Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chinese Parenting Make GMs

Listen up chess parents! Dreaming of turning your kids into super grandmasters or maybe just the next Yo-Yo Ma? Law professor and mother of two Amy Chua reckons that she's got the right formula. Bring up your kids the "Chinese Way"!

Be blunt. Be cruel. Be absolutely brutal to your offspring.

Your kid lost a Sicilian Defence despite memorising some 30 moves of theory? Just call them stupid. That'll learn 'em. Not even 50% in the Aussie Juniors? Toss out all their toys and ban all the partying until the next Aussie Juniors. Then sit back and watch the trophies roll in.

Amy Chua in the Wall Street Journal:

The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty—lose some weight." By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "health" and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her "beautiful and incredibly competent." She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you." By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

You're probably thinking that this woman's a total nutjob. But hey, she's a law professor, at Yale no less. She knows what she's talking about.


Anonymous said...

She might be a law professor at Yale, but that sure doesn't make her a good parent. I wonder if her kids are happy , secure kids? They might get straight A's, but I would not be surprised if they are prone to some serious problems later in life.

It is difficult to generalise - what works for who etc. I am very glad that not all Chinese parents subscribe to Ms Chua's viewpoint. As a Chinese parent, I am very happy to bring up my kids as happy secure kids , who may or may not be such high achievers . By contrast, I was brought up in a very similar way to the way described by Ms Chua by my Chinese parents, and I would never wish this upon any kids.

Parenting, like all other aspects of life, has progressed in terms of knowledge and psychological effects. Ms Chua needs to recognise this, or else carry on as she does, and produce maybe a GM kid, but a very very unhappy and damaged one.

Anonymous said...

In all respect, do you not find this just a little bit...racist?

Not every person in a culture drinks the same Kool-Aid.