How do I know? What right do I have to make comments regarding children when I don’t have any?
I am Asian and I too was a child once – not too long ago mind you – so I know what tactics my mother used that worked or didn’t.
My mother’s parenting style changed when we migrated to Australia. I have witnessed firsthand the two apparent “Western” style and “Eastern” style parenting used in my family.
Now there are exceptions to the apparent “styles” that Amy tries to define. But race isn’t necessarily one of them.I know of Western parents who are strict on their kids and vice versa.
Amy proposes that Eastern style parenting is superior because on the whole, Asian parents are tougher and meaner to their kids when it comes to academic achievement. Granted that’s relatively true. But, whether Eastern (aka Asian/Chinese) parenting style is best, is highly questionable.
Battle Hymn reads like a narcissistic, un-PC guide on how to produce child prodigies by pitching cruel “Eastern” techniques she used on her own kids.
And for Amy Chua to be an expert on “Chinese-style” parenting because she is of Chinese descent is misleading because she grew up as a Roman Catholic in the American Midwest with no ability to speak Chinese herself, who’s married to a white man, with mixed children brought up as Jews.
So how does Amy raise her kids?
- No sleepovers or playdates
- Cannot be in a school play
- Cannot watch tv or play video games
- Cannot choose their own hobbies
- Cannot get any grade less than A
- Only allowed to play the violin or piano and no other instrument
- Burn or give away their toys if they don’t practice
- Forbid them to use the bathroom unless a piece is played well
- Throw out “stupid” pets
- Throw birthday cards back at them if they’re not good enough
- Basically have no life except the one Amy dictates
And this is meant to be a shining example of “Eastern” style parenting. I smell child abuse!
Now granted, some Asian mothers are hardcore – like get a bad report card and you’re disowned hardcore. But I have yet to meet one as scary and cruel as Amy Chua.
She makes my mom on a bad day look like Mother Teresa in a Salvation army commercial.
The whole claim that if you’re tough and an asshole to your kids you’ll turn them into geniuses is laughable.
Amy Chua is a Yale law professor, so is her husband. The odds of them having intelligent children were already high, so her claim that it was her parenting style that made them into prodigies is bullshit.
Geniuses aren’t “made”. Some just “are” without cram schools and tiger mothers. Those ones are the TRUE geniuses. Anyone can become good at something if they get enough tutoring, but to be naturally awesome at something without all the fancy lessons is true talent. Had her kids been mentally disabled or had low-IQs and she managed to get them into an Ivy League university then I will sit up and listen.
I’m not saying being lax on your kids and letting them do whatever they want, whenever they want is a good thing. But being this strict will cost your children individuality and the ability to think for themselves.
These are the kind of qualities that many Chinese people lack. There are exceptions, but they’re generally taught to be like lemmings. Being an individual is discouraged. They don’t do something because they like it, but because they will get punished for not doing it well. They do as they’re told and told to never question authority. This is the kind of mindset that a Communist government want their people to have.
Would you want your kids to be smart but mindless robots who have no personality?
They make such a tiny minority even though for three decades they are the largest ethnic population on the planet.
Chinese students usually make up the bulk in most universities but are the minorities in the control centers of the world.
They can be top of their class in every subject but it doesn’t mean they will go down in history for making a difference in the world.
More likely they’ll study a subject that pleases their parents and come out working as an accountant. WOO! All those hours of cram school and piano lessons just to become an employee.
So it turns out, having child prodigies does not mean they will become superstars of their industry when they’re adults. These Asian parents are priming their children to become ideal employees instead. They’re not the ones inventing, creating, leading and making the world a better place. They’re the ones who end up working for the people who had average parents.
Does intelligence guarantee wealth? HELL NO!
I know broke smart people, broke dumb people and vice versa. I had an ex who’s dad dropped out of high school (and can barely read) but still managed to build a successful business. My dad on the other hand, has a high IQ (but low EQ), received a college scholarship and had a promising career as a computer engineer but has no assets or success to show for all that brain power.
Let’s not forget the high rates of suicide amoung young Asian students all around the world.
I’m sure the parents of the deceased students regret putting so much pressure on their kids. Having good grades is one thing but at the expense of happiness is just crazy!
And all that for what? Just so they can brag about who’s kid is smarter? This isn’t a dick measuring contest people! We’re talking about the lives of young people who have dreams and aspirations. Kids being alive, happy and healthy is better than kids being dead or unhappy but smart.
How about the Western parenting style?
Okay, giving your kids Xbox, Playstation, Wii, MacAir, iPhone, their own car if they’re teens and whatever toys they want is bad. Letting them play computer games and watch tv for as long as they want is bad too (the computer is not a babysitter people!)
But letting them be themselves is awesome. Letting them have friends (hopefully decent ones) helps their social intelligence and communication skills. Letting them join plays and pursue their passions and hobbies brings happiness. Giving them love and praise is fantastic. Sure, punish them when it is required, but you don’t have to burn their toys to make a point. I know some parents can be extreme and try to be their kid’s bestfriends but you still gotta show some authority or they won’t respect you.
I see the good and bad points of the Western parenting style, but the good points (like positive reinforcement, nurture) are the very skills that all parents should have!
No style is perfect and the extremes of both are bad for various reasons. The best parenting style is one that utilizes the positives (non-extremes) of both styles. That way, your kids will have the best of both worlds: good marks, happiness, personality and adulthood success.