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|23-01-2011, 03:11 PM||#1 (permalink)|
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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior
I would say the truth lays somewhere in between. A little more discipline and respect won't hurt our kids.
The Chinay Tiger Mother
By Rodel Rodis
INQUIRER.net First Posted 09:40:00 01/23/2011
CALIFORNIA, United States—The most hated author in America is set to appear on the front cover of next week's Time Magazine. It's not Sarah Palin but Amy Chua, the daughter of Chinese Filipino immigrants who unleashed a firestorm of controversy with the publication of her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” about how she raised her kids.
New York Times columnist David Brooks entitled his January 17, 2011 column “Amy Chua is a Wimp” announcing that “a large slice of educated America decided that Amy Chua is a menace to society (for writing) a bracing critique of what she considers the weak, cuddling American parenting style.”
Brooks accused Chua of delivering a "broadside against American parenting even as she mocks herself for her own extreme ‘Chinese’ style. She says American parents lack authority and produce entitled children who aren’t forced to live up to their abilities.”
The whole Chua brouhaha broke out on January 8, 2011 when the Wall Street Journal published Amy Chua’s essay “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” where she describes the “Chinese” way she raised her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa.
In her article, Chua unapologetically declares that she did not allow her children to “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, not play any instrument other than piano and violin.”
Chua describes the cultural difference in this way: “Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you." By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out.”
Chua observed three fundamental differences in the outlook of Chinese and Western parents. First, “Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem… concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.”
“Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything…By contrast, I don't think most Westerners have the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents,” describing her Jewish-American husband’s view that “kids don't owe their parents anything. Their duty will be to their own kids."
Third, “Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”
Chua's Battle Hymn book was published a week after her Wall Street Journal article appeared and the controversy catapulted her book to # 6 on the Amazon book list earning for Chua every cent of the reported “high six-figure advance” she received from Penguin Books. (She is currently in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of a national book promotional tour.)
But the downside of the publicity is that Chua has received death threats and thousands of hate emails since her article appeared. The Wall Street Journal article alone generated more than 5,000 comments on the newspaper’s website with most calling her “nuts” and a few complimenting her for being a “very savvy provocateur.”
Chua's parents immigrated to the US from the Philippines in 1961 before Amy was born. She graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School, where she was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review (like Barack Obama before her). After passing the bar, she worked as a corporate law associate, taught at Duke Law School, and currently is a distinguished professor of law at Yale Law School.
In his New York Times column, Brooks explained that his problem with Chua is basically that by demanding that her kids spend four hours practicing the piano or violin instead of going out on sleepovers, “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,” Brooks asserts.
But Leon Breaux, an American teacher in Beijing who taught high school in three US states and in three Asian countries, wrote the New York Times to dispute Brooks’s critique: “Here's an intelligent, accomplished man comparing structured intellectual activity and training to socializing, and proclaiming socializing the winner. My question is this: If you don't know anything, what good is your socializing?”
“Knowing something takes learning. Learning is generally hard work. Children often don't want to do it. Trying to brush this away as something inconsequential and not as important as socialization or achievement of status is a great recipe for stagnation or worse,” Breaux argued.
The fierce debate rages on.
The Chinay Tiger Mother - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
Rousing the Tiger Mother Inside Me
I am hardly the target demographic for "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," Yale Law Professor Amy Chua's wildly controversial memoir of extreme parenting, Chinese-style. Single with no kids, I do spend a lot of time with friends' offspring, but given one child's recent observation that I seem more like an overgrown teenager than one of their parents' peers, I think it's safe to say that my authority is limited. Besides, my young friends all have devoted mamas of their own -- most of whom would sooner eat nails than follow Chua's example.
My initial interest in Chua's memoir -- and it is a memoir, as she's taken to stressing, not a child-rearing guide -- stemmed from the fact that we share a mutual friend, which is how I came to be in New Haven on Friday for her reading at The Study at Yale Hotel. But as I listened to Chua describe how she's raised two strong-willed and accomplished daughters, I found myself caught up in her story -- and intrigued by its implications for life beyond the parenting zone.
Long after we've grown and left home, we continue, in a sense, to act as our own moms and dads, exhorting, challenging, urging on as we strive to meet our goals. How we talk to ourselves really does matter, and rafts of self-help books admonish us to quiet the so-called "inner critic" and be kinder to ourselves. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for kindness, for compassionate self-regard. Harsh self-judgments can be crippling, and those of us who struggle with such voices must find ways to surmount them. But that leaves open the question of how we go about this. What strategies should we use? What strategies are most effective?
Thanks in large part to a Wall Street Journal excerpt that went viral on the Internet, Chua's book became instantly notorious for its most provocative sections -- and in truth, they are many. (As a side note, the misleading Journal headline "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" really is "The Gift That Keeps on Giving," prompting follow-up leads such as "Amy Chua Backs Away from Controversial Claims" -- a statement true only to the extent that Chua can recant a claim that she never made.) Chua prohibited play dates, sleepovers and any grade less than an A. She rejected her young daughters' handmade birthday cards, demanding better ones. (She got them.) She once called her older daughter "garbage" for behaving disrespectfully.
But these examples reflect where Chua started, not who she is today, and passing judgment on her based on them strikes me as a bit akin to passing judgment on Jane Austen's Emma for her churlish behavior to Miss Bates. Like Emma's, Chua's narrative has an arc. It's a coming-of-age story -- where the one to come of age is the parent, as she put it Friday night.
Somewhat lost in all the tumult is the fact that, controversy aside, Chua offers plenty of food for thought, and not just for those with kids. None of it is rocket science -- or even really new terrain -- but at least for me, her message came as a welcome shot in the arm.
One especially timely reminder, as I wrestle with my own book proposal: Mastery leads to fun and enjoyment, not the other way around. For Chinese mothers of Chua's ilk, effort is everything. Chua calls this phenomenon a "virtuous circle," going on to explain that "[t]o 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."
Children and, ahem, more than a few adults.
Reading this, I couldn't help but think that I might push myself a bit harder, try "writing through" more tough spots instead of taking a break. I'm pretty sure this isn't always the answer -- often a time-out works wonders -- but I'm curious to see what happens when I give it a try.
I also found inspiration in Chua's breezy acknowledgment that life is hard and in her conviction that resistance alone isn't a reason to stop going -- which is also, incidentally, the underpinning of Scott Peck's quintessentially American mega-bestseller "The Road Less Traveled." Significantly, Chua's message that success requires effort is coupled with the message that the child has what it takes. "Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently," she writes in one much-discussed passage.
In other words, it's not that feelings are meaningful but disregarded -- rather they're ephemeral and in many ways irrelevant. In the Buddhist vipassana tradition that I've spent some time studying, emotions are often described as being like "weather." We're urged to watch them come and go without acting on them. Similarly, Chua suggests, our resistance to forging ahead towards goals can simply be set aside. For me, this perspective is liberating, one well-worth striving to maintain.
Yet helpful insights notwithstanding, I'd still likely have had scant interest if Chua weren't so all-out funny (often at her own expense). Describing a post-violin lesson session "helping" her daughter practice, she writes, "'RELAX!' I screamed at home. 'Mr. Shugart said RAG DOLL!'" Recalling a conversation with her husband about how to raise their dog, an affable Samoyed named Coco, she recounts, "The more Jed gently pointed out that she did not have an overachieving personality, and that the point of a pet is not necessarily to take them to the highest level, the more I was convinced that Coco had hidden talent." Chua has been accused of promoting a parenting style designed to produce humorless automatons, but here she's her own best rebuttal -- as well as a reminder of the healing and life-affirming powers of humor. "'Humor is everything,' I once said to a friend." And while this is doubtless an exaggeration, Chua's book served to remind me that it's not entirely false.
None of this is to say that the parenting model described by Chua should be adopted wholesale. (Indeed, the night I heard her speak, the Tiger Mother was preparing to host a birthday party sleepover, ironic given that one of her most-cited "rules" is no sleepovers, ever.) Moreover, some adults -- as well as some kids -- simply don't do well with tough love. In a startling twist late in the book, Chua discloses that her own father hated his family and was barely on speaking terms with his mother at the time she died. It also didn't work with Chua's younger daughter, whose rebellion sparked the book.
Still, knowing myself as I do -- and who knows me better? -- I think I could use a little more of Chua's rigorous discipline. "High expectations coupled with love" is how she describes the best aspects of Chinese parenting. It sounds pretty good to me. Whether Chinese parenting works with kids is a debate I'll now leave to the parents. As for me, this week I'll be working to channel my Inner Tiger Mother.
|23-01-2011, 03:13 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Last Online: Today 05:24 AM
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Tiger mums just make their cubs miserable
There's a new book just out that at first glance is guaranteed to make every mother feel more inadequate than she does already.
The author, a mother of two, lists on the first page some of the things her daughters were never allowed to do: attend a sleepover, have a playdate, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own after-school activities, choose not to play the piano or violin, fail to be top of the class.
The result? Both girls — now aged 18 and 13 — are grade-A students and [at]brilliant musicians. Their mother, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, says this proves her parenting methods are [at]superior to those that we lazy Western mothers espouse.
Her book, entitled Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, argues that a Chinese mother has no truck with worrying about her child’s self-esteem or happiness: she knows that self-esteem comes from [at]succeeding, and happiness follows.
She argues that Western parents are too quick to give in to their children, [at]abandoning them to computer games and television, while Chinese offspring are rigorously drilled by their stronger, more determined mothers until they get every subject right.
Feeling guilty yet? Well, you don’t have to be Chinese to qualify as a pushy Mum. Many middle-class British children are pressured by their mothers to do several after-school activities a week, from [at]swimming to extra maths to learning Mandarin. They are made to learn not one but two instruments; television is limited to half an hour before bed, and computer games are banned.
Small wonder that, according to a report last week from the Children’s Commissioner, half of Britain’s eight to 17-year-olds are stressed about their academic [at]performances, citing ambitious parents as a key source of their anxiety.
Yes, with enough drilling, children may indeed achieve A-grade results, but I firmly believe that there is more to [at]childhood — and happiness — than being top of the class.
It’s a lesson we parents need to learn, too — and it’s why I recommend Professor Amy Chua’s book, as I doubt you’ll find a more powerful account of what it is to be an utterly controlling, selfish mother who is happiest when basking in the reflected glory of her children’s achievements.
One of its chapters describes the time her younger daughter, then aged seven, said she couldn’t perfect a certain piano piece. Her mother insisted she could. One evening she made her continue to practise it throughout dinner and into the night, refusing to let her get up from the piano, not even to have a glass of water or go to the loo. And, in the end, her daughter cracked the piece, playing it perfectly.
A triumph for the Chinese mother? Well, those who manage to read to the end of her book without hurling it in disgust to the floor will discover that her eldest daughter, now 18, achieved one of her mother’s highest ambitions with a solo piano recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Her younger daughter, now 13, did not. A talented violin player, last year — to her mother’s intense distress — she refused to play any more.
Professor Chua ends her book admitting she is no longer sure what it means to live life to the fullest. I’m not surprised, as I wouldn’t want to be her for all the [at]proverbial tea in her ancestral country.
By all means, demand that your children always do their best. Insist on them learning self-discipline. Refuse to do their homework for them, and never, ever, do their coursework or a school project.
Quite soon you’ll find they’re achieving where they can — but, where they can’t, learning the invaluable lesson that we can’t all be best at everything.
If you want to raise an automaton who will thrive in an autocratic state like China, I recommend Professor Chua’s method.
If, on the other hand, you would [at]prefer to raise a child who chooses their own path, pursues their own dreams and finds their own passion, then I suggest you [at]forget all about self-serving [at]Chinese tigers and try a little unselfish [at]mothering instead.
Amy Chav's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother will just make cubs miserable | Mail Online
|23-01-2011, 03:14 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Days Work Done!
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|23-01-2011, 03:29 PM||#4 (permalink)|
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There's a current thread moaning about Paypal's future tax practices which has led on to a discussion about their governments' poor record with spending. The largest slide by far is 'defence' and the bulk of it is such a monumental waste of money. But, most Merkins on the forum defend it passionately.
Anyway, I digress. I push the little one hard on occasion and will continue to do so, less he ends up a lazy, coddled prick like most Thai/US/UK/Ocker kids seem to be.
There's the right way, and there's the Thai way
|07-07-2011, 12:16 PM||#9 (permalink)|
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As in all things, balance is the key. Too little discipline and they turn into 'me' brats that are useless to themselves and all around them, too much and they are little robots with no real potential and no creativity.
|07-07-2011, 12:35 PM||#10 (permalink)|
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Soulless individuals lacking empathy for other people, animals or the environment.
Only interested in furthering their personal wealth at any cost.
|29-09-2011, 02:07 AM||#11 (permalink)|
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Well, Americans were like that before everyone started stepping on each other toes and then sueing them. My parents were very strict with me, as I am with my child. We have grown soft, we are afraid of other people. I remember my dad telling someone to f*k off when they didn't like the way he raised me. I turned out okay for the most part.
I see no issue with raising kids strictly. My girl knows that if she does something stupid in public she will pay for it in private.
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I am a static whore.
|03-10-2011, 02:22 PM||#12 (permalink)|
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|03-10-2011, 03:55 PM||#13 (permalink)|
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Kids get all the social development skills they need in life through caring parents, siblings and normal schooling.
They learn this easily, largely through play.
For the last five years I have fostered a Thai boy through his teens.
His mother is a well meaning hi-so, wealthy, well educated and independent, but unmarried, twice divorced.
The boy was a coddled, confused kid, no father, no suitable male role model to follow and developing into an attention demanding shit.
I gave him a severe talking to one day, as a result of his disruptive behaviour on a car journey when I was driving, (nearly stabbed me in the ear with an umbrella while I drove).
I made a deal with his mother to sort him out.
I only ever yelled at him once, the umbrella incident.
I then taught him English, art and singing.
I bought him his first (rhythm) guitar and found music teachers for him.
After 2 years I bought him his first base guitar, and later a wa-wa pedal.
I never encouraged him to fight, but taught him some simple Ki-Aikido for self defence.
I taught him to cook Farang style.
His mother used to push him through every conceivable lesson, from "gentleman's class" to Mandarin.
He ended up in the school band, by then also playing the trumpet and trombone.
His shit mates flaked away and became criminals, while he started to enjoy what he was doing.
I'm proud of that guy now.
He is 16.
Children who are stressed into achieving develop some really odd compensatory behaviour. Whenever I noticed that in him, I'd haul his mother to one side, discuss the matter with her, and get her to change her responses to him.
She is Thai-Chinese, and as these people do, tried to drive her son to excellence.
She now understands that excellence is one's personal best, not an interpersonal competition.
Both mother and son get on well, both are much less stressed, and happier.
They are also kinder, now.
Last edited by ENT : 03-10-2011 at 06:01 PM.
|03-10-2011, 04:08 PM||#14 (permalink)|
|05-10-2011, 03:27 PM||#17 (permalink)|
yep, easy to say but quite difficult in practice
each kid needs their own regime, and it is up to the parents to work out what is best for them.
|05-10-2011, 04:06 PM||#18 (permalink)|
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I don't believe the Chinese way is a better way, I believe it's more a generational thing. Western education, properly administered with some discipline, is just as good.
Look at how Chinese, actually most Eastern Asians (and are strongly influenced by Conficianism), are coddling their male offspring now. Is it any better?
|06-10-2011, 02:34 AM||#19 (permalink)|
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Chinese thing is a go for wannabe thing
Wealth is glorious, status is power.
So they struggle for it.
Highly motivated that way.
Classic fascism, where superiority is all.
|06-10-2011, 02:52 AM||#20 (permalink)|
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|06-10-2011, 02:58 AM||#21 (permalink)|
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