Author Amy Chua declares that Asian-American parents succeed in raising very successful children due to very intense demands for excellence and by being very truthful with their children and their efforts in school.
The so called "Tiger mother" writes that she has denied her offspring play dates and sleepovers, and demands that they bring home straight Aâ��s. Chua does not apologize for her actions rather suggests that western parenting takes a different viewpoint and perhaps instills a different sense of true self-esteem.
Chua claims that many American children and even third generation Asian-American children are "soft and entitled" and where every suburban soccer player earns the title of most valuable player when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
So what do you think? Is the "Tiger mother" onto something-is the Asian-American parenting style of being very truthful and expecting excellence better than the Western parenting style?
When I was a kid we didn't have play dates we went out and played.
Yes, she is more right than wrong.
Just when did "play dates" get started anyway and who invented them?
I think Chua goes too far one way and a lot of American parents go too far the other. Tiger Mothers are not concerned enough about damaging their children but American mothers are often too concerned.
It is a matter of balance. Pushing children to reach their potential is a good thing. But punishing children for failure and not allowing them the freedom to be kids, like Chua advocates, is pushing way too far.
If all A's is her only measure of a person, then bully for this Chua person. Apparently, she's figured out a way to get all "A's" out of her kids without regard for for their emotional wellbeing, and with the assumption that the only people who have real self-esteem and self-respect are people who are bullied and pressured into getting all "A's".
She apparently doesn't have the reasoning ability, herself, not to make blanket generalizations about American mothers and their kids either. I'm an American mother and raised a couple of kids (without pressuring, bullying, or denying them important social aspects of their childhoods) who had eleventh-grade reading levels when they were in third grade.
I think Chua needs to go back to the drawing board and write a book about something she knows more about.
I'm getting a little sick of people who look at other cultures (in which children's wellbeing, individuality, emotional needs, and overall intellectual and social development are disregarded in favor of pushing kids to get all "A's" or go into some field parents respect more than other fields) offering opinions on what American mothers/parents ought to be doing.
The issue of Asian v western parenting is an old one. Here in China parents consider that the development of a childs education is maybe THE most essential aspect of their future life. And here, where the jobs differential is huge between a 'good' job and an 'ordinary' job they are right.
Traditionally, Chinese culture trains and grows kids to become the next generation and then hands over the 'head of family' to their kids once they are established. It normal to buy your kids a house here if you have the money, sometimes several houses, buy their car and get them a job with your influence. The parents then retire and look after the grandkids so that the new parents can keep working.
I would expect that Ms Chua has been attacked repeatedly and rudely about her different attitude to her kids, this is normal behaviour that I see around me here among the ex-pat community. Her outburst would also be a normal reaction from a confident mature woman to any criticism of her in relation to her kids.
Ms Hua may be going a little over the top in what she says, even a little over the top (even for Chinese) in what she is doing - BUT - the 'norm' of the western system is already way over the top in the opposite direction. Chinese youth at all levels of society are very well educated for each level of ability, they are well behaved, confident and as young adults they are socially complete, responsible and, well, 'adult'.
On the other hand western students are divided into those who succeed and the rest. Those that succeed usually have driving parents who paid a lot af attention to the childs education and future - those who don't are given some kind of 'diploma' or 'attended the course' ticket - and excused any real need to know anything but still told they can climb the american dream ladder. The difference is apparent when observing American youth with Chinese youth. The Chinese often appear to behave in childish ways, their naive play and closeness make them appear very young, while the american youth is usually worldly and intense and arrogant. Western youth seem to know 'a lot' but the Chinese do know a lot. The response of the American is to 'devalue' the knowledge of the Chinese and promote the value of their subcultural hand gestures and 'knowing' slang comments - which are completely lost on a culture that looks down on sexual promiscuity, divorce, drug use and 'acting crazy' to show off.
I don't expect to get a favourable response to the idea that Chinese kids are probably better than yours in every respect - but at least you will understand how Ms Chua might want to respond to similar criticism.
I came from Asia and the expectation to succeed in school is too much I think. The children have schedules which are too hectic even on weekends they need to go tutoring and learn academics. The training for Math is too rigid and I can see that children doesn't have much time for extra curricular activities anymore. Besides children here in our culture (US) question things more, eloquent and say what they want. With the other side, you can't complain and just follow what the elders will tell you.
I'd like to see a showdown between "Tiger Mother" and "Mamma Grizzly."
We must remember that, with the pressures that come with striving for "suck-cess", there is a bedfellow following close behind named,"issues".
I think anything in extreme is unhealthy. her second child rebelled against her extreme parenting. I think it's more ego on the parent's part rather than letting the child be a child.
we're not animals. we're human beings.
cultural differences also play a part.
Yeah, the cultural differences are interesting. see http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture/do … ids-27301/
kathyseal, that's a great article, thanks for sharing. I think understanding cultural differences and language makes a huge difference in how we perceive each other. I've worked with children from different cultures and while the parenting practices may look different, I do think the ultimate goal is to raise a well-rounded, healthy, smart child.
I have a comment on one of my parenting hubs from someone from another culture and he emphasizes raising disciplined, intelligent children for a global society. I understand what he is saying. I think there needs to be a balanced consistency in raising children, adapting as the child grows.
I definitely cringe at some of the stuff she does but what do you think it says about the cultural differences if that culture raises children who fare better in academics and careers?
Also is there a study somewhere on how well adjusted children raised this way are? I'd love to know.
some of it sounds like child abuse.. I think there's an element of fear behind such controlling parenting which has to have an effect on the child, regardless of the age. I think children learn more from mistakes than striving for perfection, which is not attainable. Success doesn't mean an ivy league degree or a six figure income. my thoughts...
it would be interesting to see some studies. I just finished reading this article in the NYT. It gives another look at it, rather interesting observations.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/opini … f=homepage
I think there are definitely good sides to some aspects in the different cultures. When my kids were little I read Suzuki's book (of the Suzuki violin method) about how children learn music. I loved his observations and beliefs about young children and learning. He went through many ways Japanese mothers are with their children, and at the time I thought, "Hey - in some ways I'm kind of more like those Japanese mothers." (Then, of course, there were also differences.) There are some things in parenting that I think individual parents do, regardless of their culture.
Borrowing a little something here or there, or seeing how one kind of thing or another seems to get good results is nice. What I don't like is that these days a lot of people seem to imply (or out-and-out say) that the way other cultures (other than Western) raise their children is more successful across the board (when much of the time the matter is really about why so many American kids don't excel in math or science - which is a problem, but which is far from all that matters when it comes to raising a well adjusted, independent, happy, intelligent, individual. There is an awful lot that's very right about how a whole lot of children in Western culture are viewed, respected, and raised.
Some American parents are more skilled than others when it comes to having well mannered kids and/or kids who excel academically, and maybe there's some work to be done when it comes to that. Still, I don't fixing the problem of kids who don't behave well or achieve in school is to go backwards when it comes to valuing a child's autonomy, individuality, healthy independence, or talents in areas/thinking other than math. As it is, we already have too many people who think their children belong to them, almost as if they're objects without minds, spirits, or emotional needs. (Obviously, I seem to be venting here. Must be those American parents of mine, who raised me to think for myself and speak my mind. )
This is one of those stories, a bit like the "new" astrological sign, that becomes something unto itself on the internet. Words get taken out of context, reactionary responses fan the flames of opinion becoming fact.
I could espouse for hours on the detriments of Ms. Chua's childrearing mentality, especially as it pertains to the psychological health of the child, but it would probably be ignored. So instead I will present an example of its shortcomings.
I had the honor of attending Carnegie Hall in 2007 when Ms. Chua's daughter played. I must admit I am tonedeaf, and the nuances of her piano playing were probably lost on me. But, to my untrained ear, her rendition of Beethoven's Piano Sonata Number 32 in C-Minor was masterfully performed. However, had Beethoven been raised according to Ms. Chau's methods, I suspect he would never have composed that piece for her daughter to play.
In other words. She quashes all creativity in favor of productivity. As Shakespeare would say, "It is a tale of an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." And though her children may find some modicum of success in their lives, it will never be something they can say they own or did for themselves, and thus it will never be enough. She has raised highly successfull, broken children who know nothing of a world without a mother constantly watching and giving orders. I shudder to think the shock they would experience should they find themselves in a situation for which they were not coached.
I do think Mr. Beethoven had an even harder taskmaster--his father.
I think you may have mistaken kindness with permissiveness. His father Johann was a cruel drunk who relied upon his son's gift for their family's livlihood. But, when not requiring young Ludwig practice his musical talents, he let the boy do as he wished, if only to keep him out from underfoot. Nowhere in Ms. Chua's philosophy on childrearing is there any mention of freetime or the opportunity to formulate the child's own thoughts or opinions. It is that to which I object, not the stricture of the daily schedule or high performance expectations, as I am inclined to agree with those, provided the child is not physically or mentally impaired in some way.
I think it important to follow up and read Ms. Chua's and her family's reaction to the article published by WSJ before saddling the woman with the label of cruel and abusive or assuming that one even understands her philosophy on raising children. I am not being critical of your position so much as I am astonished at how WSJ misrepresented Ms. Chua memoir as a kind of Asian parenting issue. Then to watch how the Western parent vs. Asian parent debate flew across the internet in hours,made headline news on TV--what are we thinking?
You make a very fair point. And I'm quite glad we've been able to hold a civil discussion online without it devolving into anything nasty. The chance to hold a real conversation has been a pleasure.
I never really did get the impression that Ms. Chua was trying to go head-to-head in comparing "Eastern" versus "western" parenting styles so much as document her own experiences in parenting and espousing her beliefs. The problem, at least in my opinion, is her style of prose. It lends itself to being easily misunderstood given the evidence she uses to support her claims.
For example, I seem to recall her mentioning a musical recital in which her daughters were expected to play. Another child, much older than her daughters, was unable to play a piece of music which her daughters had mastered long ago. The child's mother claimed this was because her child was a different person and developed at his own rate.
Now, unless this child was impaired in some way, the fact that he couldn't perform was likely because he didn't practice enough, so I disagree with the mother's attempt to protect her child from ridicule when it was rightly due. But the manner in which Ms. Chua responded to the mother's statement does her little credit. She could've presented a logical argument to the contrary, or she could've dropped it right there because how the boy was raised was none of her business, but she did neither. Instead, she mocked both mother and child, certain beyond question that her own method of child-rearing was superior.
This sort of ad hominem behavior helps give the reader the impression that Ms. Chua is condescending and arrogant. Whether she really is or not is irrelevant. The fact is that if her readers perceive she is so, then it makes the claims WSJ presented that much more credible. While I don't condone WSJ's sensationalist presentation and attempting to make Ms. Chua's book something that it's not, blaming them for it is a little like blaming a cat for napping on a pile of clean clothes. It's just in their nature.
even with all the backlash she has received, she still says that if given the chance to do it again, she would basically parent the same way. her girls are still young, the scars will show up as they get out on their own in the real world.
another article written by an adult who was raised with tiger parents. http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/20/l … ml?npt=NP1
I saw the Tiger Mom doing an interview on PBS not too long ago. I heard her say that her daughters had to practice their instruments 3 hours a day. As a musician, I can respect the amount of time spent practicing, but, it leaves less time to study other subjects. Balance is the key. I would recommend 30 minutes a day for practicing a musical instrument. An hour would even more beneficial. After that, it's too much unless you're already at a very high level of musicianship. Plus, 30 minutes to 1 hour per day, everyday, would greatly improve grades in Math, Science, and Reading Literacy. The brain just develops more effectively when music studies are incorporated into an educational curriculum.
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