Chinese Mothers

[Video from The Wall Street Journal about Asian Americans and their thoughts on parenting]

My sister sent me this article from The Wall Street Journal, titled 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior'. It's an excerpt from the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, written by Yale law school professor, Amy Chua. As someone who was raised by a Chinese mother and will eventually *I hope* become a mother, I was intrigued.

Amy Chua discusses what I'm sure some of you out in Internet land can relate to--super strict parents that push their kids to their limits. She talks about calling her kids "garbage" to motivate them, and screaming for hours on end as her youngest daughter fails to play a violin piece because she claims her daughter did not believe in herself. The basic gist of the essay is that "Chinese" (she uses the terms loosely) mothers produce high-achievers, and Amy Chua tells you how.

Last May I wrote this post about things not changing when we got married. For the most part, everything has stayed the same. What has changed is that we talk a lot about hypothetical children and how we will raise them. This is what prompted operation hippo, because I'd rather not yell to my hypothetical children. Since we're waiting a while for kids, I'm sure more discussions between the boy and I will surface about the kinds of parents we will be. We have a long way to go.

So, I'm curious about what you all think. Are you going to raise your kids the same way you were raised? What do you think of Amy Chua's parenting approach?


Lillian Chang said...

Oh, I can totally relate!! My mom never let me attend sleepovers or watch TV, and of course, I played piano (sometimes practicing with tears streaming down my face!).
My parents definitely raised me well and I appreciate them so much now that I'm grown up...but I think the best thing is that I was raised in both cultures - my parents really represented the Chinese traditions, but my education was Western. So I really hope to raise my children with a mix of both, taking the best of both worlds - that's something I'm so grateful for growing up as a Chinese-American :)

(Such an interesting article...I'm going to send it to all my friends :)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I'm with Lilluan - I'd love a mix of styles and to instill the "chinese" sense of discipline, dedication, and strive for excellence with the "American" sense of thinking outside the box, following your dreams, and enjoying your opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! Nice to meet a fellow doc's wife!

I haven't read Chua's book, but I did see an article about it that was very interesting. While my parents weren't quite THAT strict, they were very strict (I had a strict curfew, I had to make straight As, I had to clear all friends with them before hanging out with them, I had a hard-core regimen of extracurriculars and volunteer activity, and I did a ton of chores) and I think it was excellent parenting. I have high expectations of myself, realistic views of my abilities, a strong work ethic, and a sense of responsibility for myself and my actions. (Don't get me started on "kids today" and their overblown sense of entitlement!!) If we ever have kids, I'll definitely incorporate a lot of their high expectations into my own parenting.

MayLove said...

Ha, I love operation Hippo. I hope I won't raise my kids (if we have them) like I was raised. My parents were divorced, and my mom was never around b/c she was always working. I want to be a much more involved and caring parent (not that my mom didn't care, she's just not a touchy feeley person, and I am). I like to think I'll use more positive reinforcement, where my mom tended twd punishment. We'll see. For all my big plans I know jack about kids, or parenting, and I have very little patience. Ha

BigAppleNosh said...

I found the article intriguing. While I recognize some of the things she wrote about (I didn't go to sleepovers or heaven forbid sleepaway camp, unless it was math camp, and even then, that was day camp. Sigh), I don't think my parents belittled me as a way to push me to succeed. If they had, they would quickly realize that was ineffective. I'd be paralyzed by fear!

Mo said...

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and perspectives.

I think my parents were pretty lenient in comparison to other Asian parents, but still had the same philosophy of pushing me as far as I could go and then some. I could have sleepovers, date, stay out late, and I still probably complained about my lack of freedom, ha. What kind of parent will I be? I have no clue. I can only speculate for now, and hope that hippo works.

@Lillian: Fellow childhood piano player here! I spent hours glued to that piano bench.

@BigAppleNosh: I didn't even know they HAD math camp!

honey my heart said...

it was a very intriguing article and made me think back on my old childhood (strict parents, no sleep away camp or sleep overs) but i did have support and encouragement. i agree with the other commenters that it would be good to mix styles of raising my future children.

Post a Comment

Comments make my day. Please leave one!


Pink Argyle All rights reserved © 2010

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley

HowJoyful Design