“Why Chinese mothers are superior” is an essay published in The Wall Street Journal in January 2011. It is written by Amu Chua, who is also the author of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. In the essay deals with the ever controversial question of how to raise a child. How to make your kids grow up happy, strong and self-reliant. Different cultures have very different perspectives on upbringing and education, and in this essay Chua presents the Chinese parenting method. The essay caused a large stir, generating more than 4.000 comments on the webpage of The Wall Street Journal and around 100.000 comments on Facebook. The global debate that Amy Chua started is not surprising, since the Chinese way of raising children is very disciplinary and it places very high standards, since Chinese kids are stereotypically successful, as Chua also mentions in the very beginning: “They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it.” (p. 9 line 6)
Amy Chua divides the difference between Chinese and Western parenting into three main parts.
Her first point is that if the child gets a bad grade on a test, the Western parents would never actually blame their child. Instead, they would put the blame on the school, questioning the teacher’s abilities. If a Chinese child gets a bad grade, however, the parents would put the blame directly on the child, assuming that he or she did not work hard enough. Furthermore, they will punish the child and demand improvement.
Her second point is regarding the difference in the perception of who owes who. It is the common Chinese perception that the child owes his parents everything, whereas the Western parents feel they owe everything to their children.
The third big difference is the opinion on who actually knows best and the importance of individuality. “Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children’s own desires and preferences.” p. 9 line 88. The western perception is more pro-individuality, cultivating the children’s preferences and desires. This is for better or worse, since some children like watching TV all day and some parents let them.
“Once a child starts to excel at something - whether it’s math, piano, pitching or ballet - he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun.” p. 3 line 44.
Amy Chua’s main argument in favor of the Chinese parenting methods is that nothing is more motivating and strengthening of the confidence as success. And I believe no one would argue that. The problem is, however, that Chua believes that nearly no methods are off limits to achieve success. Success should be achievable without the use of excessive methods as shaming, punishing and excoriating the child. Parent should motivate their kids to...