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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior

 
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 02:17 pm
@JPB,
Wow!

That'd be my reaction too. I didn't know what I was going to major in until a ways into my college experience. (I semi-randomly signed up as an art major because that's what a cute boy in my orientation group -- who ended up being my boyfriend for the next two years -- was doing. Then I changed to English major after a bit.)

Just from what I've experienced of the school system here so far I don't think things are like that for HS here. But I really don't know yet.
George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 02:54 pm
@sozobe,
They certainly weren't that way in my town. The guidance department at
the high school were not incompetent, but on the other hand, they didn't
do a whole lot of guiding. My youngest went to a private high school and
got quite a bit more direction. But still, he didn't figure out what to major
in until he absolutely had to. Turned out OK, though. He loves what he's
doing.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 08:27 pm
The more I think about this article the more it bothers me.

First, this woman is a bad parent. I think she is blaming cultural stereotypes for the fact that she has real issues. I don't accept her claim that her cruelty is typical of Chinese mothers. I have personal experience to back up this this claim.

I think the Chinese stereotype of some sort of mystical superiority is largely myth. The country of China has yet to show any superiority in their education system. The US still produces more innovation, and has a greater percentage of its population with higher levels of education. Even the so-called tests are rigged to set a narrative that both the US and China seem to think is a good story that US is falling behind. There is no real evidence overall, and tests of China's hand selected schools against the US near universal education is rather bogus (even if you don't consider the fact that what the tests are testing is invalid).

Of course Chinese immigrants to the US are another matter. Immigration from China is very difficult right now meaning that that people who come tend to be from families of means. This is not unlike many other immigrant groups with a disproportionate level of success including Jews and Cubans.

Of course, I am not saying that Chinese people are inferior in any way. I am saying that their experience is pretty much the same as any other human beings.

Now about this particular woman. I know a couple of second generation Chinese families who are nothing like this. Now sure, I only know a couple of examples and can't generalize. But maybe that is my point.

This woman is cruel to her kids. Many Americans are cruel to their kids. Many Chinese Americans are not.

Let's not let mythology and cultural stereotypes cloud the facts.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 08:34 pm
@maxdancona,
Have you read any of her other interviews?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 08:52 pm
@ehBeth,
I just googled Amy Chua, and I didn't see anything that said anything more than the article. Could you provide a link to an interesting one?

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2011 09:09 pm
I also think it is interesting how dramatically the Chinese stereotype in the US has changed in the past century. Just 100 years ago the Chinese in America were considered smelly laborers who tended towards crime, were a threat to American culture and were stealing American jobs.

0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2011 11:18 am
More follow-up from Ms. Chua:

Quote:
I certainly made mistakes and have regrets—my book is a kind of coming-of-age book (for the mom!), and the person at the beginning of the book, whose voice is reflected in the Journal excerpt, is not exactly the same person at the end of book. In a nutshell, I get my comeuppance; much of the book is about my decision to retreat (but only partially) from the strict immigrant model.


http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/01/13/the-tiger-mother-responds-to-readers/
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2011 11:23 am
@maxdancona,
ehBeth posted a link to an interview on the first page (second from the bottom).
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2011 12:07 pm
@maxdancona,
Since she's on a media tour right now there are a lot of good interviews out there. They're certainly not going to sell as many books as the WSJ piece, but they do show her truly nuanced view on her journal.

The best one (for me) was actually a radio interview that I heard in the week before the WSJ piece came out. She's going to be on a CBC radio program tomorrow morning that I plan to listen to as well. She's got quite a dry sense of humour about the whole thing.

Interestingly (?), I was listening to a lecture by the Aga Khan last night, referencing one of her other books

(great lecture on pluralism http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/01/13/the-lafontaine-baldwin-lecture/ )

from wiki

Quote:
Chua has written three books, the first two on international affairs and the third a memoir.

Her second book Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall (2007) examines seven major empires and posits that their success depended on their tolerance of minorities.


Her first book, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (2003), explores the ethnic conflict caused in many societies by disproportionate economic and political influence of "market dominant minorities" and the resulting resentment in the less affluent majority. World on Fire examines how globalization and democratization since 1989 have affected the relationship between market dominant minorities and the wider population, including examining her own Filipino Chinese culture.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherChua, who is ethnically Chinese but whose parents emigrated from the Philippines, published her third book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2010. The book is a memoir in which Chua explains her views on parenting, specifically as it relates to her claims of being a typical Chinese parent. In an earlier interview, Chua has claimed that even though her children speak Chinese, they are "raised Jewish".



She certainly doesn't step back from unpopular views.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2011 12:10 pm
@ehBeth,
my post with the link to the interview from the earlier page

boomerang wrote:
What bothers me is that she seems to think that ALL Chinese mothers are one way and all Western mothers are another way. I don't think this is true at all.


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

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/confessions-of-a-tiger-mom-why-chinese-parenting-is-best/article1864813/

Quote:
Millions of people raise their children this way. It’s not just Chinese people. It’s really an immigrant thing. I know Indians and people from Nigeria and Ghana and Jamaica. Even some Irish. I did not write this book to promote the Chinese model. It’s as much about mistakes as it is about successes.


this part makes a lot of sense to me

Quote:
I haven’t done a study but I think that, ironically, although Western parents are the ones that worry so much about self-esteem – and Chinese parents don’t, they assume strength rather than fragility – I wonder if the Chinese approach isn’t better at creating self-esteem. You can coddle your child and tell them, “You’re the best no matter what.” But in the end, when they go out into the real world, I think it’s pretty tough out there and other children are cruel. When your child doesn’t do so well at school or make the team they’d wished they’d made or can’t get the job they want, that’s when people really lose self-esteem.

The happiness question is up for grabs. I definitely don’t think that one approach leads to happier children.

0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Fri 14 Jan, 2011 12:19 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

The country of China has yet to show any superiority in their education system.

This article was one of many on how well chinese students have done on standardized tests in comparison to the western world.
http://theweek.com/article/index/210136/the-education-race-chinas-stunning-test-scores

Then there is this article... This one says that while the chinese are great test takers, they are lacking creativity.
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/13/world/la-fg-china-education-20110113


Back to immigrant parents... One thing the original article misses, for those of you feeling guilty is that -
immigrants tend to have a tighter family bond with grandparents or extended family living in the home. Grandparents tend to do a great deal of the childcare, afterschool care etc.

Also, I've heard that the asian paradigm on children is quite different than the west. (This is going to be sloppy because I won't be as eloquent as the original statement I read. I hope the message still comes through.)
Where we think children are part of us, dependent upon us, it is our job to train them to be separate capable entities. Asian's tend to think of their children as being an individuals that you must bring into the fold, to train children to be more like you, as it were...

FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 10:26 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

More follow-up from Ms. Chua:

Quote:
I certainly made mistakes and have regrets—my book is a kind of coming-of-age book (for the mom!), and the person at the beginning of the book, whose voice is reflected in the Journal excerpt, is not exactly the same person at the end of book. In a nutshell, I get my comeuppance; much of the book is about my decision to retreat (but only partially) from the strict immigrant model.


http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/01/13/the-tiger-mother-responds-to-readers/


That makes sense. I kind of got the feeling while reading the article that she was trying to justify herself -- something we all do when we have a hunch we're not quite right about something.

I enjoyed this response, even if it still isn't quite my parenting style:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703333504576080422577800488.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 10:51 am
@Ceili,
That fits my irish-heritage mother too. Their family used to hang together strongly, even after the children were adults: e.g, going to the beach as a whole group, not all the time, naturally, but it was a strong memory for her.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 04:48 pm
Nigel, who is half Irish, half Chinese, calls himself "Chirish".
Would that make Chua's girls "Chewish"?
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2011 11:21 pm
@George,
I guess that sounds better than "Jewnese".
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 04:43 pm
David Brooks had a good point here I think:

Quote:
I have the opposite problem with Chua. I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.

Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.

Yet mastering these arduous skills is at the very essence of achievement. Most people work in groups. We do this because groups are much more efficient at solving problems than individuals (swimmers are often motivated to have their best times as part of relay teams, not in individual events). Moreover, the performance of a group does not correlate well with the average I.Q. of the group or even with the I.Q.’s of the smartest members.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon have found that groups have a high collective intelligence when members of a group are good at reading each others’ emotions — when they take turns speaking, when the inputs from each member are managed fluidly, when they detect each others’ inclinations and strengths.

Participating in a well-functioning group is really hard. It requires the ability to trust people outside your kinship circle, read intonations and moods, understand how the psychological pieces each person brings to the room can and cannot fit together.

This skill set is not taught formally, but it is imparted through arduous experiences. These are exactly the kinds of difficult experiences Chua shelters her children from by making them rush home to hit the homework table.

Chua would do better to see the classroom as a cognitive break from the truly arduous tests of childhood. Where do they learn how to manage people? Where do they learn to construct and manipulate metaphors? Where do they learn to perceive details of a scene the way a hunter reads a landscape? Where do they learn how to detect their own shortcomings? Where do they learn how to put themselves in others’ minds and anticipate others’ reactions?

These and a million other skills are imparted by the informal maturity process and are not developed if formal learning monopolizes a child’s time.


(Emphasis mine.)

Long excerpt, whole thing here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/opinion/18brooks.html
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 04:49 pm
@sozobe,
Yes, interesting. On similar issues, I read Brooks' piece in the New Yorker this morning. Very (very very) interesting to me -

Social Animal, here -
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/01/17/110117fa_fact_brooks
talk72000
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 04:57 pm
@ossobuco,
Ms. Chua is a byproduct of Hong Kong education system - the most competitive system in the world probably. The population is around 4 or 5 million but there are only two universities - Hong Kong University and the Chinese Hong Kong University. They could only admit a few hundred students as they are small. There are tens of thousands graduating from high school. Those enrolled in government subsidized schools have been preferred as they have the best scores after all their teachers write the exams. Many others scrape whatever money they can and go to Taiwan, U.K., Canada, Australia and U.S.A. for further studies.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 05:02 pm
@talk72000,
You seem to have looked up the wrong Amy Chua.

The one under discussion here is

Quote:
Amy Chua's parents were academics and members of the Chinese ethnic minority in the Philippines before emigrating to the United States. Amy's father, Leon O. Chua, is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley and is known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks. Amy was born in 1962 in Champaign, Illinois and lived in West Lafayette, Indiana. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Berkeley, California. Chua graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1984. She obtained her J.D. cum laude in 1987 from Harvard Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.[1]


She is a product of the American education system.
talk72000
 
  0  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 05:16 pm
@ehBeth,
Regardless, the Chinese from Hong Kong have this attitude. Hong Kong really is the New York of Asia - very competitive.
 

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