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Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

By lolz18 Mar 12, 2013 1119 Words
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
There are many different ways to raise your child, and there certainly seems to be a clear-cut difference between the ethics of upbringing children in the dissimilar cultures of the world. One of the more prominent and discussable ways of upbringing is the Chinese way, a topic which has been written about in an article in The Wall Street Journal by Amy Chua. “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” is the name of the article, published on January 8th in 2011, a name that certainly calls attention to itself. The Wall Street Journal is a newspaper which is only published in the Western countries and one must therefore assume that “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” is a name that will cause outrage among the Westerners. Chua mentions the recent focus there has been on Asian mothers and their inadequacy as parents: “There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, indifferent people indifferent to their kids’ true interests.” This negative focus on Asian mothers combined with the title of the article is reason for pause in many Western parents. The fact that the Asian mothers ‘retaliate’ in the form of this article will surely cause outrage with the Westerners and therefore draw them in and engage them in the debate, if only so they can disprove the article’s theories to themselves by disbelieving it. She uses provocation to draw in the reader; just by naming the article something which demeans the reader’s parenting skills. Once Chua has drawn in the readers she engages them further by gaining credibility by using herself as an example. She has had firsthand experience with both types of parenting as her husband is a Westerner and she, herself, is Chinese. She weighs the Western and Chinese parenting arguments against each other and elevates her own with the argument “The end justifies the means”. Their children will end up successful, even if they have to suffer a little to get there. But is that a valid argument? Does the end always justify the means? To a certain degree, perhaps, but the methods the Chinese parents exercise are bordering on the limits to the extreme. Chua uses an example with her own daughter, in where the daughter refuses to learn a song on the piano and is denied water and even bathroom breaks until she gets it right, which does not happen until well into the night. Many Westerners would most likely shake their heads in unison at this craving for perfection the mother demonstrates. But in the case of lesser intelligent Chinese children, many days like this would be required in order to achieve the perfection the parents strive after. Many days of temper tantrums, sleep deprivation and hatred for the parents would be necessary in these cases, and there is a good chance that many days like these would lead to an altogether unhappy childhood. When we think back to the happier days of our childhood, it certainly is not the homework we are being nostalgic about; it’s the social life and innocent playing that can only occur during childhood. If Chinese children get to experience this side of their own childhood, it is most likely in limited editions and only when they are done practicing. One can only assume that Amy Chua is bringing up her Chinese children in a Western environment, which could result in a problematic clash of cultures. “[…] 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.” This could possibly indicate a problem between the Western children and the Chinese, as it is likely that this will create a cultural and social gap between the children of different cultures. This is particularly referring to the Chinese children growing up in Western countries and going to the schools here, where they will inevitably face highly different priorities than those that are being drilled into their heads at home. If they spend all day every day practicing and studying, will they not be lacking severely in the social department? This can be one of the dangers by bringing up a child outside the norms of society in which they live. There is no doubt about the fact that studying hard brings you ahead in life, but maybe there should be a limit that indicates when a lot becomes too much. Or maybe that’s our Western roots that make us inclined to being lazy and believing that social skills are more important than academics. Perhaps the reason that we view the Chinese parenting methods as to being so extreme is that we should be stricter in our parenting methods. To a Western parent it must be difficult to view a Chinese upbringing. “Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t.” Chua states that Western parents are way more concerned with how their child feels about getting a bad grade and not why they got a bad grade. In the incident with her daughter and the piano, she almost make it seem like a good thing that her daughter screamed and cried and that she had to be so stern with her, because it made her improve, even though the child was miserable throughout the entire learning process. Incidents like this most likely inspire the Chinese students to excel as the Chinese parent believes that their child “will be strong enough to take the shaming and improve from it.” The ethics on whether or not making your child cry until it learns is acceptable is something our two cultures will probably never agree on. Westerners believe that a happy and social child is more important than them turning out to be successful adults, where one could argue that Chinese parents believe the exact opposite. Can you really pitch social skills against good grades and conclude which one is more important? The conclusion is up for debate and which one you choose is most likely dependant on you culture. There is no recipe that contains the exact way one should raise a child. Some people seem to think there is, which will be cause for the heated debates that are bound to occur when a Chinese parent, in front of Western parents harshly chastises their child for not practicing hard enough. Maybe Westerners are not focused enough on the academic aspect, while Chinese children are lacking socially, so maybe the perfect way is a combination.

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