The Chinese Tiger Mother – The Debate

The Wall Street Journal published Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior and touched off a passionate debate on the topic of parenting.

Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School and author of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” shares her story on how she raised her children.

“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, 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.”

From the survey the Wall Street Journal did on the subject, you can see that readers are 2-1 in favor of the Eastern style of parenting…

Tou may want to read the article A Response to the Chinese Tiger Mother: Children Need a Balanced Approach where Lori Desautels, Ph.D. notes:

Although the math and science scores are lower in the United States than in many Asian countries, a recent international study reported that “Chinese children as young as six are suffering from serious stress at school, according to the international study, which shines a light onto the pressures faced by Chinese youngsters being pushed to take advantage of the opportunities of the ‘new’ China.

“A scientific survey of 9 to 12-year-olds in eastern China found that more than 80 percent worried “a lot” about exams, two-thirds feared punishment by their teachers and almost three-quarters reported fearing physical punishment from their parents.”[3]

There is always a trade off and balancing mechanism in place when we consciously or subconsciously move to one extreme or the other in any area of life. When we push our children and students to strive academically neglecting the emotional intelligence of self-awareness, empathy and social connectedness, there are often times negative consequences within the social and emotional constructs of social and emotional growth. And if we do not set high expectations and place rigor and meaningful content and differentiated instruction into our curriculum, we may see apathetic students who do not embrace the importance and significance of educational learning, expansion and inquiry!

I think we all know that Western parenting could use a tune-up, and Amy’s book may have created a new discussion… although our first reaction is to defend the way we raise our children, it’s a topic that needs attention.

Feel free to share your thoughts on her approach.

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