Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School and author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, gives us an inside look at the norm for raising children in the typical Chinese home. Demanding absolute perfection in all tasks attempted and constant scrutiny for anything less, essentially imprisoning their children and humiliating them to the point they will do anything to gain approval. Hanna Rosin, author of “Mother Inferior”, on the other hand, takes the “Western” approach to parenting.
She believes childhood is a time for experimenting and learning though personal experiences. Ms. Rosin would rather her children express interest or talent in a few things, so they become experts at something they love. Both parenting styles have virtually no common ground except that ultimately both parents want what is best for their children, however, their ideas on what is best are also up for debate. Which way is the most effective for raising a successful child?
Western mothers Essay Example
Amy Chua goes into great detail explaining how much more strict and demanding “Chinese” mothers are than “western” mothers. For example, Chinese mothers do not allow their children to attend sleepovers or have play dates, they cannot watch TV, or choose what extracurricular activities they participate in. She emphasizes the importance Chinese mothers place on their children’s academic success, and even says “academic success reflects successful parenting and that if children did not excel at school then there was a problem and parents were not doing their job”(Chua, 2011).
She says that westerners are too concerned with protecting their children’s self-esteem and will give up when pushing their children begins to get tough. In contrast, the Chinese mother will spend up to 10 times longer drilling academics with their children than their western counterparts, whose children are more likely to participate in sports than focus on education. Children who are raised by Chinese mothers must live up too extremely high expectations, while the child of a western parent may be praised for receiving a B grade, this would devastate a Chinese home, and literally cause an uproar.
The child will be called names like stupid, worthless, and even a disgrace in an attempt to shame them into never letting it happen again. This act is not at all frowned upon because the Chinese parent believes every child is indebted to them, “Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud” ” (Chua, 2011). The philosophy of the Chinese mother is to instill discipline, to show their children what they are capable of achieving, and to set them up for a life of success.
In the article “Mother Inferior” (2011), Hanna Rosin defends the western mother’s general style of parenting. Ms. Rosin explains that stricter rules and more homework are the last things today children are in need of, “What privileged American children need is not more skills and rules and math drills. They need to lighten up and roam free, to express themselves in ways not dictated by their uptight, over-invested parents” (Rosin, 2011). It is Ms.
Rosin’s belief that instead of pushing your child to master every task, as a Chinese mother would, you should wait for the child to express an interest or show talent and let the passion influence them to master it. Being forced to do anything for hours on end will cause the child to eventually resent the activity in the end. She states that trying to create a perfect child is a delusion and is a trap a lot of parents fall into with similar results, Rosin explains, “children who are dutiful proto-adults, always responsible and good, incapable of proper childhood rebellion” (Rosin, 2011).
Ms. Rosins shares the more common view of success amongst western parents which is that real success is a measure of happiness, that “it is better to be happy and moderately successful than a miserable high achiever” (Rosin, 2011) she says. The life of a child can be tough sometimes, and it’s the parent’s job to help them navigate through the obstacles, not to create more. Amy Chua and Hanna Rosin both raise some interesting Ideas on how to raise productive young citizens.
Amy takes the no holds barred approach and sets the bar as high as possible, not willing to accept anything but perfection. She says this teaches the child discipline and prepares them for the future by giving them the skills and confidence to be successful. Hanna, on the other hand, says taking a more laid back approach will inspire your children to do what they love, by letting them experience the world for themselves and express interest and passion. While both methods are capable of producing quality children, balance is the key.
Children should not be locked away to study academics and practice the piano endlessly like workers in a sweatshop, just like they should not be demeaned and called names. However, they do need discipline and structure, they need the guidance of their parents to show them the way and ensure they stay the course without diverting. They need to be able to learn to be responsible and accountable for their actions. Each child is unique and should be able to learn who they are through life’s experiences, not necessarily some lifelong curriculum planned out day by day by their parents.