10 January 2011

Read this

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Thanks, Glenda!

19 comments:

Schlef Family said...

I thought this was VERY interesting article. I think there is much to be said for pushing your children to do well. There comes a point when it's too much and I think that line moves depending on the child; but there's my Western thinking coming into play.

Gauntlets said...

Ah ha. Yes. That's it.

I'm way too lazy to be considered Chinese, but piano practice nearly always goes down in this house the way the author described it going down in hers. And not just piano! Even lessons on how to break an egg! Sheesh.

Fracking psychology, telling me I'm a bad mom because I want my kids not to be jerks. :D

Untamed Shrew said...

I'm not ready to call my daughters "garbage," but I see such validity in not accepting failure because I know they can do it and I want them to know they can do it.

Rebekah said...

I liked the business about things not being fun until you're good at them, and getting good at things is pretty much not fun. Ad astra per aspera.

Americans seem to have ruined this perfectly--keep kids really, really busy, but do not reward or even recognize excellence.

Glenda said...

:-) I'm glad you liked it. It sure was eye-opening to me and I hope that from it I might learn a thing or two.

I tried to channel my inner Chinese Mom this morning and listed chores on the board to complete today. I even yelled at one point (notice I didn't say one time), "If this basement isn't completely cleaned up before the timer rings, anything left will merit that many spankings and I'm throwing anything I find away."

But alas along came lunch and they had accomplished much (notice I didn't say all) and my normal Western Mom came out and said, "Sure go play in the snow that's been falling all morning for awhile, and then we'll get back to the rest of our list." Besides I wanted to sit on my lazy fat butt and eat a cookie and check blogs. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I agreed with the idea that kids are not super fragile. So, strictness or strong demands are not going to hurt them. Yes, it is okay to require obedience, respect, effort and so on. And yes, it is okay to punish and say no to many of their fickle demands.

Anonymous said...

I think we do have something to learn from Chinese moms. And I agree with most of what everybody else has said so far....

BUT there is a point at which it does become abuse. I saw it when I was a teacher. One bright/average ability boy was pushed way too far. He was soo stressed out. In his writing journal he wrote (during a period that followed a D on a test) that his grandmother would not talk to him anymore and his father told him he was dead to him. (His Chinese mother actually was dead). This poor child was so sad, so alone. He was so very tense about the whole situation that he began to have severe anxiety about doing anything at all because he was so frightened of failing. And trust me, this was a "good" kid if I ever taught one....respectful, hardworking...that "D" was just forgetting one time about a test coming up...and it was a particularly difficult test. I mean, sheesh!

I think our job as parents is to mimic as much as possible the perfect love Christ has for us (yes, I know we fail at that one). That love certainly does not demand perfection. Why would such children ever believe that they do not have to earn their own salvation?

Untamed Shrew said...

Chinese and Americans both have high teen suicide rates, but for different reasons. I wonder who has the happy suicide-free medium to ideal parenting.

Rebekah said...

Lutherans, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

What will it be next week?

Why WASP Moms are Superior.

Stereotype is kind of odd for mainstream news.

Kinda surprised the WSJ printed it.

Lauren said...

Here is a review of the Chinese mother's book. The ending will surprise you.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703667904576072110522204874.html?mod=WSJ_article_related

lisa said...

This article left me thinking that this is what you get when all someone has to look forward to is temporal glory.

Leah said...

I force my kids to practice their piano every day, but sometimes I get this nagging guilt that I'm supposed to be making it more "fun" for them. That's why the part - "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." - was comforting (and a little convicting) for me. It's so easy to allow laziness and lack of discipline to settle in because I wrongly get convinced I'm "being too hard on them". Umm, no. My kids have it great and I am robbing them in the long run if I don't require more than they think they can do (or want to do) at the time from them.

Rebekah said...

>>I am robbing them in the long run if I don't require more than they think they can do (or want to do) at the time from them

Yup. 99.99% of kids will not practice (well, enough, and/or at all) if there is no one there making them do it.

Jane said...

But--and this is one big problem I see with the Chinese mom thing--not everyone has the capacity to be good at any given thing. I took piano lessons for nine years and practiced religiously. My parents spent a fortune. I have short fat fingers. I am not good at music. And I still am barely a mediocre pianist. It never got fun, and truthfully, still isn't.

I never had to make my daughter practice. She loves the piano and is far better than I will ever be. I have never needed to make my son practice voice. My youngest son is teaching himself piano & guitar.

I have no desire to have kids are proficient but miserable. My kids work as part of the family and have an excellent work ethic without having been shamed into it. My oldest graduated college with a 3.98. Oldest son is following in her footsteps. Both did it while working part-time and continuing to contribute at church and in the community. So I have productive, happy, pious children with whom I have a good relationship. The Chinese mothers can have Carnegie Hall. :)

Rebekah said...

Jane, good point. I always hope I'll be perceptive enough to discern when a kid just doesn't need to be tortured any more. :D

Kristi said...

I have mixed feeling about this article. I push my children to do things they wouldn't do without me urging them, practicing piano, reading everyday and etc. However I do feel that children DO need downtime to be kids. And I don't mean, tv, or video games, I just mean BE kids, outside playing, coloring, legos and etc.
I also have one child with special needs and he has an oriental girl in his (awesome) class this year who also has special needs. I pray her parents are not like the "chinese" parents in this article.......

Kristi said...

I forgot to add this.....

On the flip side, I push my child with special needs just like I do my others. Because the world doesn't care what is wrong with you! However, I do not demand excellence from him, because I realize his challenges. As long as he is making an honest, hard effort, I am very happy. Because he is learning.
I have seen MANY parents of special needs let their kids run the household or wild. And most are families that don't have other children from what I have seen. I just don't understand it. But maybe because my child is not that severly affected (you probably wouldn't notice it right away if you met my son) and I am not walking in their shoes...

Katy said...

Late commenting on this one, since I've been processing what I've read/heard about the book (haven't read it). Here's my summary:

Chinese parents are teaching their children self-discipline. Chinese children "owe" their parents, not the other way around. Western parents used to teach their children self-discipline and demand honor. So really this is a difference between Chinese parenting and modern Western parenting.

But here's the fundamental difference between Chinese (at least modern Chinese--I don't pretend to know about traditional Chinese education) and traditional Western education: According to Gua, the goal is the prize and recognition, being the very best in the field or art. According to classical Western education, the goal is a love of the true, good, and beautiful, and to recognize these virtues, wherever they are found. So the Western parent used to train his child to learn how to learn (channeling Sayers here).

I know the author was writing humorously, but sometimes her lack of self-control (screaming and throwing toys in the car and making all kinds of threats) contrasted with the self-control she was trying to instill in her girls. Of course, I do not have children yet of music lesson age, so I should probably just be quiet.

(Many reviews and comments have been very snide--one Georgetown professor on NPR laughed about how as she finished the book, her daughter came downstairs to 'tell' her mother she had done enough reading for the day and would now play piano for 15 minutes, and then watch a Disney-channel movie)