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Madame Tiger

January 20, 2011

Amy Chua believes she’s a superior specimen of a parent than most western parents. My friend Xuan directed me to Ms. Chua’s recent article on the Wall Street Journal describing her parenting techniques, and how they differ from those of westerners.

Growing up, my mom stressed to me the importance of an education and that studying was always a priority, which is why I took an interest in what Ms. Chua had to say.

While I have no experience when it comes to raising children, I do have first-hand experience of what it’s like to come a from an upbringing that stresses academics. My mom was strict with me when it came to my education. I was not allowed to watch much television. Instead, I was expected to be studying or reading all the time. I will say that my mom was not as strict as Ms. Chua with her own children, so I can’t being to imagine what that type of life is like.

I won’t critique the manner in which Ms. Chua raised her two daughters because it’s simply not my position to do so nor do I have the right. I do wonder about the psychological ramifications about pushing your children so far. Is the child, at such a young age, truly capable of comprehending that by pushing him or her that much, that you are doing so because you care so much?

Another question to bear in mind is what kind of effect does this have on developing the child’s social skills–no playdates after all? Better, yet, how does it affect creative skills–no school plays? Sometimes social skills–especially here in the U.S.–and creative ingenuity can lead to just as much success as hours and hours studying and learning.

While western parents may feel Ms. Chua’s way of raising children as harsh and brutal, we must remember that there are differences in culture at work here–note the clash between her husband and her about Lulu’s piano recital. What may work for Chinese parents may not work for Western parents and vice versa.

I will end this entry with something interesting. A new study reports that college students learn little, so all those hours of practicing and studying may be all for naught.

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