Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mommy Wars (contributor post)

Are American families too permissive?  Asian students out perform American students, especially in math and science. They study in groups and rarely complain and whine about writing papers and taking tests. Amy Chua, a professor at Yale, decided to raise her two daughters the Chinese way.  Sam has read Chua's previous two books, but this one is completely different. In it she discusses her parenting techniques and the wing nuts are out in full force. God help us all! 

Here is a short exert on the Daily Beast"

Amy Chua has become America’s most controversial mom for her draconian child-rearing techniques. She tells Lisa Miller about death threats, her parenting regrets, and why her kids love her.

Amy Chua’s email inbox has become the latest front in the mommy wars. Ever since an excerpt of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, her new book on parenting, ran in The Wall Street Journal under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” she has been under attack. “Oh. My. Gosh,” she says, when asked to estimate the number of messages she gets each day. “I don’t know. 300? 600?” Many of them are notes of praise and thanks, she claims. But many others are vicious. “There are death threats. And, ‘Go back to China, you abusive monster.’ It’s much more overwhelming than I thought it would be.”

Make up your own mind. Are American parents, mostly baby boomers, too permissive, and let their little crumb snatchers get away with murder?  Parents should read Chua, turn off that damn play station and make those brats read more. 



  1. "Parents should read Chua, turn off that damn play station and make those brats read more."

    Spoken like a true, old grump. Why don't you focus on better teaching than railing on whatever deficiencies of the current student population?

  2. I would argue that most Americans really don't expect enough from their kids. I know a lot of my friends in their mid 20's who STILL live at home with their parents and do nothing but play video games. They get their small income by farming plasma or doing small jobs. I don't think everyone should become the world's best X, but they should be doing something with themselves.

    I think it's fair to say that we should expect someone to at least work for whatever means we want them to have and these kids need at least basic skills to do that. We should encourage reading, intellectual pursuits, and being involved in life. ( Volunteering, sports, clubs, music, arts, etc)

    The thing is that the China system breeds excellence, but at what cost? When my moms company hires Chinese graduates to work here in America, she claims that they are hard working yet have no concept of teamwork and seem to lack the ability to build human relationships.

    The critics of Chua think that her methods would turn children into future robots and in that case i tend to agree.

    We need to push our children more but not at the expense of humanity. They still must learn things you can't teach in a book. Things like humility, teamwork, and compassion for those who aren't as privileged as they are. Last, let's not forget about critical thinking and self discovery. Chua's "parenting" sounds to me more like a special breed of hell.


  3. Hey air head, Sam can play this name calling game too much better than you! So we can go at it! If you read the post before posting your infantile name calling you would have known that the article has absolutely nothing to do with the current student body but your comment indicates you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Sam does not give a flying fuck what you think or believe ignoramus. We can react civilly to the posts, or we can take it the gutter.

  4. By the way, Sam hates anonymous posts for it allows posters to say things they would never say using their own names. Never write anything you would not say to the person face to face. That is the rule Sam follows. Sam is sick of reading stupid comments, especially personal attacks, so he is ending his participation on the site. By the way, Sam was trying to generate conversation to get dialogue and discussions going but he has noticed that in absence of good thinking posters rely on attacks.

  5. Good Prof, and in all fairness to Chua, she does say that she relented and relaxed when one of her daughter rebelled and pushed back against her educational methods.

  6. Wow. That's quite the explosive response Sam - especially considering that "Sam" is a pseudonym, which is as good as anonymous.

    How was dialogue derailed?

  7. Understood Xavier, but those are the rules established by the owner. Sam would require names. Dialogue is always derailed by attack comments.

  8. Damn dude. Chill out. When people kept criticizing students earlier in the CORE class discussion for not reading, I couldn't help but recall that when you are saying that those "brats" should read more. I can't stand faculty saying that! I grew up playing my Playstation and Cube, but I read! So stop your shitty whining about that. Not all students are against reading. Just focus on what you can do. And since I've gathered you are faculty, stick to focusing on your teaching.

    Why do you feel so comfortable telling other parents how to raise their children anyway? I didn't grow up in a Chinese home. My parents are quite "permissive" as you call it, but I read. They encourage it. But they didn't cram it down my throat. They don't believe in Chinese parenting because they wanted me to be creative. I liked their approach, not that I know anything different. So even though I happen to be one of those "brats" raised by "boomer" parents, I think I came out pretty good.

    And you are so against anonymity, but you choose to call me a "brat". Nice. You don't even know me and you weren't even reacting to my comment. You just decided to call me a brat. You should take some of your own medicine.

  9. her point of view seems to have a lot of legitimacy to it. It suggests that happiness is contingent on success, and success is contingent on competence in things like school and music--and confidence. Sounds okay to me. Maybe not correct, but it certainly isn't outstandingly crazy or anything.

    I do think that her point about "parents assuming the fragility of their children" is pretty nice. Inspiring confidence by completely avoiding conflict seems somewhat non-intuitive. But these are all very complex issues, so making any sort of sweeping statement seems wrong.

  10. Sam: if you consider "true, old grump" to be an attack, you might be too sensitive.

    girl: I think relating happiness to success is a great one to explore. But I'm not convinced that Chua has it right entirely. Is success mastering one skill, only getting A pluses, and only getting gold medals? If I am not mistaken, many who have reached that kind of "success" would not claim that that makes them happy. Those might be good things, but the costs to getting there do take their tolls. One has to practice, practice, practice all the time. One can become isolated, one can become lonely. One can become alienated by one's peers. And such a way of life does not breed creativity or critical thinking. It does not teach someone to explore alternatives or to fail at some endeavors (so that one can learn from one's mistakes).

    I agree that happiness and success go together in some way, but "success" to me is letting the mind explore without the chains of coercive discipline. And I believe that that makes for a happier person.

  11. This is a very good blog post in support of Chua's parenting philosophy:

    It should also be noted that the original "Chinese Mothers are Superior" article is a pretty serious misrepresentation of Chua's actual book. I don't have a link handy, but I encourage people to google around if they're particularly offended by Chua's assertions.

  12. Awesome link! Very interesting. Thanks girl.