Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that "stressing academic success is not good for children" or that "parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun." By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way.So true!
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
JANUARY 8, 2011
By Amy Chua
And I say that as a Real American who thinks learning should be fun, or at least interesting, as often as possible.
Ed hadn't heard about the article, and when he read it over the breakfast table this morning, he laughed all the way through. He guffawed when he got to this part:
Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children's own desires and preferences. That's why Chinese daughters can't have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can't go to sleepaway camp. It's also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, "I got a part in the school play! I'm Villager Number Six. I'll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I'll also need a ride on weekends." God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.
Ed said, "That's pretty much how I feel about C. throwing shot put."
This winter C. decided to join the track team & throw the shot put. He has never thrown the shot put before, and he's not good at throwing the shot put. But he's on the team.
Being on the team means getting up at 5am to catch the train to his school for practice -- this during junior year, when "grades count," AND in the wake of a slide in his grades last fall.*
C's original idea, naturally, was that either Ed or I would rise with him at 5am and drive him to the Bronx. Who wants to walk to the station at 5am in the winter?
I may be an abject failure as a Chinese mom, but I am not a fool.
Ed, on the other hand, after returning from 2 1/2 weeks in Paris, during which time I had full responsibility for the morning wrestling match with Andrew, told C. he would drive him to school, leaving me to carry on shouldering full responsibility for the morning wrestling match with Andrew.
I put the kibosh on that one.
Like all American teenagers, it seems, C. is well aware of his right to unconditional parental support in all things. At some point while Ed was away, C. gave me a reproachful look and said: "I feel bad that you and Daddy don't support me throwing the shot put."
"Too bad," I said. "I have no interest in shot put."
C.: "But you supported me playing tennis."
Me: "I have no interest in tennis, either."**
C.: "That's true."
At this point, where school and school activities are concerned, I am interested in one thing.
Two things, actually.
Good grades and high SAT scores.
* His grades have now come back up. If they hadn't, he wouldn't be throwing the shot put.
** By which I mean to say I have no interest in C. winning tennis matches, although I spent years forcing him to take tennis lessons. I am sooooo not a Chinese mom. A Chinese mom forces her kids to do stuff so they can excel. I forced my kid to take tennis because "a boy needs a sport" and "you can play tennis when you're old."