Tag Archives: Chinese mother

Lessons from “Chinese mothering”

Never have I experienced such a collective button being pushed than with Amy Chua’s revelatory story of how she raised her two girls the Chinese way. Is it the threat we feel when she throws western parenting under the bus? This is what happens to anyone of us when we feel blamed, disdained, or put down. We get defensive and either take it in as defeat or fight back. Exactly what our children do when we blame them. We are clearly getting our hackles up as she puts down what we do, especially what we have doubts about doing.

I just finished the book, and I must say I found her unabashedly honest about her dictatorial methods that would make the hair on anyone’s neck stand straight up—methods she says would be seen even as illegal in the western culture. I have a hard time believing that most Chinese mothers would say the things that Chua said to her girls. Her story points out many things we can learn from. Her girls are as different as night and day attesting to such different temperaments. Her oldest went along with and apparently agreed to go along with her mother’s style. It pushed her to reach her greatness. Her youngest took more than I would expect rebelling all along the way to which Chua’s very Chinese mother even gave warning. This daughter’s final straw came in public in Red Square in Moscow when she screamed our worst nightmare at her mother—a point to which she was driven by a mother who just would not listen.

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Pendulum Parenting-from “nice” to “Chinese”!

How many parents find a balance in their parenting that works. We seem to go through cycles, fads as it were. We didn’t like the autocratic parenting many of us were brought up with so we reacted and swung the opposite way being nice to our children, giving them all they want at the same time interpreting what they wants as what they need. Hard to get those two straight! We were all about raising our children’s self-esteem and thought we would do that by telling them how wonderful they are at everything they do. Trophies for every kid on the team, praise stickers and prizes for “good” behavior, telling children how special they each are…. Well, that backfired big time, but we hadn’t quite figured out what to do instead when along came Amy Chau with her new memoir, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother. Chau’s book shows us how Chinese mothering raises successful children (or that’s what she wants us to see), which is once again a swing in the far opposite direction. She chastises American parents for being soft and feeling-oriented and shows us how her harsh, autocratic style led to two very successful daughters – altho almost at the risk of losing one of them. By calling her daughter “garbage”, refusing the “lazy” efforts put into home-made birthday cards, threatening them with anything and everything to illicit perfect performances both academically and musically, she claims she boosted their self-esteem and takes full credit for their successes. As children’s failures are a shame on the family, she says that absolutely a child’s behavior is a reflection on mothering. Hmmm. Doesn’t that leave the child’s nature out of the picture. Indeed, her second daughter’s nature is what in the end broke Chau’s uncompromising severity-a little.

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