants can one economy support in the future?

    This is why the HK government has tried to overhaul the secondary school curriculum and introduce critical thinking into the mix with the NSS courses that focus on cross-disciplinary learning--much akin to the concept of "liberal arts education" in the "West."

    As someone who did professional development workshops for two years helping local teachers to prepare for the switch I can tell you the NSS has the local secondary teachers running scared--they are terrified of not having the prop of a a step-by-step lesson plan that they can stand in front of the class and read from, word-by-word because they were never taught or expected to think outside the box--they were only taught to repeat, repeat, repeat and drill, drill, drill until they memorized information. Coming to the article from the WSJ, maybe some of these teachers would have benefited from participating in a school play or two because now they have to join the rest of the world and actually DIRECT them themselves!

    Some of them, through training in the local system (from primary school onward--their entire lives) really have no capacity for cross-disciplinary thought--such as understanding how certain social phenomenon affect things in science or how science affects art or how one language can teach you something about mathematics. Their minds are completely compartmentalized because when they were children they were told that there is only one answer for every question and everything is black and white--you just have to work hard enough and you'll figure the answer out. Well, the answers to our world's big problems are not black and white and sometimes "trying hard enough" is not the key. You can try to jam a square peg in a round hole--and keep trying and trying but that doesn't make it fit. In the local educational model, effort=success which does not take into consideration the actual needs of students. Sometimes students need a different style of teaching or more help and the fact is that some students ARE NOT going to excel in a certain area no matter how much you tell them to "try harder."

    And I say all this as a westerner who definitely got her share of what the writer describes as "house turned into a warzone" over things I thought I couldn't do but could actually do. My mom pushed me hard but she wasn't a maniac.

    Finally, I was at my parents-in-law's house last weekend and I could hear the neighbors (who have two middle-school aged children) fighting and screaming from the time I arrived at around 7 pm until 3 am--and it was over the childrens' school performance. I was a bit concerned and considered calling the police. As a parent, I choose my battles and I can't imagine carrying on for EIGHT HOURS over something like that--where does the peace in your home go to?

    This piece of writing is very smug and I think it makes the writer look foolish and ethnocentric. It's one thing to cut down some politically correct barriers--but from this writing I'd say this lady needs some medication and a few sessions of therapy to work through her issues. Just saying...
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #11
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gataloca View Post
    Problem with Chinese parents is that the like to compare against each other. So if someone is doing something, they feel that their children should do better. My mom always keeps telling me that the son/daughter of Mr. X makes X amount of money, so why I am making so little.

    I have a relative whose baby is about the same age as mine. The baby is been taken by his grandma, who apparently play and teach lot of tricks to the 6 month old baby, like counting fingers, touching his noses, etc. So my mom just told me the other day that I am taking care of my baby, but I teach him nothing. That I don't know how to educate my child, who according to her, only knows how to cry. Then told my 6 month old baby (who luckily doesn't understand what she says) that he is a spoiled baby, and know nothing..... I just shut her up telling her that that wasn't any big deal, since my baby will know how to do that sooner or later, and I didn't see the point of teaching him stuff ahead of time.
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    Ha! Sounds like that grandma is teaching a monkey to do tricks (no offense to the baby). Y'know, it doesn't mean anything at all if that kid can wiggle his ears and touch his nose and juggle--it doesn't indicate anything except a bored grandma with nothing else to do but teach the child meaningless tricks like he's preparing to perform on the street for money.

    I just have the image of a little baby sitting down at the IFC bridge in Central touching his nose and people throwing coins into a hat for his performance--how sad. My own parents-in-law teach my son those sorts of tricks so he can perform them during Chinese New Year at the family dinners--but beyond that there is no other reason for him to know how to do that sort of thing.

    It's actually just showing how insecure the grandparents are that they need to show off what their grandkids can do so they (the grandparents) can get the applause and approval of other relatives--its' not even about the kid. The grandparents just want to look good. Thankfully, the only time they try to teach my son those types of tricks is around the holidays. And don't get me wrong, they teach him some other useful things as well and they do a good job--but those silly little "party tricks"--I wouldn't worry at all about that. Your baby is plenty smart and as I always say when I ask my son to do something like, "Smile for the camera" and he chooses to hide his face--I say, "Well, I guess he isn't a circus monkey afterall"--he has his own mind, he's his own person and he's not willing to do stuff just for performance. I think this is an EXCELLENT thing!
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  4. #12
    jvn
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    I do think the author is being extreme (doubtless to sell her book) but I suspect the answer, as with most of these things, lies somewhere in between the two styles.

    I feel like 'western' parenting can be a bit quick to accept that a child is just not good at one thing or does not like doing it and let it slide (of course that's a bit sweeping and not true of everyone!), whereas, as the author says, the feeling of achievement in not being able to do something then practising and then doing it is amazing and is a skill that can be applied in so many areas of life (why it had to be done in one evening I'm not sure, that just seems silly and I think the story is made up!).

    It's also now becoming clear through research that heaping too much praise on children, especially when they actually haven't done anything special teaches them not to value any praise they are given so can have the opposite effect on self esteem than the one we wanted by praising them all the time. I would never agree with insulting a child but maybe there's a case for only praising when they do something exceptional.

    Also, agree with the other posters that academic grades do not equal success in life or in business, but that's probably a generational thing, I think there was a time where having a degree opened up a vast number of options to an individual who's family might have traditionally been in poorly paid manual employment, degrees are now more common and the workplace is changing and employers are looking for a lot more now in terms of innovation, problem solving and personality, none of which is honed through rote learning.

    She is extreme but the article has made me question some of the 'western' values that I take for granted and I think it's never a bad thing if a piece makes you do that.

  5. #13
    JayJay is offline Registered User
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    Unfortunately, the parenting style as described by Amy Chua seems to be the most prevalent style utilized here in Hong Kong.
    Despite, coming from a Chinese background, I never understood why we choose to adopt this style of parenting.

    We are basically robbing our kids of their childhood and forcing them to be adults.

    When I was a toddler, I watched cartoons, ate pizza, and played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. I'm sure all of you remember those times. Weren't they among the happiest moments of your life? If yes, then why are we denying our own children the very opportunity for them to have their own happy childhood experience?

    Sure, I'm no doctor, lawyer, world-renowned pianist, or millionaire. But I'm happy and healthy. I'm employed, married, and have 2 beautiful kids. Isn't that what we're all after? If this means I'm a failure, then so be it.

    This reminds me of a time I eavesdropped a conversation between several women in their late-20s or early-30s talking about what extracurricular activity they send their toddlers off to. One lady mentioned that her child has golf lessons every weekend. Golf lessons! For a toddler! Is she preparing him for retirement?!
    Last edited by JayJay; 01-13-2011 at 04:56 PM.

  6. #14
    jvn
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    Golf lessons! For a toddler! Is she preparing him for retirement?!
    No, she wants to be Tiger Wood's mother

  7. #15
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    One thing that I am very interested in is what does this kind of parenting do for the future relationship between the parent and child?

    One HUGE difference between my (western) relationship with my parents and my husband's (chinese) relationship with his is that I call my parents, do things with them etc because I like them as people and I enjoy spending time with them. Now that I'm (nearly) 30, I consider myself "raised" already and consider them as my equals. Yes I still "respect" them and ask them advice for things because they have more life experience than me, but if we have an issue where I'm not happy with something they did, I will talk with them about it and they would even apologise to me. In every respect, we are now "friends". We didn't have that kind of relationship when I was five, they were strict when I was growing up but they were always fair and kind about it. They pushed me to do better at school and "forced" me to practice piano - but never "disrespected" me as a person.

    My husband on the other hand has been told things like "you're not really my son" and has been slapped across the face. And today his relationship with his parents is a lot more out of "duty" rather than for the enjoyment of it. Yes we do at times enjoy time with his parents, they aren't horrible people. But they're not really "friends" - they will still tell us how to parent our kids, what we should do with our money etc. His mum still opens whatever mail goes to her house, and when a check goes to her place, she will even use part of the money for something that she thinks we should do (although the amount is small so I've never made an issue out of it - but in principle, it drives me crazy!!). But my husband, since he was raised like that, is quite content with that kind of relationship for the most part.

    I really struggle with my relationship with my in-laws at times because a lot of these differences, even now that we've been married for six years. I still don't call them "mum" and "dad" because I won't do it because I should - I think those titles are "earned" through a particular relationship that I don't have with them. I often don't feel respected by them - but I know also that while they don't fit my idea of "parents", I don't fit their idea of the dutiful daughter either. They probably see me as a miserable failure ;) We do have an "ok" relationship though - but it's hard to be "close" because you can't change either one of our upbringings and preconceived ideas about what a parent-child relationship should look like...

  8. #16
    jvn
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    Interesting question NJ, and I think this gets to the very root of it all, they as parents don't want to be liked by their children, they want to be respected, admired, looked up to and looked after but not necessarily liked, and that's not particularly a Chinese thing, think about all the children of wealthy westerners who, for hundreds of years have been brought up by their governesses and their boarding schools, or in poorer families gone out to work at a young age. Children as a product, and they are only worth having if they can do the 'job' they are born to do (earn money, run the family business, inherit the crown ;-). For societies that live several steps closer to poverty it's accepted that children must work hard to support their parents and I think society has been like this for a long, long time. The idea of fulfilment and happiness as an aim in itself is relatively new and originates in a wealthy, more privileged society and I can see why your dh's parents' generation might struggle with it and ultimately reject it.

    My mum was English and was horrified by people being overemotional, crying, divorcing, yelling, counselling, hugging, saying things like 'I love you' or complimenting someone were all things she thought 'that there was rather too much of happening these days'. She was certainly not alone in feeling that way. Culturally she would never have yelled at or insulted me but ultimately it's not all that different - the idea that putting your emotion and feelings first is selfish and indulgent is common to both. We loved and respected each other as adults but I'd never, ever have said that to her or expected her to say it to me - I guess you could say I was content with it as your dh is with his parents. BUT, I want more for my children and (perhaps selfishly) I want more from them when they're older in terms of friendship and closeness, hopefully we won't be in any need of financial support... perhaps if that was a prospect I'd be a bit more pushy about his education?
    Last edited by jvn; 01-13-2011 at 06:51 PM.

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