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Are Chinese moms better than American moms? Weigh in after reading this article!  

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html?KEYWORDS=china+parents

 

An article in the WSJ has all moms weighing in on this lady's opinion of "western moms."  

What do you guys think?

post #2 of 40

The entire piece is just so arrogant it's almost comical. I was waiting for a punch line! 

 

With any parenting style there has to be balance and this is obviously just a shock-value piece. The piece should be entitled "Why one snooty law professor who happens to be Chinese-American thinks she's superior to everyone else.." 

 

post #3 of 40

While I find some things in the article true, I find her methods extremely harsh and some downright abusive.  I do feel that American parents worry too much about their children's self esteem which, for many parents, causes them to undermine the esteem they are trying to help.  I also wonder what other Chinese mothers would say about this woman's methods.  They may be right on, but I have found alot of information about women in the military, or southern women to totally NOT describe me in any way shape or form.  I have also found alot of information on GD parents, written by other GD parents to not describe my parenting style at all.  So, I would be curious as to what the consesus of Chinese mothers on her article would be.

post #4 of 40
Oh my lord, that article was hideous! Thank goodness I was not born into HER family.
post #5 of 40

It was so provocative that I initially thought it was fake...and then sadly realized that this lady really believes herself.

post #6 of 40

All I can say is...wow. I think a lot of American parents don't expect enough from their children, but...wow.

post #7 of 40

Wow, does this make me mad!  Here's what an Asian-American friend of mine posted after reading it:

 

"This article makes me very sad. I did not respond well to this type of upbringing, even though it was far less stringent than the one this author describes, forever tainting my views on: child rearing (I will never have my own children), success (nothing I do is good enough for me), and love (the word is too poisonous for me to use). My mother raised me the only way she knew how, and I live my life the only way I can as a result."

 

That about sums it up for me.  On the one hand, I can see how this could be an "effective" strategy to create "success." On the other hand, is that kind of success really the end result one wants in raising children? And do such ends really justify those means?

post #8 of 40

Well, I'm glad that her story on getting Lulu to learn a piece worked so well, however had my own mom spoken to me that way as a 7 year old, I'd still be hurting from all the names and things flung at me as a means of 'motivation.'

 

I agree, I feel a lot of 'western' parents try so hard to keep their children happy and self esteem up that the miss the point about encouraging their children to keep going even when it is hard, but I definitely definitely think that you can get a child through the hard time to the easy proud time without calling them garbage or lazy or threatening to starve them.

 

I also wonder how many children raised the way this woman raises her kids and believes many other Chinese women raise theirs have everything together in their private life.  Sure, they might have good grades and a successful job, but how many are truly happy?  I would assume its like anything where some kids in that environment would be totally fine, and some would struggle a great deal, but how many fall into each category?

post #9 of 40

She has some points about some things. However, she also has an incredibly narrow definition of "success". One of the commenters said something about a child eventually choosing whether to have an ordinary life or an extraordinary one...with the underlying assumption that "extraordinary" = "better". What if the child who is playing Carnegie Hall at 12 wants an "ordinary" life? Where is the "success" in being excellent at something you don't even want?

 

I used to get this with parenting articles, too. There'd be all kinds of stuff about being agood parent that basically boiled down to, "if you follow this strategy, your child will go to the best school, get the best grades, and get the best job (ie. make the most money)" and the underlying assumption that "good parent" equals "parent whose child grows up to be wealthy" was never questioned. It makes me nuts.

 

And, I have to admit that I also wonder what would have happened if the one daughter were simply unable to play the piano piece in question.

post #10 of 40

Wow. I had a hard time finishing it because it upset me so much. I could really care less if my kid ever plays the piano or any other instrument at all let alone perfectly. At seven, none the less. My idea of success for my kids is a far cry from hers - I want my kids to be happy with the people they are. Whatever "achievements" they make are secondary. I could not sleep at night if I treated my children the way that woman describes. 

post #11 of 40

Wow. Lovely.

 

Some of the "Chinese mom" traits remind me of a blog by a Korean woman about her mother. She mentioned the incessant put-downs, in particular - calling her fat, worthless, not good enough and so on. She had a sense of humour about it, but it was definitely tinged with bitterness. I wonder if her mother feels she's "gotten away with it"? I remember a lot of comments on that blog by women from similar backgrounds, and some of them sounded extremely angry and damaged about their upbringing. I wonder if many of these women are too intimidated to confront their mothers - or believe in cultural values of respect to elders, so they feel it wouldn't be right to do so - so that they maintain a respectful, civil relationship and it looks like the system "works"?

 

Quote:
And, I have to admit that I also wonder what would have happened if the one daughter were simply unable to play the piano piece in question.

"Some Western parents would have felt guilty about locking their daughter in the basement for the next five years, but that's what I did. Unconflicted by irrational feelings of overprotectiveness, I spoke to Lulu only once a day through a CCTV system, motivating her by telling her how worthless and lazy she was. Surprisingly, when I boasted of this strategy at a dinner party, I was arrested. Lulu was taken into foster care by a Western family with lax values and soppy sentimentality, and as a result she still cannot play "The Little White Donkey"."

post #12 of 40

Oddly enough, though...I did still come away from it feeling that I need to push my kids a little more than I do...wonder if that feeling will stick until tomorrow?

 

The putdowns thing really, really bothered me. I also found her comments about America still having more eating disorders, etc. really misleading. I strongly believe that the prevalence of...crap (sugar, HFCS, trans fats, artificial flavour/colour, etc.) is a factor in the development of so many eating disorders - not to mention the advertising.

post #13 of 40

My mother was much like that Chinese mom, and I don't have much respect for her, or even like her that much. I feel much of my life was stolen from me. I was openly called ugly and such. When I got 1520 on the SATs (there were only 2 tests back then) I was told it was not good enough. When I earned straight A's, not good enough. I was just never good enough.

 

I would never parent like that rotten horrible no good "Chinese mother." Her children might have had great gifts in some areas or passions, but they will never know. Their mother made them in to puppets rather than people.

post #14 of 40

You were told 1520 was not good enough?? And that was on the 1600 scale, right?  Wow. IMHO it was good enough!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

My mother was much like that Chinese mom, and I don't have much respect for her, or even like her that much. I feel much of my life was stolen from me. I was openly called ugly and such. When I got 1520 on the SATs (there were only 2 tests back then) I was told it was not good enough. When I earned straight A's, not good enough. I was just never good enough.

 

I would never parent like that rotten horrible no good "Chinese mother." Her children might have had great gifts in some areas or passions, but they will never know. Their mother made them in to puppets rather than people.


 

I walked away with some ideas about how to better parent my kiddo. I think her methods are extreme and harsh and not my style, but I agree that I should expect that my child is strong, not weak, and that my child *can* do things and be more disciplined about practicing. I totally agree that just about anyone can do just about anything.

 

But the other side to this is not everyone in China can get straight A's and that shame they bring upon the heads of their parent's results in a very high suicide rate.

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Asia-Pacific/September-October-08/Chinese-Youth-Vulnerable-to-Suicide--Report-Says.html

 

I would prefer to avoid that scenario. I think it brings no shame to be less than perfect. Or even not very good at something. I truly believe that working *really* hard at something, even if you fail, is a what matters.

post #15 of 40

 


Wow, wow, well some differences, quite the conditional love system.
post #16 of 40

No thanks. They are beaten into submission. This kind of parenting will ultimately lead to a backlash once the kid has real freedom, if there is any personal confidence, creativity, personality, and critical thinking left. Life is not just about test scores and academic degrees.

post #17 of 40

While some parenting "methods" Chua talks about in her article are considered acceptable in traditional Chinese culture (shaming, criticism, name calling, harsh punishment), this woman is not a "Chinese" mother, she's a Chinese-American mother, and she shouldn't fool herself as to just how American her children actually are. For one, they are much more privileged than the average Chinese child. Chua is a Yale professor and both of her parents, while immigrants, came over here as academics. She gives far too much credit for her children's success to her strict parenting methods and not nearly enough to the culture, educational system, and privilege that her children enjoyed growing up in America. Of course not all Chinese children can be number one, that's just ridiculous, obviously. Nor, do I think, most of the parents here expect them to be. Parenting is pretty cultural -- Chinese parents parent the way they do because that's how they were raised, not because ALL Chinese mothers accept nothing but excellence from their children.

 

As for whether or not this sort of parenting is effective, I teach high school here and plenty of my Chinese students are what she would call "losers" and all of the name calling in the world does not make them any better at Chemistry or English, nor will it get them into Yale or Harvard. What happens when those students are called names or shamed is that they just give up completely. I have kids who turn in blank exams, they just don't even try!

 

I should also say that while there's a lot wrong with some of the parenting I see here in China, not all Chinese parents are like Chua. I see lots of loving families here, lots of parents who do try to treat their children with respect, who practice gentle parenting. If you look at the companion article also posted on the WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059720804985228.html  , you'll see that in modern China a lot of parents are turning away from traditional parenting and adopting more gentler, child-centered approach.

post #18 of 40

i think like most cultural practices it works ok in a vacuum, when there is no comparison.  It's horrible to be called ugly, but if everyone is called ugly it's not so bad.  unfortunately there is no vacuum any more.

post #19 of 40

DS2 is in the middle of college applications.  He took his SATs in the fall and got a couple 800s, which is like meeting a minimum of sorts for the schools that interest him most.  The meaning of the results for him?  Is that the scores won't hurt him!  What PPs said about success has been much on my mind through all this because the numbers are such a presence even though, IMO, they don't reveal all that much about a student.

post #20 of 40

I found this article to be extremely interesting (apparently she has a book out too?).  My good friend has a mother that sounds very very similar to the one in the article and I'm excited to talk to her about her reaction.  My friend is very "successful" in that she works 12 hours a day and makes a ton of money.  She doesn't seem like a very happy person - she doesn't have any friends outside of work and has never really dated.  I look forward to discussing this with her.

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