Many stay-at-home mothers in Seattle are reacting to an article published on the Wall Street Journal. The article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” has started a war about parenting styles of the Chinese and the West. Amy Chua, the author of the book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” writes about how a strict parenting style popular in many Asian cultures is superior to the parenting style of many “Western American” mothers.
In the article she talks about how her father once called her “garbage” when she was did not respect her parents. She talks about how Chinese parents demand a perfect performance. Amy Chua says she her daughters are not allowed to get any grade less than an “A” and are expected to be number one in every subject except gym and drama. Although rules are important, not allowing them to be less than perfect will create a fear of failure. Instead, teach them that it is OK to make mistakes because mistakes teach you valuable lessons. If something does not work, try a different way. As Thomas A. Edison said, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that wont work.”
Amy Chua says “Western” parents are extremely worried about the self esteem of their children while Chinese parents can call their children worthless and stupid. In many instances, telling children they are stupid backfires. At a young age, children believe what their parents say. So, if they are told they are stupid, they will believe they are stupid. So why try if you believe you are stupid?
Children who are brought up in an Asian culture are taught that they owe their parents everything. Because their parents feed them and take care of them, they must repay that debt by making them look good. In Asian cultures, the fear of what people will say or think of them is very important. For this reason, parents will insist their children to be like everyone else. To be what society expects them to be.
Many children who are raised in a strict environment and are emotionally abused often grow up to be insecure adults who are afraid of not being perfect. Amy Chua is using fear to motivate her daughters to perform. But what happens if she is not there? Most children who are raised the Chinese way, do what they want when their parents leave. The children do not develop an inner self discipline.
The purpose of this article is not to say that the Western style is superior. And no, children should not be allowed to do everything they want to do. In parenting, balance is important. Parents can discipline and encourage their children to be themselves.
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