Children all over the world are raised in hundreds of different ways. Some parents strive to get a successful child, some are more casual, and some parents even relive their youth through their kids. China is on the running course with the rest of the world, and when it comes to creating masterminds, China is way ahead of everyone else. Should we follow, or should we simply go on the way we always have? In the article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” by Amy Chua, we’re informed about the differences between the western way of raising children and the Chinese way.
She is a Chinese mother herself, and from her perspective she explains how she has raised her children by excluding them from every social activity, both within school, but also during their extracurricular. Her opinions are pretty clear, and she doesn’t hesitate to express how much she thinks her way of raising children is better than the western way. She explains that not all Chinese mothers are like her “Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise”1.
Throughout the article, she states that the western way of raising children is not as good as the Chinese, and even though some western parents think they’re strict towards their children, it’s nothing compared to the Chinese idea of strict “…even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. (… ) my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments for 30 minutes every day. An hour at most.
For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that though”2. This proves that she truly thinks that she, and the rest of the hardworking Chinese mothers, are superior. Throughout the article, she also resorts to studies, that have examined the opinions of 50 western women and 48 immigrated Chinese women, all 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””3.
The opinion of the Chinese mothers was a whole different story, though “By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way”4. Dragging these studies into her article doesn’t only make her reliable, she also argues very well for her case. The fact that she is a professor at Yale Law School also backs up her reliance. Being a professor for future lawyers usually requires being good at arguing, which she certainly is.
In her article, she has included stories and experiences from her own life, in which she was also raised the Chinese way: Play to be the best, or don’t play at all. The first experience she explains is how her father used to call her names when she was disrespectful towards her mother “… when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me “garbage””5, but she also states that she was never negatively affected by his name-calling “I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done.
But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that”6. Throughout the article, she uses humor even though she seems to be a strict lady, that doesn’t waste time messing around “One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests”7. This shows that she does, even though it might be a bit hard to detect, have a sense of humor. She is pretty subjective in this article, since she assumes that every Chinese child is an A-class student.
This is, though a bit of a paradox, since she in the start of the article wrote that not all Chinese mothers are the same “If a Chinese child gets a B – which would never happen – there would be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. ”8. She is convinced, that a Chinese parent can treat their child in any way they want to, calling them names and forcing them to do things, they don’t want to do, whereas western parents can’t be critic at all or demand anything of their child without ruining the self-esteem of their child “Chinese mothers can say to their daughters “Hey fatty – Lose some weight.
By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never mention the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image”9. In the modern world, it’s all about stepping up and making a name for yourself, no matter if you’re on Wall Street or a part of the underground music revolution. Many years ago, China’s economy was a wreck, people starved and you had to be the best to survive.
Call it Darwinism, but these people had to fight to be something, and I think this is how this Chinese way of raising children was created, and we learned from Amy’s article, that Chinese children are still raised this way. If a young child is brilliant at for example an instrument and a video is posted on Youtube and it goes viral and people hear about it, they sometimes ask “Is the kid Asian? ”. Then people laugh, but it’s funny because it’s true!
The Chinese, not to speak of rest of Asia, has conquered a big part of the market for manufactured products, and everywhere you go you see the stamp “Made In China”. No wonder if everyone in China raise their children like Amy does. When all this is said, I think children should be allowed to be children. It’s healthy for them to create social bands, but if they’re cut out from all social activity by their parents, they will automatically become the outcast in their class.
This is why we on American high schools always see white and black kids hang out together, but the Asians are usually for themselves. It’s natural to make boundaries for your child, the child should know the difference between right and wrong, but should definitely not learn that socializing is wrong. Maybe Amy didn’t get damaged in the process of being perfected by her parents, but I’m sure not every Chinese child is like her. We keep talking about leaving a better planet for our children – But how about leaving better children for our planet?