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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior...??

  1. #1
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Why Chinese Mothers are Superior...??

    I'm surprised that this article hasn't come up on here yet. I know it's been going around a lot the past few days and causing a lot of controversy.

    Here's the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...s_mostpop_read

    Was wondering everyone's thoughts on it? Particularly the thoughts of people who are Chinese. Were you raised like this? Would you want to raise your kids like this?

    As a Westerner married to a Chinese guy, I first heard about this article through my husband's family. His parents think it's awesome (although my husband wasn't raised QUITE as strictly as the article) - I think it's verging on abusive.

    I don't think it's EVER right to "break" your children into submission or to do things like calling them garbage or (I'm extrapolating here) to slap them on the face or make them feel like your love/affection towards them is dependent on their success.

    I do think that there are values that Western parents can learn from the Chinese parenting style, and with my mixed children, my husband and I want to parent them together using a mixture of values from both of our values. I do think that it's important to encourage our kids to do their best in everything they do, and I think that it's ok to be disappointed in our kids grades if we know that they can do better. BUT I do think that kids NEED to be well rounded - they need to have friends, they need to have room to make mistakes and learn from them, they need to be able to have hobbies and activities they want to do "just because" and for no academic reason.

    Anyway - I could go on and on about this article, it really got me fired up a bit ;) Just wanted to put it out there for some of your thoughts as well.

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    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Amy Chua's parenting style is nothing more than her own style. She is perpetuating a stereotype. It is unfortunate that her article takes such a smug, extreme tone because there are a number of valid points in her article. It is important for children to learn discipline and perseverance and to try hard.

    Here's another interesting article which comments on Amy Chua's article: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/...-mothers-spine. Amy Chua probably does have a point when she says that parents worry too much about our children's fragile self-esteem. I would never treat my child like she treats hers, but equally you don't want to raise a child who goes onto American Idol thinking that they can sing when they clearly cannot!

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    phoenixashburn is offline Registered User
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    I'm still reeling after reading this.... I am in shock... and this was on WSJ??

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    my mom was the typical chinese mom, but then i ended up bouncing the other way and quitting piano and ballet as a child since I just couldn't stand all the pushing, etc. it helped that i grew up in an international school environment where all the values learnt were completely opposite to what was being taught at home.

    i think sometimes my mom really wonders why she sent me to an international school hahahah

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    Portia is offline Registered User
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    It was in the WSJ on Saturday, but you should take the article with a grain of salt as Amy Chua's book was published this week and controversy sells books. Have a look at the WSJ comments page - almost 4000 comments last time I checked!

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    TNT
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    Have just read the article and could write an essay about the assumptions made about Westerners and their motivations and reasoning, (our family is totally Western, but not American) but my overall thoughts were that while I totally agree persistence is something to be encouraged in children, pretty much all the rest of it is pure crap. For a start, I don't define a successful person as one that gets top grades, plays a musical instrument, earns more money etc etc. That doesn't mean I wouldn't want them to do all these things and try their hardest at what they do, but the whole academic excellence at any cost is beyond me. If everyone was meant to get A grades there wouldn't be any grading system.

    Cultural differences sure, but I would never want anyone to behave like this mother does - how is screaming, threatening, withholding basic needs like going to the toilet, food and water in anyway behaviour to be encouraged. She sounds like a toddler.... and I do not expect my kids to behave that way!! Clearly though her's do (from what she says about her daughters response to the piano example) I would see that as a failure as a parent, not that my child didn't get A's in every subject.

    And Nicole like you say I think a successful person (not just a child) is one who is happy, with a wide range of interests and has an inner peace. If they also have a great job that they enjoy what it pays does not matter as long as they have enough to have a comfortable life. Overall I think my measurement of my success as a parent is based on how I view a successful adult and as our definitions are so different it is hard to take any good out of her approach. Plus the statement 'nothing is fun unless you are good at it'' is so different from my own expectation and experience that 'learning to do something is half the fun''- maybe that's why encouragement and support (without being 'soft') is my preferred approach rather than abuse and punishment.
    I am interested to see what others think, especially those who are Chinese. Many Chinese I know ended up in jobs they hated because of parental expectation/pressure and doubt they would think that's a good thing, but maybe that's just my cultural perspective talking...

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    TNT
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    Portia just read your comments - very good points in both!

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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    And for the Chinese children who don't make the A marks in their classes in all that but are brilliant in their own right (the artists, the entrepreneurs, the innovators) life is rough here in Hong Kong. I believe that my husband is extremely intelligent but he was beaten down all his life by his parents who never offered praise but only criticism and condemnation. They also stopped giving him physical attention/affection (hugs, ****es, pats on the back) when he was about 6-years-old. Guess they thought it was time for him to "Become a man." It's really sad for my parents-in-law because even when my husband did excel at things (and he did) they were completely blind to see it--thus, they don't know who he really is and neither does he know who they are. There is a HUGE generation gap in their family that keeps parents and children isolated from one another and a lot of it has to do with this cultural expectation that you have to "be tough" on your kids or they will become "worthless individuals" in society. Children withdraw from their parents. I can't speak for any other Chinese kids here but when I first met my husband he was one of the most "emotionally constipated" individuals I'd ever been around. It was so bad that he would have emotions but was so out of touch with what they were that he couldn't express himself--it took a long time for him to allow himself to admit or let himself feel emotions like anger or sadness because he was taught to suppress all of this from his parents. So, when I'm around his family it's very odd--they all have smiley faces on but you could cut the tension with a knife because underneath the surface bubbles a lot of past issues that are never discussed or named. It's like being in a prison of their own making, I think--but I'm sure they wouldn't see it that way.

    One of the first comments my husband's father made to me when I first met him was, "My son is so lazy." Here I was, excited to meet his parents and my husband was really excited to introduce me and we were laughing and having a good time and then all of a sudden his dad slapped him in the face with this comment--you should have seen the anger, embarrassment and shame--my husband immediately deflated and was "put back in his place." I was shocked. And for the first few years that was the only comment my father-in-law made to me about my husband. It was and is extremely hurtful and serves no purpose but to demoralize and make sure that the hierarchy is maintained.

    So, yes, you can beat your children into submission mentally, emotionally and physically--you can make them live in fear of you--you can produce "prodigy" children by crushing their spirits and turning them into robots (and even to this day, one of the biggest problems in our marriage is that sometimes I feel like my husband responds in a stoic/robotic way to things he should have a little more attachment to) but I don't know, I'd rather have my own children be in touch with their soul and be able to healthily express themselves in a mature manner without fear than have a world-class piano player who makes a ton of cash but lives in a dark, isolated world that I created for him/her.
    Last edited by thanka2; 01-13-2011 at 03:25 PM.
    “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

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