Why Chinese mothers are superior (could also be entitled why Western mothers stink!)

My half-Asian husband forwarded me this article written by a Chinese mother about why they are superior to Western-style mothers.

It is fascinating to read and I see so much of this in how my husband was raised. But I also see her depiction of the Western parent – ME!

Here are excerpts from the article. I beg you to take the time to read the entire thing!! It is really worth your time! (You HAVE to read the story about her daughter and the piano and it’s toward the end.)

From The Wall Street Journal:

“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….”

“Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children. By contrast, Western kids are more likely to participate in sports teams.”

“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.”

The author says that she sees three major differences in the Chinese view  of rearing kids  and the Western view.

1.       Western parents are very concerned about their children’s self-esteem.

2.        Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything.

3.        Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and that overrides all of their children’s own desires and preferences.

I am all about their egos and wanting them to be happy whole people. Don’t get me wrong, I want and expect them to have As (I know what their IQs are! They had better get As!) However, it is important to me that they are happy and feel good about themselves.

I would have absolutely sided with Jed on the piano example. Maybe the child just wasn’t mature enough to do it. That mom was hardcore! That’s just not me. But does that mean Western kids will be failures? Should we not worry about their egos so much? Or is that how kids get into drugs and such when they feel badly about themselves? (See I immediately go to they are going to do drugs or have sex and get pregnant.)

OK, so what do you guys think? Do the “Chinese” mothers have the right idea? Are Western parents going about this all wrong? What role should their ego play? How much should you push? How much choice do they have?

If you are not a crazy strict parent, can you become one? Is that going against your own grain? Will that somehow backfire — like you’re working against the personality that God intended you to have with your kids?

46 comments Add your comment

penguinmom

January 10th, 2011
12:38 am

I think so level of balance is a good thing. Western mothers do tend to worry too much about children’s self-esteem, praising every little thing and trying to smooth over any area where the child isn’t doing well instead of urging the child to work harder.

Western mothers also seem to think they owe their kids a lot. We owe our kids love and a stable family but I don’t think we owe them the opportunity to try every activity that is available, nor do we owe them the latest fads and electronics.

However, I do think Chinese mothers do put a little too much pressure on their children. I remember reading a study about suicide rates among teens in China. Chinese mothers do produce academically talented kids but where is the creativity and thinking out of the box that is needed to create solutions for the future?

I think balance is the key. Don’t worry about their self-esteem to the extreme. Don’t let them influence your decisions too much. Expect their best effort and praise the effort instead of praising innate intelligence. Don’t emphasize academics to the exclusion of all else, leave room for a few, well-chosen activities.

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JATL

January 10th, 2011
1:05 am

I also think you have to find a balance and you have to take your child’s personality and strengths and weaknesses into account. I agree with the Chinese mothers that it shouldn’t ALL be about self esteem, but I do think some of it should foster self esteem. I remember a dear friend of mine, who I used to teach with, came back to start teaching at my old school after two years in Beijing. She said that every morning before the children arrive, a huge blackboard is posted at the entrance ranking every child in every grade from the best to the worst. Everyone sees this board and the kids, of course, have all sorts of issues with pride, parental approval and social acceptance tied up in it. Would I want that in my child’s school? NO! Not everyone is blessed with the same amount of innate intelligence, so I don’t know why Donny the 5th grader who is a “slow learner” should be humiliated because Chloe the 5th grader is “gifted.” However, I do think as parents we need to be fairly rigid and firm regarding our expectations. If you have a slow learner, your expectations will be different than those of a gifted or exceptionally intelligent child.

I think a huge problem with Western parents is that so many of them have little to no involvement with their child’s education. They literally expect the school to take care of it all. This transcends every economic category and social level. Very few parents in the Western world really make their kids “tow a line” and those who do are often ridiculed for it. I see no problem in letting your kid know what he’s doing well and what he needs to work on to succeed. This can be done without humiliation or harming of self esteem.

Personally I think the biggest harm to self esteem is when a kid is told that he’s doing a great job forever at something, and then he comes to a situation where he’s asked to perform a task with a bunch of others. He fails at the task because no one wanted to damage his precious self esteem and let him know he was NEVER doing a good job at it! Talk about a humiliating memory! Gently let your kids know when they need help and improvement -it doesn’t have to be mean or damaging. My 4 year old is doing GREAT with writing his letters and starting to read, but that doesn’t mean I need to tell him, “GOOD JOB” when he thinks he spelled “tree” but instead wrote 14 different kinds of letters. Instead, I tell him -”Hey-you’re doing a really fantastic job writing letters, but we need to work on spelling. The letters you wrote don’t spell ‘tree’ but they are written very neatly and nicely.” There’s definitely a balance to find -I just wish more Western parents would involve themselves in SOME way!

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George Lee

January 10th, 2011
4:43 am

Let’s remember that we can’t generalize an entire race of people.

I’m a Chinese-American (both my parents immigrated from China; I was born in the USA) and my mother was NOTHING like this crazy mother who raised her kids like that.

She is a MONSTER!

The way she raised her kids is OUTRAGEOUS and not the mainstream Chinese or Asian way.

She is clearly an extremist and it is mothers like her who cause kids to commit suicide when they don’t succeed.

LET’S REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL CHINESE MOTHERS ARE LIKE THIS AT ALL!

LET’S REMEMBER THAT THIS ONE EXTREMIST CHINESE MOTHER IS NOT THE NORM AMONG CHINESE MOTHERS!

MY CHINESE MOTHER WAS NOT LIKE THIS AT ALL! NOT ONE BIT!

Kiki

January 10th, 2011
4:46 am

When I was younger I tend to disagree with the way my parents treated me when it comes to this. I was not alone though, some friends(chinese) also used to voice their disatisfaction about how their moms keep pushing them to do better at school or to pursued only a certain degree when it comes to college. Anyway, fast forward a decade later after high school, whatever complains we have back then are now replaced by us holding a good jobs and having a great life. And we thanked our parents for keep pushing us otherwise we wouldn’t have been where we are!

George Lee

January 10th, 2011
5:03 am

As a Chinese person (Chinese-American) I can tell you that I am very outraged by this woman’s book — the essay is excerpted from her book. Why am I outraged?

Two reasons:

1) Advocating this type of parenting style is just wrong. So very wrong! It is so very harmful to the
kids. It is mothers like her who create very successful but very UNHAPPY individuals. And what
is the point if you are unhappy? It is mothers like her who cause straight-A over-achieving kids to
commit suicide when they don’t succeed at something.

2) She is saying that her parenting style is the mainstream Chinese way and that mothers like
her are the norm among Chinese mothers, and that is so not the case at all. Her parenting style
is not the mainstream Chinese way and as a mother she is not the norm among Chinese
mothers but an extremist. I know as I’m Chinese and my mother and none of my Chinese
cousins or friends had a mother like her. None! And my grandmothers were not like that to my
parents. My parents immigrated to the US from China when they were in their late
20s and I was born in the US. THIS WOMAN IS OBVIOUSLY AT THE MOST EXTREME END
OF THE SPECTRUM AND SHE IS NOT THE NORM OR MAINSTREAM AT ALL AMONG
CHINESE MOTHERS!

People believe in stereotypes all the time and sadly this woman’s book will help spread
the sterotype that Chinese mothers are unbelievably strict pushy cruel anti-fun anti-freedom
anti-individualism mothers, which is totally not true at all.

I HATE THIS WOMAN!

Kiki

January 10th, 2011
7:06 am

George Lee, I agree that this is a generalization of Chinese moms and not all Chinese moms are like that. But, this couldn’t have been true-r if she’s originally from Singapore or Malaysia(going by her last name,Chua, and that she speaks Hokkien). I only said so for I’m a Malaysian-chinese myself, and most of the malaysian or singaporean-chinese friends or parents I know are close to what she is like.

JATL

January 10th, 2011
7:42 am

@George -thanks! I meant to include in my original post that I know some Chinese mothers and I know some grown children of Chinese mothers and they aren’t like this! There are parents of every race and ethnicity who create extremely rigid lives and expectations for their kids. The list of what this woman never allowed her children to do just makes me think of her, not as a Chinese mother, but as a B**CH!

Mary

January 10th, 2011
8:10 am

If you consider having the highest suicide rate among any ethnic group “successful” then yeah, I guess Asian kids are successful. But many of them are depressed and miserable despite their Ivy League degrees because of the cultural and familial expectations they are burdened with.

I’d rather have my child be happy in a modest job than miserable with a Ph.D.

justmy2cents

January 10th, 2011
8:13 am

I’d have to agree that “Western” mothers are a little lax vs. Chinese regarding education. We need to do SOMETHING about the sorry state of education here in GA. I am all for separating kids out by ability level so the teachers can actually teach vs. babysit because little Johnny has an IEP and really shouldn’t be in the class anyway. I do think Chinese mothers go too far to the extreme though. I agree on the previous comments stressing balance, with maybe a little lean in her direction for strictness and educational achievement. The other things she won’t let them do (plays, sleepovers) just produce a child with little to no social skills.

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motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2011
9:09 am

@ mary:
I’d rather have my child be happy in a modest job than miserable with a Ph.D.

I agree! Yes, this is true. BUT if you cannot be happy because you are constantly behind in your bills as you do not have a job that will pay enough for you to live comfortably…is that happy? I am not talking extravagant lifestyles. It IS tricky to find a balance. We talk about this with our kids all the time. What do we NEED to be happy?

I think most children do need to have a little push, in the right direction…not in a mean way. Some adults need more than a push…they need a kick in the pants….they complain all the time but never do anything about it. Pride in accomplishing your goals is admirable too.

I am noticing more often that many parents do not provide clear expectations.
CLEAR EXPECTATIONS CAN ELIMINATE CHAOS

Here are some examples:

You will eat what Mommy or Daddy fixes and not your own private meal.
You will brush your teeth each day before and after school.
You will open your book bag and give me any notes from your teacher, as soon as you get home.
You will have your homework done by _____ ( set time for elementary schoolers).
You will have a B average in order to get your driver’s license and drive a car.
You will have a curfew.
You will have a part time job during the summer, in HS and not finance your life on my credit card nor hang out and relax the entire summer.
You will keep your HOPE scholarship and if you do not, you will move back home and go to the local college.
You will pay room and board, if you move back home after college to get on your feet…you will also
help out with chores we, as adults, have to do.

Often, when chaos occurs…parents act like they have no clue as to how this happened. HUH?
Yes, there is always the possibility of unpredictable chaos but a lot of chaos could be eliminated with a little planning….but planning takes work and is not always fun.

Perhaps the Chinese Mothers are better planners and more diligent in executing the plan?

newblogger

January 10th, 2011
9:21 am

IMHO it is a bad idea to generalize in any situation. I don’t think the education in Georgia is in a “sorry state” at all. I’m sure in some places it is worse than others, but I teach in Fayette Co. and we consistently make high scores on CRCT, SAT, ect. and we aren’t the only county doing that honestly. I guess it all depends on expectations from school boards, parents and people with a vested interest. Sorry to be on my soapbox-but that always hits a nerve with me. True, some children should not be in a regular classroom. I think we have gone a little too far with inclusion, but some children with IEPs actually do quite well in a regular classroom. Most of them try very hard to emulate their high achieving classmates. It is also good for the high achievers, the ones for which everything comes easy, to see that not everyone is like them. What a great lesson in humility and acceptance. On topic: I agree that balance is the key. The lady that wrote that book sounds like an extremist and I feel so sorry for the children who grow up in a home like that, just as I feel sorry for the children who grow up in a home with little or no parental support. It looks like both are a recipe for disaster, but I guess that’s a generalization as well. Some children defy the odds no matter what!

Mimi

January 10th, 2011
9:28 am

The competitive nature of our culture demands parental development of their child’s self-esteem, team-work and social interaction with peers as well as adults.

While I favor more drilling and rote learning in the core curriculum of reading, writing, mathematics and science, extracurricular activities of all types are also needed for rounding and preparation for adult life in the US. Today in this country learning other languages is a must. Most Chinese students are raised to excel academically and in the performance arts. Orientals excel at individual excellence and self-discipline.

We also have a socially stratified society that guarantees in each generation a well-prepared group of young adults who were fortunate enough to be born to parents who thrive in the upper middle class. Their childhoods more closely follow the oriental norm with the unique American balance of activities that develop social skills. These children grow up to become the leadership class. This same class stratification provides in each generation different levels of motivation and achievement among youth entering adulthood. This provides us with mid- and lower-level workers–the followers. The tragedy in our culture as that most available employment now requires better core curriculum skills.

My daughter-in-law, with my son’s involvement and support, parents in a manner that seems appropriately balanced: No sleepovers, sports or other extracurricular activities unless grades are B or better, TV or games only after homework is done and then for a limited amount of time (all homework assignments posted on the internet, so she can check them. (All special projects have to be chosen and 90% completed by the child; parents responsible for providing materials, time, work area, how-to demonstrations, and moral support.)

Last but not least, she and my son sacrifice to pay for private schooling that provides more practice and drilling with a balanced emphasis on creativity and extracurricular activities.

Can the public schools achieve the same balance? Only if parents support the schools by making sure kids get the same balance at home.

Jewish Parent

January 10th, 2011
9:30 am

The author of this article has clearly never met my wife’s parents (East Indian) or mine (Jewish/”Western”). As a child, my wife was berated for not getting A’s, not allowed to date until college, forced to play the violin, etc. etc. everything that this wonderful “Chinese mother” is supposed to do.

My poor wife, who happens to be brilliant, left home an emotional mess and has been in therapy for the last 15 years with no end in sight. She is very insecure, unable to finish her PhD or hold a job that realizes her intellectual potential and her parenting philosophy is to do the opposite of whatever her immigrant parents did to raise her.

I was raised by parents who may not fit the (ugly) stereotype of “Western” parents but they were much more reasonable. I had a normal childhood, watched TV and played video games in moderation, and got them taken away when I messed up. I was given boundaries, but allowed to make choices within those boundaries and accept the consequences more and more as I got older. I was given a fair amount of independence and lots and lots of praise and encouragement. My parents never blamed me for the grades themselves, just for the effort and conduct scores. (As it happens, I mostly got good grades anyway, but they did the same for my siblings who did not always do so well academically). I was allowed to pursue a musical instrument of my choice, or no instrument. I was given a shiny new one if I practiced and stuck to it, but not forced to sign up for orchestra, marching band, jazz band, concert band. That was my choice. I gave up on sports that I sucked at and continued with sports I was good at. And I was pretty happy. As an adult I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.

Thank God I did not have an “ideal Chinese mother.” I just had two parents who loved me, supported me, set boundaries for me, taught me the importance of education, and were strict, but did not impose martial law in our house.

We should be able to discuss good parenting values without ascribing them to ethnic groups, regardless of whether positive or negative parenting traits are more prevalent in certain ethnic groups or immigrant status groups. The “Superior Chinese Mother” trope is meant to sell papers and books. It’s not serious social science or even productive or useful popular discussion.

deidre_NC

January 10th, 2011
9:41 am

my oldest daughter just could not learn to read. after kindegarten she was put into a ‘readiness’ class, for those kids who didnt have the skills required to enter 1st grade. i am an avid reader and it was very frustrating to me that i just couldnt teach her to read. i tried everything i could find on the subject. my older son seemed to be born knowing to read, so that made it doubly frustrating to me. all of a sudden, it seemed like over night-daughter could read like a champ. obviously she just had to reach that point in her mind maturity and then she was fine. i understand pushing your child to a certain point, and i think its great that this kid finally ‘giot it’ on the piano piece. but my god. what tactics. i want my kids to have good self esteem but i never have told them what they did was great when it wasnt. there is a balance. as i was reading i wondered at the stats on older chinese kids and mental illness of some kind. interesting to see posts regarding the suicide rate of chinese kids. i think this is sad. i do agree that we make things too easy for our kids and i agree that there is more emphasis on play than on studies. that is statistically proven when we compare our kids to other countries. but i think this woman hits the abuse line pretty hard.

Middle

January 10th, 2011
10:00 am

“We need to do SOMETHING about the sorry state of education here in GA.”

The problem with the schools in GA is that we are catering to everyone but the US citizens. We have enticed everyone to come to our schools and yet we have tossed the largest segment aside. Asian children are setting the standards with their rigid upbringing, and then we tell the American kids they are stupid and lazy and educators ignore them. We spend time trying to teach the illegal immigrants Spanish and cater to their every whim even if their parents don’t pay taxes.

It’s a disgrace and an injustice what we have done to our taxpaying American parents and their children. You have the be the brightest or illegal to get attention in Georgia!

Katherine

January 10th, 2011
10:11 am

I was raised in the US by Chinese parents and although the article is spot-on regarding their priorities (straight A’s, hours of piano practice, etc), it makes it seem like the Chinese parents don’t let their kids be who they want. That is so untrue!

My parents made it clear that I could do whatever I liked, so long as I got good grades, did my chores, and my piano teacher said I wasn’t slacking off. Along with hard work and diligence, Asian kids also get good at time management! Even with studying and practice, I had plenty of time for “useless” activities like watching TV, reading fantasy books, hanging out with friends, etc.

I think it’s a perfectly fine way to raise a child. It’s important for parents to set high standards for their children. Kids are capable of far more than we expect.

Middle

January 10th, 2011
10:31 am

… teach the illegal immigrants English

justmy2cents

January 10th, 2011
10:56 am

True Middle….my opinion is that the children should already have to speak English before being allowed in the school system. I also believe only American citizens should be taught. Get rid of the illegals and the anchor babies and focus on American children. My views may not be popular, but if we got rid of that, that would free up a ton of money that is being wasted. Free & reduced lunches? Show me pay stubs. You get public assistance? Show me a clean drug test. Receive government benefits and keep popping out kids? Get sterilized or an IUD or long term birth control.

Newblogger- I work for the school system in my county; it’s a hot mess. Agreed it is mostly the result of the idiot school board and superintendent. Hopefully that will change soon. If you go back to separating by ability level, the teachers can teach more effectively. The above average kids can excel, the mid-level kids can be taught the concepts, and the special ed. children can get more attention as they need it, instead of trying to teach to the lowest level. That also solves some behavioral issues, as the kids can be challenged at their level and are not bored as the poor teacher tries to teach little Billy to grasp the concept of the subject being taught.

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motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2011
11:43 am

@justmy2cents….I am with you :

Free & reduced lunches? Show me pay stubs. You get public assistance? Show me a clean drug test. Receive government benefits and keep popping out kids? Get sterilized or an IUD or long term birth control.

The free and reduced lunches put me on my soapbox. Those who are INSIDE the schools see the abuse. Just like my son sees the abuse at the pharmacy on prescriptions.

What is up with the GA proposed tax on food purchases in the works….4%? I am actually fine with it as it is akin to the fair tax but, once again, those who do not pay for food I assume will not pay the tax either? Guess they can get eaten up with the cigarette tax? I know, that was an assumption.

leftfield

January 10th, 2011
12:14 pm

Just to be clear, Mrs. Chua is not practicing Asian parenting from Asia. She is an American-born Chinese who seems to have distorted everything her parents have tried to teach her through the prism of Western culture.

In Asia, there is an expectation for children to respect their parents. It’s reinforced by popular television, movies, music and literature. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a film where the most heartwarming moment comes when a child proclaims he will do everything to better himself and please his parents.

In Western cultures, the overriding concept seems to be “you give respect only when you get respect.” In this kind of culture, popular media often depicts mischievous children one-upping their clueless parents. Trying to practice “Asian” parenting here either leads to depressed and rebellious children or overly meek and social awkward children.

Asian parenting leads to rebelliousness in Western cultures because there is no Asian cultural reinforcement. When an Asian parent yells at a child, the child will never think to constantly better himself and work harder, because a Western child will most likely think “What right does my parent have to yell at me?” You get respect only if you give respect.

It also tends to lead to meek children because if a child does try to stick to what he thinks is an Asian ideal, he becomes overly deferential to teachers and parents. It becomes a social barrier in a society where kids may sometimes treat adults as equals.

NY Teacher

January 10th, 2011
12:17 pm

The primary essence of this article — i.e., we put excessive, and detrimental, emphasis on our kids’ “self-esteem” — has been advocated for the last 25 years now. But thanks to the slothful Teachers here — who disguise their non-teaching by floating feel-good pedagogy, instead of content-full real academia — is why these proven traditional techniques will NEVER be mainstreamed in America’s schools. Of course, our media will also not effectively advocate “Asian” academia because time and time again our brutal Unions have proved their potency in advocating boycotts. Moreover, the media (which ensures its own kids are educated in private schools that adhere to Asian & traditional pedagogy) recognizes that we indeed need a Dumbed-Down society in order to sell anything from $200 sneakers to inner-city impoverished kids, to a trillion-dollar bogus war to suburban teens. Advertisement revenues and access to govt. sources is what keeps this dumbing-down going…
Note: Today most Asian kids are educated in our feel-good public schools; hence the critical comments of many Asian students, who are parroting their lazy teachers’ hollow din.

James Brown

January 10th, 2011
12:33 pm

Yes, this woman is way over the top.

Yes, she is way over the top even for Chinese mothers.

But look around my fellow countrymen.

Who are our country’s over-achievers in today’s schools? Asian-Americans. Not just Chinese, but Koreans and Indians.

Who are our country’s doctors and lawyers and scientists? Asian-Americans.

Yes, not all are Asians and some of the school over-achievers and doctors and lawyers and scientists are white (European-American).

But the Asian-Americans are way way way over represented.

Now, this woman is a child abuser, no doubt about it.

And while she may say that she’s a typical Chinese mother, I know she an’t.

But excluding the fact that this Asian-American mother is a crazy abusive b*^&h, let’s look at the big picture — Asian-Americans got something in their culture that use European-Americans don’t.

Now I can’t generlize for all European-Americans, just as this woman can’t be seen as all Asian-Americans, but on average, who are the over-achievers?

Asian-Americans.

Not just Chinese, but Koreans and Indians too.

People say Asian Americans are the “model minority” but that is not giving them enough credit because they are a “model for everybody.”

And I’m your average white European-American guy.

I’m not putting down my fellow European-Americans, or any other Americans that aren’t Asian.

What I’m saying is that on average there is something to be learned and copied from the Asian Americans.

And not just Chinese, but Koreans and Indians too.

They come to the US with nothing and go so very far. Nobody better represents the “American Dream” then Asian Americans.

And I’m saying this as a European-American (ie. white American).

James Brown

January 10th, 2011
12:47 pm

I would like to also add that Jewish-Americans are known to be just like Asian-Americans — very successful and there is a lot of family support and pressure to be successful.

And if you look around, Jewish-Americans are way way way over represented as over-achievers in school and as doctors and lawyers and scientists.

Just like Asian-Americans.

So there is something that Jewish-Americans and Asian-Americans have in their culture.

And I’m saying this as a Christian-American and as a European-American (white).

What is it about Jews and Asians that make them so successful?

They are minorities in our mostly Christian and European (white people) country, yet they, on average, excell way above your average Christian-European-American.

We can learn something from Jewish-Americans and Asian-Americans.

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JOD

January 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

While I agree with most of the posters that these examples are over the top, I’m surprised that no one has mentioned what I immediately thought – Western parents don’t expect good grades? Growing up I had definite expectations on my academics. Perhaps my parents didn’t go nuts about Bs, but they were definitely insistent on my being successful, including getting consitently good grades. Going to college was never a question. I have the exact same expectations for DD – maybe even more so since college degrees are almost a dime a dozen now.

Whether we like her tactics or not, I think there is a seed of good here for all parents, and that is to ask yourself whether you’re willing to put in the effort it takes to help your child be as successful as s/he can be. If that means making up tests to build retention skills or drilling spelling words or letting a child work it out on his/her own – it’s a choice we all have to make.

Jewish parent

January 10th, 2011
2:07 pm

Indeed, Jewish parents also practise the Asian startegies that result in their kids’ over-representation in Ivy League schools, and Nobel Prize winning. YET, it is disturbing that MOST advocates of the new-wave failing practices that wreck our public schools are advocated by Jewish Professors and Jewish-led teacher unions (Weingarten, Shanker, et al). Like the fools who lecture on Israel (but are resented by most Israelis “over there”), these charlatans are destroying society.

newblogger

January 10th, 2011
6:31 pm

@justmy2cents: I totally agree. In my class of 25, I have 8 gifted, 2 special ed. and 8 EIP (early intervention-just a little behind). I am encouraged (strongly) to teach “up” and not dumb it down for anyone. My special ed. and EIP children get some extra help so I don’t teach down to them. No one at my school does. They are encouraged to rise to the occasion. We set the bar high and expect them to do their best to meet it. I hope your school system rises up out of their “hot mess” for all involved. I feel very fortunate to teach where I do and I know not all school systems are as diligent. Maybe it’s the school board, the superintendent, the parents, I don’t know. I have taught in a school system (many years ago) that it would seem time had forgotten. No one really cared and anything you did was o.k. Sad! Wish they could all be on board!

Helen Ma

January 10th, 2011
6:35 pm

I am a Chinese mom and i fully understand Amy Chua even though i think she was too hard on her kids.Most Chinese Moms would not allow their daughters ( in high school) sleepover outside,they talk to her kids if they can’t get As seriously.My daughter moved to America when she was 12 years old and she could not speak English then, but she studied hard and she got accepted by one of the best univeristies ( one of top 20s).
American students are given too much freedom from their parents and the society.In China ,there is no gun shooting in campus, but in here this is like a daily event. The kids need to be led/educated, the parents should get more involved .

Sam

January 10th, 2011
7:19 pm

I think this article was meant to be satire. Surely no one is taking any of it seriously. Wait, let me write an article about how all American soccer moms are required to wear the same color scrunchy.

The most motivated student I’ve ever had in my years of teaching was a Chinese female. The most unmotivated was a Chinese male. Go figure, you can’t judge a race based on one or two people.

Chihuahua

January 10th, 2011
11:15 pm

Enemas for Christmas

January 11th, 2011
11:53 am

Which half of your husband is Asian?

[...] Tiger MotherAnnArbor.comAmy Chua on Chinese Mothers: Parenting Genius or Dictatorship?Babble (blog)Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 101 news [...]

Autumn

January 12th, 2011
3:36 am

I would just like to point out that there are other Asians in the world besides Korean and Indian.

Ms. Chua's style instead of Chinese moms' style

January 12th, 2011
11:36 am

Chinese moms are as diverse as Western moms… so are their parenting styles. Can we just name the style Ms. Chua described as Ms. Chua’s style?

Harbin

January 12th, 2011
5:49 pm

The article is extremely opinioned! I am a Chinese mom myself and know many Chinese families in various communities/cities across US, none of us treat our kids like a dictator as described in the article! Most of us try to blend the Chinese and US culture together to complement each other. Amy’s examples are extremes even for Chinese in China. It is possible that there are cases like her, but definitely not representing Chinese moms.

This article is very misleading to the world and I am very sad about this consequence! Do NOT believe in it!! Talk to a Chinese mom/dad and find out yourself!

I am also very disappointed at WSJ publishing this article, very poor due diligence!

[...] is that a heartfelt analysis of the American institution of motherhood proves that Chua’s outrageous claims fall flat in every regard. What the Ivy Tower legal author fails to understand is that faith, [...]

JJ

January 13th, 2011
3:17 pm

This chaps my backside. There is NO perfect parent in this world. We all make mistakes.

I think by denying your child of basic childhood memories, sleepovers, school activities, etc., that makes a very boring adult. One who is NOT adventurous, willing to try new things, etc….

Kids should be allowed to be kids. They are only kids for such a short time, and we insist they grow up as fast as possible.

My daughter is going to be 20 next month, and what I wouldn’t give for just one more day of her innocent childhood…..

JJ

January 13th, 2011
3:19 pm

Remember – we aren’t raising children, we are raising adults!!!!

1 billion chinese

January 14th, 2011
8:04 am

There are 1+ billion Chinese in the world. If only 0.1% fit the stereotype, that would be 1 million piano-maestro, straight-A, MD-PhDs research scientists.

I always felt bad for the Asian-American kids who were average and did not fit the stereotypes. They are the ones who lose out because teachers don’t pay them attention assuming they are smart, and the other kids hate them for it.

Wfiend

January 14th, 2011
12:37 pm

As an Asian-American growing up in America and now a mother of three, I am distressed by this stereotype. Setting that aside, I think the main goal of this woman is sell A LOT of books. Does anyone not see the parallel between the marketing of this book to “French Women Don’t Get Fat”? Both books set up the premise that certain women are superior at certain things and generate much controversy and outrage. In both cases, the two issues that are thorns in women’s sides are body image and parenting.