Author and Professor Amy Chua garnered a lot of attention following the release of her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Wall Street Journal article "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior". The article in particular struck a chord with the American public–it has been read over a million times– as Chua seemed to take a jab at American parenting.
As she told Kiran Chetry last week on American Morning, Chua claims traditional Chinese parenting, which stresses discipline, hard work and perseverance, leads to successful and competitive children. TIME magazine's latest issue out today puts the effectiveness of Chua's strict parenting methods to the test. However, though the merit of such methods is still up for debate as many take issue with Chua's somewhat harsh approach.
Kiran Chetry sits down with Annie Murphy Paul, Contributor for TIME Magazine and author of "Origins", to discuss TIME's take on topic of parenting.
This commentary really misses the point. Again in this interview we have the mamby pamby, permissive style of parenting, so worried about the poor and fragile psyche of the child. It turns out that today after fifty years of permissive child rearing, the articles still show significant psychological problems and stress. Western parents do not tell the truth, and work on self esteem when it is not deserved. The Chinese are just HONEST and TRUTHFUL without so much concern for the psyche of the child. The Chinese assume strength on the part of the child. It should be pointed out that the US rank at 17th is going South, not improving. When will we become realistic, and not so fat and happy, as the most wealthy nation in the world. This person used the word "universally", which is not correct regarding those who assess the pyschological health of young people. For example, the excessive growth and prevalence of Rap music, break dancing, drugs, teenage pregnancy, video games, television, and pop culture. The permissive types only talk to each other... We need more excellence. The next generation of Chinese will combine the head of companies and the technical expertise. Would not any Mom be so proud of a little girl who turns out to be as accomplished and beautiful as Amy Chua? She has two beautiful girls of great accomplishment and a fine husband, a wonderful profession, a great income, etc. The message of Amy Chua is not for everyone. It is not for the weak and lazy. It is for those who want to be their best, who strive for excellence, who value the fine arts, and who do not make excuses for their personal failures. It is for a country that wants to maintain its dominance in the arts, technology, business, and production.
i have 1 more thought on balance:
yes, parents must have the courage to demand best effort, make tough decisions and enforce consequences, HOWEVER if done too rigidly, or condescendingly we then lose that close, friendly relationship with our kids. that closes them up to sharing what's on their mind – we are then less likely to know things like if they are being bullied at school, if peers are putting bad pressure on them, or if they feel depressed or think of suicide when they can't meet our expectations. if everything in the world works out nicely for the child, the Tiger Mom looks like a genius, but when our kids' world doesn't work as neatly as we planned, they often benefit most from a parent who will listen, without giving orders or judgement.
I have an 11 year old son and 10 year old daughter. I had to completely rework the parenting model I "inherited" from my father, an absolute disciplinarian who expected exceptional achievement, particularly in science and math. Although it left me with scars and I still rarely speak with him now and I am in my 40's, I found myself imitating his overly strict parenting style. The life lessons I have learned from this, as I have developed my own effective parenting style are twofold:
1. In a supportive and caring household with well-understood and well-communicated rules, kids want to please and they want to succeed. We don't have to "teach" kids to want to win, we just need to set up the support system for them to do so.
2. Parenting is dynamic and must be done pragmatically within each family. What works with my kids may be too much or too little for yours. So, hard and fast rules like "Tiger Mom's" are rubbish – the difference in a kids life is made when parents care enough to always be assessing what is working, and to be able to put aside their ego and change things when they are not.