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    Chinese Mothers: Theory and Practice

    Chinese Mothers: Theory and Practice

    There was a recent article in the WSJ by Amy Chua detailing the superiority of Chinese mothers. “[The author was] using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. [As s]ome Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents qualify too.” Basically, being a Chinese mother entails never letting one’s child “attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, & play any instrument other than the piano or violin.”

    I think there is a lot to be said for being a strict parent; it certainly isn’t easy to discipline a child. However, the world Chua describes seems absolutely unpleasant for all parties involved. I can only speak on the receiving end of child-rearing to say that I don’t think I would have made the choices I did if I was solely focused on parentally-defined success. Furthermore, my time at schools like NYU & Cornell have led me to encounter the products of these types of “Chinese mothers.” Most of these children, upon coming into contact with things like alcohol and having to engage in social behavior, don’t always fare well. Also, I suspect it might also be hard to be satisfied with oneself, despite a high GPA, since there is – naturally – always room for improvement.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.



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    Viator, I've seen lots of fat Asians … in China.

    I'm not sure if my trackbacks are reaching you. So here is my thoughts on this article:


    I've seen a lot of chubby Asians – including some on my campus (I teach at a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York).

    One of the things that amazes me is parental faith in childhood genius. It's one thing to expect and force your children to work hard, but not all of them have what it takes to do more than be competent piano players (note that I didn't write 'musicians') or scientists. On the other hand, if you don't take 8-10 years of lessons you'll never even be very competent….

    When I was in grad school in Atlanta I taught the Greco-Latin-Roots-of-English unit at a Chinese enrichment school. You know, most of their other classes were Mandarin language and Chinese culture courses, and mine was classic SAT prep. Those were some hard-driving parents (and they paid well), but far from all of the students were driven.

    I read that article and I can tell you it is greatly disturbing and I find this mother not a little abusive. I wonder what this Yale Law professor would have done if she had had a child with a learning or developmental disability to raise. After reading this woman's view on child rearing and how ignorant she actually is I can honestly say that my oldest son who has aspergers syndrome and wants to apply to law school will not be applying to Yale if this inadequate human being is the level of educational professional that they employ. But then again the law profession isn't exactly welcoming to those with disabilities is it in the first place, ironic don't you think considering they are the ones charged with protecting the civil rights of the disabled.

    I don't see an issue of setting a high bar for your kids, matter of fact I think it is a good thing. But, this takes that to a whole new level.

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