American Morning

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January 13th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

Do Chinese mothers do a better job parenting?

Author Amy Chua says Chinese mothers are doing something right. Chua was raised in a traditional Chinese household–one that emphasized studying and discipline–and she was determined to raise her two daughters in the same fashion.

But when her younger daughter started to rebel at the age of thirteen, Chua recognized there would have to be some wiggle room when it came to her strict parenting method. Chua tells American Morning's Kiran Chetry how parents can strike the perfect balance between being permissive and being overly strict.


Filed under: Parenting
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. John Gracik

    My wife and I lived in China for two years and taught in a Chinese university. Most Chinese parents, from what out students told us and from what we observed, are extremely overbearing. This carried over into their education system where the teachers were the same way. The students were very depressed and had no life of their own. Parents pushed their children to study almost every waking hour and got tutors for them on weekends. The school system had them, in a lot of cases, going to school from 7:00 am through 8:00 pm sometimes as many as 6 days a week. Between the parents and the school system, suicide rates among students of middle and high schools are among the highest in the world. We were at dinner with a Chinese family when the parents forced the child to stand up in a restaurant and speak English just to demonstrate that they could do it. The child reluctantly obeyed but was obviously embarrassed and it did cause extreme stress. The parents were extremely pleased with their daughters performance. It was more to show off their child than anything else. I have many stories like this to tell.

    American parents, on the other hand, are not involved enough and the children's education suffers. My opinion is that there has to be a balance between the two cultures but I guess that would be asking too much, wouldn't it?

    January 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  2. deeforemom

    I am not Asian but have observed the asian community in our area.
    I commend the Asian community for the stellar job they have done in raising their children. Most of their children are high achieving and well rounded people.
    Kudos to all you Tiger mom and dads. Keep up the good work. Other ethnic communities (including my own) should sit up and take note to your successful tactics.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  3. FromMichigan

    Some teachers are dumping their red pens for grading students’ papers and instead are using purple ones. The justification is that marking errors in red has a “negative connotation" and that they are doing this because purple is “friendlier". Before you know it, they will be saying that it's downright cruel to make any child think they failed, no matter how badly they did. After all, there is probably a study that has been made that shows that the use of purple pens helps self-esteem and prevents students from feeling bad. Of course, what is the purpose of education? All children will not fail and all children will "feel good". Isn't affective education great!!?

    January 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  4. 2ppaamm

    Ms Chua outlined not only the positives being of the Chinese Mother, but the pitfalls as well.

    I have 5 children and I do use some of the methods Ms Chua highlighted, but I do not scorn, or insult my children to spur them to more achievements. They are encouraged to reach beyond their potential with a lot of love and communication.

    Ms Chua is not from China, I believe she is born and bred in the US. I'm from Singapore, almost all families use the Chinese Mother method. I chose to be slightly different, mixing Chinese and Western methods depending on the personality of the child.

    My oldest is a Junior in an animation college. He is 16. My 14 year old daughter finished high school with a GPA of 3.9 and SAT of 2000+. Well, the Chinese Mother method does work. But only with a lot of love, with the aim to help them reach their potential and not for them to give more 'face' to the family or the mother.

    We should all teach our kids to do their best with a lot of encouragement – call it Chinese Mother method or otherwise.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  5. haha

    Challenging Chua

    Dear Ms. Chua,

    Like you, I am a Chinese mother, born in Manila from Chinese parents like yours, but unlike you, I vowed to be a different Chinese mother. I encouraged my daughter to enjoy all the activities you prohibited.

    And still, she scored 2340 on the SAT, 60 points off perfect, and got accepted by Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

    It will be interesting to see if your methods can produce the same results.

    http://www.thegoodchinesemother.wordpress.com

    January 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  6. Julie

    Kid's success or mom and dad's success?
    We had that here, was called Catholic school"" Most of us found more harm than good. They crammed down not only religion, but excellence,in math science, language, english, as we were doing 12 th grade algebra in 5th grade. Not that some disicpline is needed, but results in if you do not get an "a" in something, you may hang yourself in closet..
    Not a childthat does not wish to please their parents, but, when they find out. what they missed?t. What is the out come? People live with this all their lives, of what they missed out on. Many suicides.
    Is this not the country that still murders girl babies? Recipe for killing children spirits very young.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |