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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, 03:11 PM   #3
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First generation American here: This is truth.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
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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   #5
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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, 04:26 PM   #6
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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 01-10-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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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   #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'
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   #9
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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, 02:51 PM   #10
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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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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 01-11-2011, 04:09 PM   #12
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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

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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   #13
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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 01-11-2011, 04:16 PM   #14
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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 01-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #15
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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   #16
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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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Old 01-11-2011, 05:18 PM   #17
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Jesus christ. You represent Western hubris very well. Alright. Let's go through it, line by line.


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.


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.


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.


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.
You couldn't be farther from the truth on this one.
First, I'm not a westerner. I suppose, from your English and the contents in your posts, you are either an ABC or came here very early in life.
If so, I have more first hand experience in this topic than you do.
Second, 41% is far from the 90% dominance of blacks in NFL and NBA. That's the result of true free enterprising (get the best you can) when no affirmative action or any other bs political influence is at play. BTW, even in middle and high school, the orchestra is closer to 80% Asian.
Third, those are valid questions.
I mentioned them as examples of topics that I'd like to see addressed by the author, as opposed to a "how I got my daughter to play the piano" essay. Not that I wanted you (or anyone else here) to answer them.
I have my answers to them, but they would fit more in the political forum. If you knew what my answers were, you'd not be so confrontational.

Last edited by Master Po; 01-11-2011 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:21 PM   #18
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those are valid questions.
Not really.

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I mentioned them as examples of topics that I'd like to see addressed by the author, as opposed to a "how I got my daughter to play the piano" essay. Not that I wanted you (or anyone else here) to answer them.
I have my answers to them, but they would fit more in the political forum. If you knew what my answers were, you'd not be so confrontational.
If you didn't come in here to talk about the writer was talking about, what did you come in here for? To tell us what you wanted the writer to cover? How inane is that?
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:26 PM   #19
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Not really.


If you didn't come in here to talk about the writer was talking about, what did you come in here for? To tell us what you wanted the writer to cover? How inane is that?
You asked for opinions on that article.
I said I was disappointed with her piece. It was too superficial and I'd rather see a more in depth article on these topics...
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:23 PM   #20
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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.
But when do you tell your kids "You've done well. Enjoy your life." Or do you know what's best for them and how they'll get the most enjoyment out of their time?

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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
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.
Sports, academics. It's all the same, really, if you're pushing the kids beyond what's natural. Actually, it isn't. In sports, kids get to make friends and bond with others far more than in academics.

Financial success? Is that all that life is about to you?

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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
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.
Of course, someone with financial difficulties will likely not be happy. However, once you've attained a certain degree of financial freedom, more money means very little, realistically speaking. Sure, everyone dreams of luxurious vacations, exotic cars and whatnot, but those things really aren't what makes one a satisfying life, as much as we drool all over them when we see them in pictures, video and real life.

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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
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.
It goes without saying that the way most people raise their kids leaves lots to be desired. There's no mistake about that. However, this lady is a complete nutcase. I hope that her children will be able to get over their horrible childhoods.

Here's a good comment:
as a lawyer, she must be aware that she is violating several un conventions-and those on fundamental human rights, on the rights of the child and on prevention of torture.
for instance, this-"We worked right through dinner into the night, and I wouldn't let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to go to the bathroom. The house became a war zone, and I lost my voice yelling, "-clearly amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and is absolutely prohibited. even when investigating mass terror suspects. i wonder if anyone would investigate her.
I wish someone would.
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Originally Posted by rapier7 View Post
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.
But I don't care about numbers. Those do not quantify quality of life or happiness. Can you tell me how happy a person is and how many friends they have by their grades or by their bank account?

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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.
Maybe because most American parents have to work overtime or two jobs to make ends meet. There's a lack of responsibility out there, but it's not just that.

Children are short sighted, stupid and ignorant? Is that the Chinese Mother coming out in you? Children are open minded, free of hate and full of possibilities. Who are you to decide what pleasures in life your child has to pursue?
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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.
Regardless. For the sake of argument, let's say you live in a predominantly Chinese American neighborhood, where you have a class of 20 Chinese American kids. Are they all going to be #1? Are they all going to have A's? What happens to the ones that don't? The entire concept is ridiculous.

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Originally Posted by Master Po View Post
You asked for opinions on that article.
I said I was disappointed with her piece. It was too superficial and I'd rather see a more in depth article on these topics...
The woman is a Law School professor. How is she qualified to comment on raising children? Because her kids get good grades? The eldest is what, 15? I sincerely wish them good luck in life.

What about the mother? Did similar upbringing make her happy?
She must never sleep (she equates less slumber with a fuller life): She teaches full time, writes lauded books and papers, maintains a grueling travel schedule and, most important, devotes herself to Chinese motherhood. "The truth is I'm not good at enjoying life," she readily admits.
What a joke!

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