No Sleepovers, No TV, and Plenty of Drills

An article entitled ‘Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”  caught my attention onFacebook, when it was cited by a number of my friends. The story was written by Amy Chua, a Yale professor who was raised by Chinese parents and who ticked off the things no Chinese child would ever be able to do if they were in the US:  Attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, get any grade lower than an A, and play anything other than a violin or a piano.

Harsh, yes, but in fact this is the reason we have so much to fear about the Chinese. They’re simply way, way more determined to succeed, and even at the family level, they believe that it’s the parent’s job to help children get As and that if they fail, it will be shameful for them. And oh, after helping their children by relentless drilling, three hours of practice and the above prohibitions, their kids owe them a debt for the rest of their lives.  Why do you think grandma and grandpa live with them?

In so many ways, Chua explains, the Chinese parental style pushes kids so hard that when they do succeed, then they deserve real praise and that brings real happiness. How many times do American kids get praised for trying, and Bs and Cs are accepted? No way for a Chinese family–an A- is a reason to start another round of hours of drills.

“The Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”