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The Wall Street Journal posted an article written by Amy Chua titled. Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The article is getting a lot of flack particularly in the Asian/Asian-America community. Here are excerpts from the article. The full article is here: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior:


A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed 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.

 

When it comes to parenting, the Chinese seem to produce children who display academic excellence, musical mastery and professional success - or so the stereotype goes. WSJ's Christina Tsuei speaks to two moms raised by Chinese immigrants who share what it was like growing up and how they hope to raise their children.


What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

 

Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can't. Once when I was young—maybe more than once—when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me "garbage" in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn't damage my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn't actually think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.


Asians/Asian-Americans who have had similar experiences to the way Amy treats her children admit to feeling resentment towards their parents as a result. I'm interested in hearing if any of the guys here (Chinese or not) had to deal with similar parenting and how it has effected you. What do you think about this article?

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I know you addressed this to the guys, but this sounds exactly like my childhood except my instrument was steel pan, not the piano or violin and yet still I'm no math or science whiz.  Besides school I had weekend and summer lessons and was not allowed to partake in after school activities, which led me to lie and make extra-curricular activities sound like they'd get me a scholarship or say I had a late class. 

 

I don't think this is specific to Asian/Asian American culture because although my father is half Chinese, this behavior came mainly from my mother.  One of my teachers actually had a talk with my mom about us not being allowed to watch TV and told her it was too extreme.  If I brought home a 95 or something on a test my mom was never satisfied and always said I could have done better, no matter how hard I had tried.  My mom's sisters were like this too and one of my aunts did not let her kids eat candy.  I remember in JHS friends asking for my report card to make a copy and scam their parents into believing it was theirs, but I couldn't feel 100% good about mine because I knew a 96 average was not going to be good enough. 

 

In respect to the resentment, I do have some because I feel I missed out on certain milestones and social experiences that children/ teens need to experience.  I believe balance is the best way to go.  As a teenager I decided to make my own choices because it was driving me crazy.  My mother is still upset with me 15+ years later because I didn't become a nurse like she wanted.  My sister did what she wanted and has been a nurse for 13 years and she hates it.   I know people who may make a lot of money due to going into a certain field their parents forced them into, but they are unhappy or bored with their career.  I lost my job at the end of 2009 and just started back working less than a month ago and the entire time, every time I saw my mother, she would bring up the fact that if I had been a nurse like she told me, I never would have had any problems finding a job.  While I understand parents want their kids to go on to do well in life, I think forcing people into limited choices can limit them in certain ways despite the outward appearance of success.

you don't see a slew of white, black, or hispanic children commiting suicide for not meeting the high expectations like you do with asian children.

 

so one of two things are happening here.  on average, either asian parents are tougher on their children when it comes to academics, or asian children are have weaker backbones. 

 

on average, there's also a disparity when it comes to academic success between asian or asian american children and others. 

 

so again, one of three things are happening here.  on average, asian parents are tougher on their children when it comes to academics, asian children just want to work harder, or asian children are naturally smarter.

 

the data is the data, it's all about how you interpret it. 

I believe a combination of Asian parents being tougher and some Asian kids not standing up to them as much as kids from other races, probably due to culture and respecting elders.  Maybe the culture of respecting elders and not disappointing them may be a bigger reason (specifically for newly immigrated Asians) the kids don't stand up to their parents and to us it looks like they have no backbone. I've heard theories that religions like Buddhism don't condemn suicides like Christianity does, so Asians who follow those religions also may not see suicide in the same way a Christian does.  Regardless of the reason, as a mental health professional, suicide is heartbreaking because no one wins. 

 

I don't believe Asians/ Asian Americans are naturally smarter than other races.  I have heard that speaking Mandarin has a benefit in science and math, so a person of  any race that learns Mandarin as a child can have that added benefit.  Also I believe I read this from census data or something similar, but the most educated immigrants are black (African specifically I believe it said) yet people always assume black people are uneducated and Asians are educated or smarter than most.  I think some of this belief of Asians being so much smarter than others has to do with what is portrayed by mainstream America.

 

christians have been killing themselves for centuries.  for the most part, it's only catholics that condemn suicide and say that you're going to hell if you do it.

 

someone did tell me that african immigrants are the highest educated out of all of the subgroups, however i did some reasearch and question that assertion :

 

http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf

 

it says that 1/4 of foreign born blacks have a bachelor's or higher.  it also says that 1/2 of foreign born asians have a bachelor's of higher.  3/8 of foreign born whites have a bachelor's or higher.

 

while that theory regarding language may apply only to people who speak mandarin, it doesn't explain that almost 1/2 of all filipinos-americans are college educated and more than 2/3 of indian americans are college educated.  two groups which are disproportionately in the sciences, engineering, and medicine.

I guess since I'm Catholic I was viewing it from my perspective of suicide and yes people of all religions have killed themselves.  I don't know, I was just throwing out some reasons I heard in the past.

 

I skimmed the site you posted here.  The numbers state foreign born which can be tricky.  I'm foreign born, but I immigrated as a kid so I would have been too young to have a BA degree, but would still be included in those numbers.  The way that I read it was at the time they immigrated, Africans had the highest percentage of college educated, meaning the amount of adults coming to the US with degrees already.  I don't remember where I saw it and to  be honest I'm too lazy to look for it.

 

In reference to you comment about Filipinos and Indians doing well in math and science, like I mentioned above, I do believe that some parents, or maybe the culture, are tougher on their kids.  I know education is very important in my culture and in much of the Caribbean.  In my family (the non-Chinese side) there are doctors, engineers and other professionals but I come from a country of just over a million people, so we cannot make a dent in the world compared to China and India with billions of people or even the Philipines.  The Psychology field does not require high level science or math (I never took one math class in college, not including Stats if you count that), but if a field I was more interested in required I'm sure I would have done well. 

 

Bottom line, education is very important and I believe parents should push their kids, but if it gets to a point where they're killing themselves due to not doing well in school, it's too much.  I believe there should be a balance in life because someone may appear successful on the outside due to being educated with a well paying job, but if they are miserable, to me it's not really worth it.  The college I attend has a high population of Asians and is a known Business and Accounting school and we often have students coming in crying to us that they want to be xyz and their parents want them to be an Accountant or work on Wall Street.  I hate to see people in emotional turmoil and being so close to NYU with their suicides it concerns me.  These are tough situations students face and all I can do is wish things work out for them because either way someone's not happy (them or their parents).

i don't disagree.  my folks tried to push medicine on me.  and that's before my aspirations to be the filipino deion sanders or derek zoolander fell short.  but i also went on to get a couple degrees in engineering, so i guess they're satisfied with that.
Yes it was.
The article is based on a book called Tiger Mother or something like that.  She's been on a couple of shows talking about the book and how Chinese mothers are the best mothers and many people have been criticizing her.  Her kids are all successful and they may be happy, but I still believe balance is best.

What do you think about this article? STOOPID thats what i think lol. They maybe smarter and conservative but im on the side of creativity and originality.  The fact is ppl or kids or even adults i should add when given the freedom are more artistic, inventive, creative! Name me a country that out-produces us in originality, inventions, trends, products, services.

 

I mean is this really an article in the wall st journal? I guess the editor in chief is giving her free range lol. Sounds a bit "superior thinking" to me and u know where that usually leads. If i had kids of course i would try to be a good role model and good parent (one would hope lol) So i think good direction and guidance is better than being hella strict.

 

Thats my 2 cents on child development :)

stupid article!

what else did you expect coming from wallstreet.

Hits extremely close to home, and I'm not Chinese.  Everything they listed is pretty much how I was raised XD.  Forget not being able to attend a sleepover, I grew up practically on lock down with a strict schedule of activities that I still remember; up and dressed by 6:30 am, 6:30-7:00 was breakfast, piano from 7-9, violin from 9-10, French from 10-11:30, Lunch from 11:30-noon, typical subjects from noon-5, around 45-ish minutes of free time, dinner, then more music practice until bed.  I was LUCKY if I got to see other children besides my twin on weekends, and usually even then it was only in passing.  I didn't actually KNOW any of those kids.  I was tutored at HOME until around 14 years old when I was 'allowed' to attend private school, but my curriculum was extremely restricted and I was still home tutored as well; going to school was strictly to develop social skills and network.

 

What do I have to show for it?  I'm well educated; I always received straight A's.  I have double degrees, pondering going to medical school.  I recently auditioned for the symphony and, though I don't plan to accept, was invited to play for them.  Academically and financially, I'm what most people would consider a success story.  Interpersonally?  I'm a hermit; I have the same 5 close friends that I've had since I first began at private school.  Outwardly, I'm the object of much jealousy; people tell me all the time they're jealous of my musical skill.  Inwardly, I'm the same as ever, just a lonely kid that grew into a lonely adult.

 

So, no, I won't be doing it to my kids, though some might think the pros outweigh the cons, I don't think it's worth it.

Kids are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for.  It doesn't take a dictator amount of dictation to give them a bright future.  Just a healthy dose of parental guidance and none of that 'I want to be friends with my kids' crap.  There's a middle ground in everything.

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