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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior

 
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 09:49 am
@ehBeth,

Quote:
she's describing a parenting style, not necessarily the ethnicity of the parents


She certainly didn't say that in the article originally posted. She said Chinese mothers did one thing, Western mothers did another.

I guess I was right about it really being an immigrant thing.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 09:55 am
@sozobe,
the wsj review of the book

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703667904576072110522204874.html

oddish. I was just talking to a friend about this

Quote:
look up every word they didn't know and memorize its exact meaning.


on the way home last night as we working on our shared crossword. Well into university I had a book where I wrote all new words I ran into - their definitions - where I'd found them. I still can't throw it out. Part of being the child of immigrants? part of having English as a third language?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 09:56 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:


Quote:
she's describing a parenting style, not necessarily the ethnicity of the parents


She certainly didn't say that in the article originally posted.


second paragraph of the o.p. article

Quote:
I'm using the term "Chinese mother" loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I'm also using the term "Western parents" loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 10:00 am
@ehBeth,
You're right.

I must have overlooked that since the rest of the article was so emphatic in highlighting the difference.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 10:33 am
@ehBeth,
Clare McHugh, in her review wrote:
[Chua's] sweeping statements do begin to pall after a while, but what saves "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," and makes Ms. Chua ultimately an endearing presence, is her ability to be candid about her excesses and poke fun at herself.


That certainly rings true in my reading of the original article (way too many sweeping statements) and then the interview (the increased nuance and candidness about the drawbacks make me much more receptive to the things I agree with).

Re: what I agree with, mostly the challenging thing. Not just letting kids give up if things are tough at the outset. We went through that with ballet -- sozlet was initially into it, and then it got tough and she wanted to bail. That was an ongoing issue for a while, and I never threatened to throw away a prized possession (wtf) but also stayed firm on why I thought she should do it. She stuck with it, and now is at the point where she really enjoys it -- though almost always retroactively. Laughing As much as I try to prepare the ground, in the half hour before we leave for ballet she's always tired or starving or has other things she wants to do or all three. 15 minutes before we leave she's super-grumpy about going (though she knows she's going to do it and that's that). Then when I pick her up afterwards she's glowing about how awesome it was. In the next few days she's pirouetting randomly and talking about how much she loves ballet. Then half an hour before it's time to go to her next class....

She knows that when she gets in a certain mood, my reaction will be "accomplish something"/ "find a project." Just in terms of her personality, she needs a challenge of some sort on an ongoing basis. That can be shoveling the entire driveway + sidewalk + walkways + porch (and then making a giant pile out of the shoveled snow to play in), or getting a school project done, or organizing her desk area, or finishing an art project... but something.

I do think there are parents worry too much about being liked -- they don't want to be the bad guy. Parents have to be willing to be the bad guy sometimes.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 10:40 am
@sozobe,
Well that is one thing that I have accomplished as a parent - not being liked. I have gotten that you're mean and stuff like that from my kids. And I then promptly agree - yes I am mean.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 10:42 am
@ehBeth,
I think the article will cause greater sales of the book. After reading a bit more on the subject of the book, I too can see it is less about a how to book than simply the experience itself.

May make an interesting read - just for the differences in perspective.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 12:42 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

When it comes to parenting, the Chinese seem to produce children who display academic excellence, musical mastery and professional success.

Just a small part of a very interesting article -

Things a Chinese mother never allows their child to do:
attend a sleepover

• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

The vast majority of the Chinese mothers believe their children can be "the best" students, that "academic achievement reflects successful parenting," and if children did not excel at school then there was "a problem" and parents "were not doing their job." Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children.

Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty—lose some weight." Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy.

This is an extremely interesting article about how/why Chinese children seem to be more successful than the average Western child.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html



I read the article and couldn't help but notice the author, a Chinese female, married a white ( nonChinese )guy. What do you suppose her Chinese mother thought and said about that? Surprised
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 12:54 pm
@Miller,
In that same vain - I was also thinking - so this woman after spending years and hard work herself in education and music is now a stay at home mom (at least from the sounds of it). I certainly see nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom (and wished I was in a situation where I could be home) - but what did all the hard work and education ultimately do for her?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 01:05 pm
@Linkat,
She's a law professor at Yale.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 01:56 pm
@ehBeth,
Well I stand corrected - but then how the h*ll is she able to be making sure her kids have x number of hours of studying, piano, violin or whatever the h*ll?

My guess is they are then in an aftercare program at school and actually do get plenty of "play dates". The only way for her to be able to monitor to the extent she claims with so many "Nos" is if the kids were home all the time. TV can't say they don't watch it -most schools from time to time have the kids watch a video. She would have to be home and home schooling her kids to prevent all the things she claims.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 01:57 pm
Question - why the piano or violin? There are many other instruments that I would assume would also be acceptable. Is there something particular about these two instruments that put them above all others?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 02:54 pm
I came across this response piece that reminded me very much of my childhood, it's short so I'm just going to post it here:

In Defense of Laissez-Faire Parenting


Quote:
By Rachel Emma Silverman

Amy Chua, in her provocative piece in Saturday’s WSJ, described her own particularly strict, results-oriented “Chinese” parenting style: no playdates, no TV, no computer games, hours of music practice.

As parents of two young boys, my husband and I are trying out a drastically different style: Laissez-faire, the way my parents did it.

My parents, professionals who both worked full-time, were very low pressure. There were few mandates to do homework, get As, or practice our instruments for my brother, sister and me. Unlike the Chua kids, we were in school plays, were allowed to watch TV until we “were blue in the face,” my mom jokes, and we attended plenty of sleepovers and playdates. Our kitchen was so stocked with junk food (and our TV had so many cable channels) that some of our friends preferred to hang out in our basement as we were considered a “fun house.”

So how did my parents’ laissez-faire parenting style turn out? My brother, sister and I all enjoyed school, got top grades and went to Harvard or Yale. Although I was never great at music, my brother and sister became top-notch musicians, and my sister even sings professionally. The three of us are doing just fine career-wise in financial services, journalism, education and music.

It just goes to show there are lots of ways to raise a kid—and achieve results of success and happiness, however you define them. Like Chua, I’m not saying that my parents’ way would work for all families; surely it wouldn’t. My parents were lucky in that all three of us were internally-driven, worked hard without needing much parental pressure and rarely abused the freedom they gave us. If we did, I wonder how laid back they could have been. My parents were neither overly anxious nor coddling; they simply placed a lot of trust in us and we tried hard not to let them down. To be sure, we grew up in an environment where success was the norm: In an academic town, Princeton, N.J., with enriching schools and with smart, successful, book-loving parents whose behavior we could model. And I’m not sure I’ll emulate their style completely: I’m not really into TV or junk food myself.

Ultimately, my husband and I hope to fine-tune our style depending on our kids’ personalities, interests and internal drive, rather than to impose anything on them from the get-go. Call me the anti-Chua.


So how did my parents’ laissez-faire parenting style turn out?

A Lt. General in the Army, an investment banker, a social worker/artist, and me.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 03:02 pm
@boomerang,
We have a mixture in our family from those in what you would deem successful to one that is middle and one that has issues.

I think that article you posted makes sense - so much depends on the family situation - how naturally driven your children are - the environment around them, etc.

I could watch as much TV and pretty much do whatever I wanted as in study as much as I wanted....I did have limits, but more around how late at night I could go out, and boys needed to meet the parents. Not around whether I studied or read, played music, sports. In that respect I did what I wanted. Fortunately I liked to read and do well in school. My older brother did not - he was naturally lazy, I was naturally driven - thus the differences in our outcomes. I do think my older brother would have done better in a situation that was more structured. Me, probably would adapt either way - I am adaptable.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 03:17 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children...

How do they know that the bulk of the benefits to the children don't simply come from the parent spending 10 times as much time with their kids (no matter what they are doing with them)?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 03:21 pm
My son dated a girl who was adopted from China but her US parents clearly took a page from the author's book. As a sophmore, she was already charted to make straight A's, excel in the violin and go to Yale. By her junior year, she really enjoyed the violin, but she wasn't number one and this was a problem, a constant source of tension. She was also struggling under a whopper load of AP courses. A potential B in chemistry was blamed on my son although "going out" was a stretch since they never did anything together because every second of the day was taken by her other activities. By second semester, the parents were demanding that she give up orchestra at school because it was lowering her GPA (being merely honors instead of the higher counting AP) and were bad mouthing my son as taking her away from her studies. My wife and I just shook our heads as her parents drove her right into the wall. I just can't imagine being so talented, working so hard and yet failing to meet your parents' expectations. So now she is not dating anyone and her parents seem happy but she doesn't.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  3  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 05:16 pm
The "you have to be the best" routine often runs into trouble when the kid, the
pride of Local HS, gets herself into that prestigious high-power university her
mother pushed her to apply to. Now she's no longer the standout. Now every
one of her classmates was the biggest fish back at the hometown pond. Now
there are kids who just immediately get what she has to struggle hours with.
She's just average. Of course "just average" at MIT or Cal Poly is nothing to
sneeze at, but she can't see it that way.

How to deal with that? How to bear the shame? Often the answer is tragic.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 05:42 pm
@boomerang,
China is a country of over 1 billion people, all apparently successful math students who excel in college. They all go into business or engineering professions.

This raises an interesting question.

They must have a hell of a time when they need cabinets built in a society that produces no carpenters.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 05:51 pm
@Linkat,
I've been wracking my brain to remember the one chinese mother I knew that fits this; I didn't know that many chinese mothers over time - two others with different stories. I think she was a part time lab tech, husband an architect, and they lived in a primo part of town. Yes, the girls were proficient in violin- not sure about piano.

I should add I've known at least one very high up chinese woman in development in southern california. She wasn't a mother yet, just got married towards the end of the time when I knew her.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2011 05:57 pm
@George,
Cal tech...

Although I have smartie friends who went to Cal Poly. One guy, to two of them at the same time, no easy feat, involving a great deal of driving. He wasn't chinese though.
0 Replies
 
 

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