How to be good parents is defined by the culture that you live in. But how do you bring up a successful child?
The traditional Chinese way of parenting and educating children is based on a much different set of values than the American way. Although both ways of parenting agrees upon that ‘all parents want their children to grow up happy, confident and strong’, the methods used for getting them there is a lot different in the two cultures.
Amy Chua, who is the writer of the book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’, believes that the way she has raised her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa, is how you raise your children if you want them to be successful. Both of the girls have been raised the traditional Chinese style, where social activities such as attending a sleepover, having a playdate and being in a school play were not allowed. Furthermore, the girls were criticized and forced to study for several hours in order to improve for next time, if they came home from school with a grade less than an A. This was also how Chua’s parents raised Chua herself, and she believes that that way of upbringing her made her strong, confident and successful as an adult. Therefore, she believes in the traditional Chinese style of parenting.
The values that Chua believes are important are obedience, respect and probably the most important of all, hard work. She does not believe that children know what is best for themselves, and therefore the children must respect and obey their parents, when they are told to play a certain instrument, practice a certain sport etc.
According to Chua, this will help the children to become strong, successful and independent later in life.
American children are – in many cases – raised to question authority and they have more freedom to choose what sport to practice, what instrument to play and what to do in their spare time. In the US, the traditional values differ a lot from the values that Chua mentions.
The most relevant traditional values in this case are individual freedom, hard work and self-reliance. Studies show that American children, who are raised with that set of values, will go on to be happy, independent and competent individuals later in life.
Amy Chua has been criticized a lot for her way of parenting and educating her children after releasing her book. Her proposal to how to deal with an underperforming child, ‘The solution to sub-standard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child’ , is seen as a wrong solution and words like excoriate and shame are words which Americans associate with bad parenting.
American parents believe that the children will be damaged for the rest of their lives if they are pushed too hard as children and therefore they are gentler and some also more lenient in their style of parenting. Chua thinks that that is wrong. She believes that if you are too lenient instead of being strict, your children will be weak and incompetent in trying to perform as adults. Also, American parents believe that children will be more self-reliant if they are allowed to make their own decisions ‘ at least some of them ‘ when they are children, then they will also become more self-reliant as adults. In contrary, Chinese parents makes the decisions for their children.
I agree with the parenting expert Barbara Coloroso, when she says she is not an advocate of ‘brick wall parenting’, because I think that is an old fashioned style of parenting. I do not think that this style of parenting fits the modern world. Of course, parents have to expect something of their children and set ground rules, so that things does not get out of hand, but I think Amy Chua’s style of traditional Chinese parenting is way to harsh. Furthermore, I believe that the Chinese style conflicts with the traditional American belief of individual freedom, because of the fact that the children are not allowed making any decisions regarding their own life. This is very contrary to the Chinese parents, who take every decision for their children, because they do not think that the children are ready to stand on their own feet at that age.
Even though there are many differences between the Chinese and American style of parenting, there are also some similarities. Both cultures value hard work. While Chinese parents believe that their children should be great at anything, American parents could be satisfied if their children have linguistic skills if they are bad at mathematics.
It is a known fact that when it comes to reading, mathematics and science, east Asian students outperform the rest of the world and Chua believes that not only are Asian students better students, they are also just as happy as American children. One could argue that Chua’s point is wrong, because studies show that China, Japan and South Korea have some of the highest suicide rates, which could be connected to the harsh style of parenting.
So how do you bring up a child to be successful as an adult? That question probably does not have one precise answer. But if you ask me, I believe that both styles of parenting have pros and cons. The American style focuses on self-reliance and individual freedom, while the Chinese style focuses on hard work, respect and obedience. Neither approach to parenting is better than the other, because both types of parents want their children to grow up to be successful. My opinion is that if you find the right balance of both of them, then there is a good chance that your children will grow up to be happy and independent adults, which is the most important after all.
Word count excl. quotes: 1014.
Assignment B: Blog
Education is the reason why we are falling behind
There is a huge crisis in the United States of America. If you look at it from the outside, you could say that we have problems with our healthcare, national security, unemployment, poverty, criminality etc. But if you look closer, the real problem is actually in our schools. The students of this country used to have some of the world’s highest graduation rates, but now we have fallen behind, all the way down to 20th place. For me, this is a very, very alarming development. It is, because of the fact that our students are the ones who will define and determine our country in the future. In the future we will need policemen, politicians, teachers, volunteers, chief executive officers, lawyers, doctors etc. Common to all of them is all need a good education. With 1.2 million college dropouts every year, we have to make changes immediately.
But what do we have to do? I believe that we need to encourage students to take more responsibility for their own life. They might feel stressed out, clueless or even depressed, which could explain why many students do not even attend classes.
At the end of the day, it is of course individual who is responsible for his education, but I believe that there are people who can help and encourage the students to continue with their education. To solve this, I have a couple of solutions. The first one is that colleges and high schools institute mentor arrangements, so that the students can have someone to talk to if they are having problems with stress or other school problems. This could really help students, and make them stay in school instead of dropping out. Another solution is that the government should start a campaign, in which they make parents aware of these problems and encourage parents to help their children if they are struggling. I believe that these solutions would make students stay at school and thereby increase the graduation rates, which would push less people into criminality and of course secure our great nation future.
Word count: 354