Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chinese Mothers

Are they the best? Some interesting insights. To quote:
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.
An American mother defends Western parenting, HERE. Share


Theresa Bruno said...

That woman was down right scary.

elena maria vidal said...

It's not the way I was raised....

Julygirl said...

After I was grownup and had children of my own and had learned about praise and positive reinforcement, I asked my mother, (who was raised in an Asian country), why she never praised me when I got good grades. She said, "Because I expected it of you!" A healthy fear of my mother's disapproval was sometime the only thing that kept me on the straight and narrow path.

xavier said...

Maria Elena:

I wasn't raised like that either and my parents were immigrants. However, I can attest to Amy Chua's parenting technique. This isn't confined to the Chinese but to the Japanese and Koreans too. I read the article and while agree with her on some points: the need for parents to guide and if necessary prod them. But I disagree with her on so many other points.

My principal objection is the narrowness in defining success:
Why a lawyer, doctor, engineer, accountant, scientist and musician? (but only if it's piano or violin; why this fetish?)
Second, insulting and haranguing them with histrionic displays of rage is destructive. Eventually, the kids just comply if only to stop the parents (particularly the moms to lay off)

Anyways, as I pointed out at another blog: the parenting is not so much cultural as theological. The Chinese haven't really been inculcated by the Incarnation so they don't recognize that being made in imago dei doesn't stunt perseverance, discipline, accomplishments or success.

I should mention that I live in a country where this attitude prevails and I teach students from this background. Very bright but I find that they're not spontaneous. When they speak English, it's very correct but quite stiff and dull. They're fearful of mistakes and corrections shame them (or at least that's the impression I get)
I can certainly see why certain Asian countries are careening towards disaster despite the tiger mother parenting style.


Dymphna said...

She is right about two things. Don't let your kids go on sleepovers. You have no idea of what goes on in other people's houses and don't do playdates.

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting, Julygirl!

Xavier, that is fascinating and it makes perfect sense.

I could not agree more, Dymphna.

xavier said...

Maria Elena:

You're welcome. I was surprised at this conclusion that it's theological than cultural but that's was the logical conclusion as I read through Amy's article.

One other criticism that I have is the confusion by the Chinese and Chinese influenced cultures between leisure and idleness. There was an article in the local paper at the beginning of the month that really demonstrated it. And to me it explains why the tiger mothers in turn are so unenthused about sports and non-intellectual activities