This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Tiger Mom

I heard the hubbub over this WSJ article, Why Chines Mothers Are Superior several weeks ago but it was just this morning that I had finally read it. I loved it. I may not agree with the entire thing but I definitely see myself in a lot of the "western" ways.

You must read this article. It's well written, funny and brutally honest. Essentially, a Chinese-American mother raises her children with a very strict discipline. The article starts with:
Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
The article continues with how the stereotypical Western mother concerns herself with how her child _feels_ (and therefore, implying mediocrity) vs. 'forcing' them to do well (and feeling proud for working hard).

I do think my generation is way too "nice" to their children. We are always listening to them: why are you angry, sad, blah blah? Express yourself, tell me what's on your mind; I don't care that you are three, TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL!

I'll be reading Amy Chua's book. I can't wait to see if I can relate to either side. I remember, in the WSJ article, Amy tells a story about disciplining her child, only to have the people around her look at her in horror. That's happened to me although I can't remember what story it was that made people look at me like that.

I read this article to CJ and MiMi this morning. They were flabbergasted right from the start, with the first part (the part I quote in the beginning of this post). I told them I had some new parenting practices to take on. They didn't think that was quite so funny.


  1. One thing I found resonative was that when the Chinese kid gets a B, the parents assume there is something wrong with the kid, but when the Western kid gets a B, the parents assume there is something wrong with the school/curriculum.
    Parts of the article seriously bothered me--like the banning of sleepovers, play dates, and the callousness of motivation--but there was a fair amount of good stuff in there as well.

    I certainly wouldn't be _happy_ in an environment like that, but would I be more productive, with better grades and a higher skill in piano and clarinet? Yes.
    I guess we just value personal enjoyment more here.

    I think we need to find a happy medium.

  2. I plan on reading the book too... maybe we can plan a lunch date once we've both read it.