Tuesday morning on MSNBC they were discussing an article entitled, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” by Amy Chua. The title of the article caught my attention, but it was the discussion around the Morning Joe table that I found fascinating. But first, a little bit about the article…
Amy Chua not only asserts that Chinese mothers are superior she also does a thorough job of critiquing “western” parents. Americans are too easy on their children, she contends. We don’t challenge them to reach their potential because we’re more concerned about how they “feel” than we are about raising them to be successful adults. She says:
Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.
She goes on to say:
Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)
Amy knows that Chinese mothers are accused of being harsh and unloving. She contends, however, that it is because they love their children so much that they refuse to let them settle for anything less than their best. By the way, it is the parents, not the child, who decide what the child is capable of. She says that Chinese mothers live out their love by spending hours upon hours helping their children achieve their best.
Around the Morning Joe table the discussion was mixed. They didn’t like the harsh words Chinese mothers often use to motivate. No one was comfortable with the name-calling and humiliation, but they all agreed that Americans are too soft on our children…interesting. They recommended reading the article with an open mind because American parents could learn something from what Amy has to say. I would agree. The next few blogs will be devoted to responding to Amy’s article. If you would like to read her article Google “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”.