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'Tiger Mom' Claims that Chinese Parenting is Superior

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Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:42 pm
TheGreatIthy says...

Here is a quote from the end of an article I've found. The article is an interview with Amy Chua A.K.A Tiger Mom who has recently released a book on her ideas on parenting and how she thinks that it is the best way to rear children. Her book has created a lot of controversy with parents everywhere based on her strict parenting style.

Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to:
• have a play date

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• 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

Here is a link to the interview:

There are a few questions I would like to ask based on this interview:
1. Is it morally right to rear children in this way?
2. Is what she is claiming a stereotype of Chinese parenting?
3. She makes a lot of assumptions about how children behave when they aren't as structured. Based on your experience, are these assumptions true?

I would really like to hear everone's opinions on this!
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Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:59 pm
Monument Soul says...

well I haven't seen any Chinese 12 year-olds having children, sooooo

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Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:55 am
TheGreatIthy says...

I'm talking about the hypothetical. Also, how it could apply to you. How would you feel if you were raised in the fashion that she dictates?
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Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:32 am
Jennya says...

1. No, it is not morally right but then again she is the parent. My mother is a less extreme version of this and it wasn't good for me. I hated my self for a long time and my mother doesn't really care if I achieve outside academics. But then again I don't think it's morally right for parents for force religion on their children, keep them ignorant of things, or force expectations on them. But at the same time i know my mother only wants me to do well and it has keep me straight and narrow.

2. Hell yes! This isn't all Asian parents. Only ignorant and uncultured ones, who are a little bit wrong in the head. What's the worst thing about parents in general ( specially Asian) is their constant comparing and boasting. A clever child is like a Prada bag.

3. No and then yes. It really depends on a child to child basis.
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Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:41 pm
Persy says...

Just a short thought:

This style of parenting is dependent on others not following this style. Not everyone can be No. 1 at school. If everyone were to play the piano and/or violin, the diversity of music would be completely lost. The mother is trying to make her daughter into one role of society. If everyone were to fit that role, the importance and supposed superiority would be completely lost.

Now, to briefly answer your questions:

1. Personally, I don't think so. You need to allow your child to express themselves in the manner that they wish. While encouraging them in their studies is obviously a good thing to do, forcing it down their throats will only result in them resenting it or throwing themselves into so readily that they lose all sense of outside reality.
There are a couple of Vietnamese schools around here-- I know that they're different cultures and everything, but many of the parents share these values and press them on their children. The teenagers are now surly, unwilling to work, and tired out of their minds. They've been pushed too far.

2. Unfortunately, while this is a bit of an extreme, I think that the Chinese culture does encourage this kind of parenting. So, while some people may be more lax, I think that to a level this could be answered with yes.

3. Not always. I grew up with a single mother who let me do whatever I wanted. I don't drink, I'm not into drugs, and I'm not pregnant. I've done well in school and have many extracurricular activities. Academically, I've done well. Outside of academics, I've done well.
While I may not be as disciplined as someone raised in their culture, I don't think it's entirely necessary, especially not to that degree.

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Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:26 am
Kyllorac says...

Before I get to my main post, I just have to say that this topic irks me to no end. It is horribly slanted towards portraying Chua's parenting style as horrible, restrictive, and completely insane. The article linked at least gives a more balanced representation of what she was trying to accomplish with this parenting style, and why she raised her daughters the way she did.

You have to realize that different cultures have different codes and systems of morality. To ask such a loaded question as "Is X morally right?" assumes that there is one form of morality that everyone conforms to, one which just so happens to be the same as popular Western morality; such an assumption is sorely misguided. To judge another culture by one's own moral code is hubris of the sort that drove the missionaries and the imperial powers to "save the savages" for their own good by forcibly taking away their culture, language, religion, possessions, and all forms of identity.

Before one goes passing moral judgements upon a culture they have not lived and experienced first-hand, they should examine their own preconceptions about what is and is not moral, and they should also try to understand at least why a culture exists in the form it does and why people still belong to that culture.

That said, I was raised just as strictly, perhaps even moreso, as Chua's daughters, and while I do think some of it was a bit much, and while I wouldn't raise any children of my own the exact same way, I don't think it did me any harm. In fact, because of it, I learned at a very early age that second chances don't always exist, that the rest of the world doesn't care if you "almost" did it (only that you do or don't), and that success takes work. I learned that sometimes your best isn't good enough, but even then, you should never stop doing your best, never stop trying to better yourself. I learned patience, I learned perseverance, I learned focus, and I learned diligence. And all of these, I learned before I ever entered school.

Quite frankly, when I look around at the members of my generation, most of them have no concept of responsibility, that their actions have lasting consequences, that failure is often permanent and irreversible. So many of them have a false sense of bloated self-worth that bursts the moment they encounter the slightest difficulty, and then it's all "It's not my fault I'm failing. It's my professor's/boss's/significant other's/etc. fault." They have such an unfounded sense of entitlement, that they don't have to work for anything because the world has to give it to them, because that's how things have always worked for them in the past.

Not everyone in my generation is like this, but majority are, and there are a lot of commonalities in how they were raised. Most of them had parents who were rarely around, who didn't spend time with them, and substituted attention with money and material goods. Most of them have never actually worked for anything in their lives. And most of them wind up with their grades suffering because they went to parties and got dead drunk the nights before their tests instead of studying, and then they blame the professors for being too hard or heartless bastards for failing them.

Compared to this majority, the people I know who don't act so irresponsibly, who are serious about what they do, were generally raised in more "strict" households. As before, there are exceptions, but the general trend is that those who were raised in more traditional manners are better prepared to deal with the realities of the world.

Granted, each child is different, and parents aren't perfect, but those that truly care try and do their best to raise their children in a way that will prepare them for the difficulties of life; even Chua admits that she was too strict in some regards, and that if she could do things over again, she would be less so. Still, just because Asian method happens to be different and more restrictive in the Western view, it doesn't mean that it's immoral. There is a reason it has persisted for so long, and unless you understand that reason, you cannot judge it, especially not by standards that are not applicable to it.

TLDR; The stereotypical Asian method of raising children may not be the best method for every child, but it does have its merits, and there are reasons the parent(s) believes it's effective. Before you pass judgment upon a parenting style, try and understand why it exists and why it has persisted.
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