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Old 01-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #1
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Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...p_mostpop_read

An article released on Friday in the WSJ has raised quite a stink. It's been one of the most viewed/shared/commented editorial ever to grace the Journal's pages. So in the interest of breaking outside the usual PoliTalk mold, I'm seeking the forum's opinions.

I was born in China. I had stereotypical "Chinese parenting" for most of my K12 years. So it's something I can identify with. Most of the comments on the article itself are fairly negative, although most of them also reek of insecurity and nationalism.

So read the article and tell me what you think. I'm genuinely curious about how members of this forum have to say about it.

I personally think that, for the most part, the writer is spot on. It's time to get real on the myth that we should let the kids "decide for themselves". The truth of the matter is that the parents will always be the greatest influence on a child's life. And the difference between "Chinese parenting" and "Western parenting" is that the Chinese parent wants their parenting to be the biggest influence on their child's life instead of Western parent's desire to their kids do their own thing. But in reality, their kids aren't doing their own thing because their decisions will be based more on external factors (where their parents live and the kids that they interact with) than from any semblance of "free will".

Personally, I think most American kids could benefit more from "Chinese parenting" than "Chinese kids" can benefit from "Western parenting".
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:51 PM   #2
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Anyone born in the 90's and on with "Western parents" are doomed.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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Anyone born in the 90's and on with "Western parents" are doomed.
100% agree.. us Gen X'ers were the last ones influenced and raised by the great generation, our grandparents.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:16 PM   #4
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100% agree.. us Gen X'ers were the last ones influenced and raised by the great generation, our grandparents.
funny thing is... your parents said the same thing. And their parents.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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First generation American here: This is truth.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
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Agreed, although the chinese kids who made my shoes probably can't be considered to have the best parents. We're all a product of our environment. All these crappy social programs that take the place of a father here in the US sure don't help. I personally am old school and will beat my kids ass if he doesn't get good grades and isn't good at sports.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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Personally, I think most American kids could benefit more from "Chinese parenting" than "Chinese kids" can benefit from "Western parenting".
Everyone knows I have a hard on for China. I've stated several times on this forum I intend to have my children learn Mandarin.

My core belief why the United States is headed towards failure and China is destined for glory is because of this very topic.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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With these attitudes how could you support anything going on with our government? The government is so involved in our lives now so how can you not see that it is a problem? Hey I'm just sayin'
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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With these attitudes how could you support anything going on with our government? The government is so involved in our lives now so how can you not see that it is a problem? Hey I'm just sayin'
I am interested to hear more about your viewpoint. Would you elaborate a little more on how you feel the Government's involvement in our lives is negatively impacting parenting styles found in younger generations?

TIA
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:52 PM   #10
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Some of our parents and grandparents had to grow up in the toughest of conditions and had to deal with life's challenges in much different ways than we do now. That doesn't mean that I need to send my kids to war at 13 to get them to become good people like my grandfather.

This lady is nuts. I sincerely doubt her happiness and satisfaction in life with anything, including herself and her children. For one to be so strict and demanding and focused on a particular goal is not a temporary condition, alleviated once the goal is attained.

There are Western parents like this. They're the obsessive types who push their children into sports and instruments they themselves wanted to excel at. The ones who live through their children.

And the children? Sure, they know how to play violin really well. Sure, they're good at school. What about their social skills? Happiness? Their future relationships and parental skills?

What many people fail to realize is that life's success is not measured by money or medals or even skill. There are plenty of activities that contribute to none of the above and yet they're very important to the happiness and health of a person.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:05 PM   #11
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Some of our parents and grandparents had to grow up in the toughest of conditions and had to deal with life's challenges in much different ways than we do now. That doesn't mean that I need to send my kids to war at 13 to get them to become good people like my grandfather.

This lady is nuts. I sincerely doubt her happiness and satisfaction in life with anything, including herself and her children. For one to be so strict and demanding and focused on a particular goal is not a temporary condition, alleviated once the goal is attained.

There are Western parents like this. They're the obsessive types who push their children into sports and instruments they themselves wanted to excel at. The ones who live through their children.

And the children? Sure, they know how to play violin really well. Sure, they're good at school. What about their social skills? Happiness? Their future relationships and parental skills?

What many people fail to realize is that life's success is not measured by money or medals or even skill. There are plenty of activities that contribute to none of the above and yet they're very important to the happiness and health of a person.


Well said Hayabusa.


The US is a big country and its a melting pot of probably every ethnic group in the world. It's improper to generalize that the whole country represents a single ideal. But we are also big enough so that you can find whatever stereotype that you are looking for.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:47 AM   #12
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Some of our parents and grandparents had to grow up in the toughest of conditions and had to deal with life's challenges in much different ways than we do now. That doesn't mean that I need to send my kids to war at 13 to get them to become good people like my grandfather.

This lady is nuts. I sincerely doubt her happiness and satisfaction in life with anything, including herself and her children. For one to be so strict and demanding and focused on a particular goal is not a temporary condition, alleviated once the goal is attained.

There are Western parents like this. They're the obsessive types who push their children into sports and instruments they themselves wanted to excel at. The ones who live through their children.

And the children? Sure, they know how to play violin really well. Sure, they're good at school. What about their social skills? Happiness? Their future relationships and parental skills?

What many people fail to realize is that life's success is not measured by money or medals or even skill. There are plenty of activities that contribute to none of the above and yet they're very important to the happiness and health of a person.
Well said,
I know people that had parents like this(my ex for one), great girl super hard worker always did great in school etc but it was never good enough for her parents, needless to say she ended up being extremely depressed and didn't talk to her parents for years after she moved out and saw the real world.

That's not something I ever want to see my kids go through. I believe parents should be there for direction and help but not as a full blown dictator, my parents let me do whatever I wanted as long as I was doing something productive and staying out of trouble, and we've always had a great relationship, and I turned out successful under my own power.

I've just seen entirely too many parents control their kids lives and that may work in china where they have a different understanding of freedom than we do but I don't see it ever working over here and I'm glad
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hayabusa55 View Post
Some of our parents and grandparents had to grow up in the toughest of conditions and had to deal with life's challenges in much different ways than we do now. That doesn't mean that I need to send my kids to war at 13 to get them to become good people like my grandfather.

This lady is nuts. I sincerely doubt her happiness and satisfaction in life with anything, including herself and her children. For one to be so strict and demanding and focused on a particular goal is not a temporary condition, alleviated once the goal is attained.

There are Western parents like this. They're the obsessive types who push their children into sports and instruments they themselves wanted to excel at. The ones who live through their children.

And the children? Sure, they know how to play violin really well. Sure, they're good at school. What about their social skills? Happiness? Their future relationships and parental skills?

What many people fail to realize is that life's success is not measured by money or medals or even skill. There are plenty of activities that contribute to none of the above and yet they're very important to the happiness and health of a person.
Bingo. I'm tempted to push work aside today and write a full rebuttal to her article from the viewpoint of the product of what she is trying to create.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:51 PM   #14
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http://www.asianweek.com/2009/08/14/...ian-americans/

Written in August of 2009, well before this article. Here is a tidbit:

Quote:
Three Chinese-American students at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have killed themselves in the last three months. Two died by helium asphyxiation and the cause of death of the third student, though deemed a suicide, is yet to be determined. Their stories have been covered in the Chinese language media, but remain virtually unreported in the mainstream.

These suicides are anything but isolated incidents. Popular opinion may project Asians and Asian Americans as super achievers, scoring high on the SAT, dominating prestigious colleges and working as high-paid professionals, but the dark side of that narrative is that they are much more likely than the average American to commit suicide, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).





As for my feelings on the article (I did read the whole thing): I felt it was very refreshing to read something so honest. You can tell the woman was not lying at all. No sugarcoating either. Nice change. Would I raise my kids like that? Not exactly. I'm not going to go into deep specifics, but I would want my kid to play sports, and maintain a minimum of a B average.

I truly think parents are becoming pvssies. Kids need direction, guidance, and discipline to help shape them as individuals. Do they need it to the extreme this woman has shown? I don't believe so.

There is hope though. My wife and I know a couple who are about to have a child in little more than 2 weeks. They are good people and know what kind of children America is raising, they hope to not be one of these parents that won't do the three things I mentioned above.
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Class of '03, yet you're still an idiot. Whats your point? Do you really think that you're somehow a god because you joined a site before someone else? ****ing nerd.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:09 PM   #15
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This lady is nuts. I sincerely doubt her happiness and satisfaction in life with anything, including herself and her children. For one to be so strict and demanding and focused on a particular goal is not a temporary condition, alleviated once the goal is attained.
Isn't that the case with most people? Do most rich people actually think of a number in their bank account that will make them stop doing what they're good at? Of course not.

Quote:
There are Western parents like this. They're the obsessive types who push their children into sports and instruments they themselves wanted to excel at. The ones who live through their children.
Everybody lives vicariously through their children to some extent. And there's a big difference between pushing them to excel in sports than in academics. Getting good grades K12 and in college will give you a better shot at financial success than not getting good grades.

Quote:
And the children? Sure, they know how to play violin really well. Sure, they're good at school. What about their social skills? Happiness? Their future relationships and parental skills?

What many people fail to realize is that life's success is not measured by money or medals or even skill. There are plenty of activities that contribute to none of the above and yet they're very important to the happiness and health of a person.
Why do some people have to act like they're above money? It's all about money and social status. That's the two most important components of any individual and household. It drives all other decisions of a person's life.

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Originally Posted by 330CiJohn View Post
http://www.asianweek.com/2009/08/14/...ian-americans/

Written in August of 2009, well before this article. Here is a tidbit:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publi...on/index.shtml

Quote:
Originally Posted by NIMH
* Highest rates:
o American Indian and Alaska Natives — 14.3 per 100,000
o Non-Hispanic Whites — 13.5 per 100,000
* Lowest rates:
o Hispanics — 6.0 per 100,000
o Non-Hispanic Blacks — 5.1 per 100,000
o Asian and Pacific Islanders — 6.2 per 100,000
To say Asians are especially prone to suicide is absurd. While there are instances of high achieving Asians committing suicide, there are probably just as many, if not more, high achieving non-Asian Americans who also commit suicide.

Would I raise my potential kids exactly the way that the writer did? No. But I'd rather raise them closer to that model than the way most American parents raise their children.

Asian Americans have the highest math scores and the most college degrees per capita than any other ethnicity. That's the only reason why they're close to matching non-Hispanic whites in income while every other demographic is making less than 2/3 of non-Hispanic whites make.

Let's get real. Children are short sighted, stupid, and ignorant. It's better for parents to forcefully drill their children than to let them run amok. Most American parents, from what I've seen, don't spend nearly enough time training their children as they should.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:16 PM   #16
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...Asian Americans have the highest math scores and the most college degrees per capita than any other ethnicity. That's the only reason why they're close to matching non-Hispanic whites in income while every other demographic is making less than 2/3 of non-Hispanic whites make....
Actually, I read somewhere Asians had the highest average annual income per year in the United States. Asian-Indians and Filipinos coming in 1st and 2nd.

Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that in the US, we are falling behind, especially in math and science skills. We are creating a generation of lazy non-thinkers who think someone else will take care of it for them.

How are they going to compete with the rest of the World? I'm sure every generation before have been shocked by the generation coming to replace them, but I really think it's different now. That we have reached a crossroads with this last generation of children that cannot be expected to just succeed with what they have now.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:04 PM   #17
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Asian Americans have the highest math scores and the most college degrees per capita than any other ethnicity. That's the only reason why they're close to matching non-Hispanic whites in income while every other demographic is making less than 2/3 of non-Hispanic whites make.
There's a reason for this. It has to do with the different (or more efficicent way) way numbers are interpreted and calculated.

http://www.gladwell.com/outliers/outliers_excerpt3.html

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Rice Paddies and Math Tests


"No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich."

An excerpt from Chapter Eight.

Take a look at the following list of numbers: 4,8,5,3,9,7,6. Read them out loud to yourself. Now look away, and spend twenty seconds memorizing that sequence before saying them out loud again.

If you speak English, you have about a 50 percent chance of remembering that sequence perfectly If you're Chinese, though, you're almost certain to get it right every time. Why is that? Because as human beings we store digits in a memory loop that runs for about two seconds. We most easily memorize whatever we can say or read within that two second span. And Chinese speakers get that list of numbers—4,8,5,3,9,7,6—right every time because—unlike English speakers—their language allows them to fit all those seven numbers into two seconds.

That example comes from Stanislas Dehaene's book "The Number Sense," and as Dehaene explains:
Chinese number words are remarkably brief. Most of them can be uttered in less than one-quarter of a second (for instance, 4 is 'si' and 7 'qi') Their English equivalents—"four," "seven"—are longer: pronouncing them takes about one-third of a second. The memory gap between English and Chinese apparently is entirely due to this difference in length. In languages as diverse as Welsh, Arabic, Chinese, English and Hebrew, there is a reproducible correlation between the time required to pronounce numbers in a given language and the memory span of its speakers. In this domain, the prize for efficacy goes to the Cantonese dialect of Chinese, whose brevity grants residents of Hong Kong a rocketing memory span of about 10 digits.
It turns out that there is also a big difference in how number-naming systems in Western and Asian languages are constructed. In English, we say fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen, so one would think that we would also say one-teen, two-teen, and three-teen. But we don't. We make up a different form: eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fifteen. Similarly, we have forty, and sixty, which sound like what they are. But we also say fifty and thirty and twenty, which sort of sound what they are but not really. And, for that matter, for numbers above twenty, we put the "decade" first and the unit number second: twenty-one, twenty-two. For the teens, though, we do it the other way around. We put the decade second and the unit number first: fourteen, seventeen, eighteen. The number system in English is highly irregular. Not so in China, Japan and Korea. They have a logical counting system. Eleven is ten one. Twelve is ten two. Twenty-four is two ten four, and so on.

That difference means that Asian children learn to count much faster. Four year old Chinese children can count, on average, up to forty. American children, at that age, can only count to fifteen, and don't reach forty until they're five: by the age of five, in other words, American children are already a year behind their Asian counterparts in the most fundamental of math skills.

The regularity of their number systems also means that Asian children can perform basic functions—like addition—far more easily. Ask an English seven-year-old to add thirty-seven plus twenty two, in her head, and she has to convert the words to numbers (37 + 22). Only then can she do the math: 2 plus 7 is nine and 30 and 20 is 50, which makes 59. Ask an Asian child to add three-tens-seven and two tens-two, and then the necessary equation is right there, embedded in the sentence. No number translation is necessary: It's five-tens nine.

"The Asian system is transparent," says Karen Fuson, a Northwestern University psychologist, who has done much of the research on Asian-Western differences. "I think that it makes the whole attitude toward math different. Instead of being a rote learning thing, there's a pattern I can figure out. There is an expectation that I can do this. There is an expectation that it's sensible. For fractions, we say three fifths. The Chinese is literally, 'out of five parts, take three.' That's telling you conceptually what a fraction is. It's differentiating the denominator and the numerator."

The much-storied disenchantment with mathematics among western children starts in the third and fourth grade, and Fuson argues that perhaps a part of that disenchantment is due to the fact that math doesn't seem to make sense; its linguistic structure is clumsy; its basic rules seem arbitrary and complicated.

Asian children, by contrast, don't face nearly that same sense of bafflement. They can hold more numbers in their head, and do calculations faster, and the way fractions are expressed in their language corresponds exactly to the way a fraction actually is—and maybe that makes them a little more likely to enjoy math, and maybe because they enjoy math a little more they try a little harder and take more math classes and are more willing to do their homework, and on and on, in a kind of virtuous circle.

When it comes to math, in other words, Asians have built-in advantage. . .

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Old 01-13-2011, 03:05 PM   #18
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There's a reason for this. It has to do with the different (or more efficicent way) way numbers are interpreted and calculated.

http://www.gladwell.com/outliers/outliers_excerpt3.html
That is total
That guy didn't put much thought in his theory and it shows.

If that was true, that the secret is just in how you pronounce numbers, American born Chinese (ABC) would be no better than their American counterpart. I can tell you for a fact that ABCs don't, save a few rare exceptions, count in Chinese for the most part.
But look at the college acceptance rates... it's dominated by ABCs, not foreign Chinese students off the boat.

It's definitely in the genes and in parenting.

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Old 01-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #19
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There's some truth in that article, but she over dramatize things.
And it doesn't go deep enough on the subject. It remains a mother's opinion and her experiences. I'd rather read a scientific, in depth article by an expert in the area, not a casual Reader's Digest piece.

Many topics she didn't address:
  • With all the academic achievements, why China remains a 3rd world?
  • Is the academic superiority a result of genetic differences, a la blacks being superior in sports? If what she suggests is true, that academic superiority is the result of hard word, and Asian mothers are that pushy, why can't Asians excel at sports too?
  • Every Asian kid and their cats play a musical instrument. That's true. Why aren't all the philharmonic orchestras filled with Asians, like the NFL and NBA are completely filled with blacks?
  • She didn't address this, but we all know this for a fact: every Chinese parent wants at least one of their kids to be a doctor. With all that academic excellence, why is medical school over filled with Jewish people?
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:07 PM   #20
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There's some truth in that article, but she over dramatize things.
And it doesn't go deep enough on the subject. It remains a mother's opinion and her experiences. I'd rather read a scientific, in depth article by an expert in the area, not a casual Reader's Digest piece.

Many topics she didn't address:
  • With all the academic achievements, why China remains a 3rd world?
  • Is the academic superiority a result of genetic differences, a la blacks being superior in sports? If what she suggests is true, that academic superiority is the result of hard word, and Asian mothers are that pushy, why can't Asians excel at sports too?
  • Every Asian kid and their cats play a musical instrument. That's true. Why aren't all the philharmonic orchestras filled with Asians, like the NFL and NBA are completely filled with blacks?
  • She didn't address this, but we all know this for a fact: every Chinese parent wants at least one of their kids to be a doctor. With all that academic excellence, why is medical school over filled with Jewish people?
Jesus christ. You represent Western hubris very well. Alright. Let's go through it, line by line.

Quote:
With all the academic achievements, why China remains a 3rd world?
She's talking about Asian Americans. Not people in China. Plus the jingoistic aspect of this "question" is laughable. The historic reasons behind China's underdevelopment is a completely different subject.

Quote:
Is the academic superiority a result of genetic differences, a la blacks being superior in sports? If what she suggests is true, that academic superiority is the result of hard word, and Asian mothers are that pushy, why can't Asians excel at sports too?
If you actually bothered reading the article, you would have found out that a. no, she doesn't believe Asians are more intelligent because of genetics and b. Asian American families place a very low priority on sports, which is why you don't see many Asian American athletes.

Quote:
Every Asian kid and their cats play a musical instrument. That's true. Why aren't all the philharmonic orchestras filled with Asians, like the NFL and NBA are completely filled with blacks?
Well, the two instruments worth playing according to Asians are the piano and the violin.

http://nyphil.org/meet/orchestra/index.cfm?page=home

Out of the 34 violins in the New York Philharmonic, 14 of them have Asian surnames. That's 41% of the violins while representing less than 5% of the population.

Quote:
She didn't address this, but we all know this for a fact: every Chinese parent wants at least one of their kids to be a doctor. With all that academic excellence, why is medical school over filled with Jewish people?
I get the feeling that you're just using stereotypes and uninformed assumptions to try and make your "point". Curious, considering that's the exact opposite you demanded from the writer.
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