Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

You've probably seen or heard how Chinese kids that get straight A's in school, play the piano like a pro, and start prepping for med school in kindergarten. But how do they get to be so ambitious ... so driven?

Well, it's because Chinese kids have Chinese mothers. Amy Chua explains why Chinese moms are superior in scorched earth, no holds barred, extreme child-rearing techniques:

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. [...]

The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty—lose some weight." By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "health" and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her "beautiful and incredibly competent." She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you." By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

Amy - a professor at Yale Law School and author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," a book about raising children the Chinese Way - explains the 3 big differences between Chinese and Western parental mind-sets in this intriguing article in the Wall Street Journal.

See if you agree: Link (Photo: Erin Patrice O'brien/WSJ)

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Kids need to be encouraged, nagged and to be dealt with strictly and with discipline at times, to be sure.

But try or wish as one might, you cannot ever get back your childhood. Riding your bicycle at 9:30 PM on that longest day in June and then catching a jar full of fireflies, spending snows days sledding, building snow forts and oddly-shaped snowmen, sleeping over (but mostly talking and laughing about the opposite sex) and if, you're lucky enough, feeling wonderfully sick to your stomach and tingly all over during that first teenage romance.

I think good parents can foster an environment where these once-in-a-lifetime experiences can happen as well as serious application to academics, music, sports, and other activities. I'm not saying it's easy, and a child may get off track now and then, but it can be done.

When those 18 years are up, they are over forever. There are no do-overs of childhood; to use another cliche, you cannot go home again. The best you can hope for is that you want to go home again.

If you want to be a pianist in a world-famous orchestra, or an Olympic ice skater, you almost certainly have to give up a good part of your childhood. And for the vast majority of kids, getting into an Ivy League school requires straight A's in hard classes and really good SAT scores. The cost in time, and maybe in peace of mind and soul, can be quite high, though.

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why no sleepovers?

anyway, parents like her contribute to anorexia and bulimia. Her daughters may be able to take it but did she think of other children?
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I'm Chinese-American and I grew up with parents like Amy. While I have multiple degrees and am considered successful financially, I considered myself terrible lacking in creativity. I also find it difficult to just relax, enjoy life, and appreciate all that I have. I feel enslaved to a drive to achieve and plagued by perpetual insecurity. My husband, on the other hand, was raise in that encouraging fun environment. As a child, he played D&D, tons of video games, had sleep overs, and tons of independence. Guess what, he ended up graduating from MIT and became Vice President of a large company much earlier than I. I would call this article "garbage" and I hope no one uses it as a good example of parenthood.
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