Unless one lives in a cave secluded from any civilization, it is unlikely one has never heard of Amy Chua’s best seller,”Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
*attend a sleepover
*not play the violin
*complain about not being in a school play
*watch TV or play computer games
*not make a grade below A
*have a playdate
*choose their own extracurricular activities
*not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
*not play the piano
If one thinks this is outrageous, then they aren’t alone. Studies show that 70% of parents in Western societies believe that stressing academic excellence is not good for children. The same study finds that no parents belonging to Eastern cultures like China believe the same thing.
To find out why parents in Eastern cultures are so driven and why their tots excel academically compared to our not-so-outstanding youths, this writer looked deep into the vaults of research. Despite the fact that over 63% of parents surveyed worldwide believe that the strict Eastern parenting is better for children, many parents simply don’t adhere to it.Moreover, despite the fact that Western cultured parents being better managers of their children’s education, they simply fail at structuring their extracurricular activities and free time which greatly hampers their overall academic success.
Studies reflect that parents of Western cultures, i.e American, care more about their child’s happiness and well-being versus their grades and academic achievement.American parents are more permissive and authoritative. A permissive parent would say something like, “I allow my child to make most decisions involving him/her for himself/herself.” An authoritative parent is the neutral parent who permits their child to have a say-so in many of their child’s upbringing but makes the final call on what is best for him/her.
While there is no problem with allowing a child to have their own interests and hobbies, American parents focus more on these activities than Chinese parents do. Teaching social skills to their children is very important to American parents, however research shows that this is very unimportant to Chinese parents. It is the structured, strict boundaries, and authoritative parenting style that seems to make children excel academically, research indicates.This writer stresses that moderation is key and excessive or extreme measures in parenting can undo any benefits as with anything in life.
It is for this reason that Chinese children are given the unshakable stereotype that they are smarter, more gifted, more motivated,and more successful than other children around the world. Indeed, they have proven this fact in numbers over the decades. But, the dominant parenting style that provides the backbone for their successes are possible for any parent worldwide to adopt if they choose. Rousing a fury among Internet commentators worldwide, Chua touts her successes at creating daughters with prestigious academic rankings by denying them simple pleasures. It is this self-deniable that many people question as being sane and not preposterous.Chua calmly retorts to those who argue against her parenting style that her daughters will be less likely to seek counseling, legal troubles, acquire addictions, and have marital failures. These problems she continues in summation, currently plague Americans more so than any other nation worldwide.However, research refutes her claims.
Many scientists argue that perfectionism creates a cataclysm of obsessive compulsiveness. Who wants that? If one has ever been married to or been raised by someone suffering from OCD, it’s not pretty! As expected, religious sects have weighed in their opinions from the “sacred cloth”.They say success can be defined in many ways.There’s no exact way to measure success (relates to the definition of normalcy). Yet we Westerners are largely insecure, self-engrossed, and not involved enough with our children. We have relaxed our morals, our ethics, our standards to the point that parents of Eastern societies often have a right to laugh at us.
Perhaps we should not be angered by Chua’s audacious bragging and blinding parental accolades and instead reflect inward at any shortfalls made in our child rearing. Where can we make a difference in children’s lives right now? If childless, are there any charitable organizations that we can take part in to make an impression on those who stand to inherit the future?