Move on Mommie Dearest, an update

Well, this Amy Chua kerfluffle has got legs! I didn’t think I was exactly ahead of the curve when I posted about her Wall Street Journal article a few days ago. But people are still discussing – agreeing or venting – about her take-no-prisoners parenting tactics. Now on the WSJ site: a rebuttal from the Western mom perspective. However, I know the issue must be waning because she made the front page of our local English-language paper, The South China Morning Post. “Shock and awe” they call it. If the SCMP has picked it up, you know it’s old news!

On a more positive note, a good friend of mine (and fellow rockmom) in Austin sent me a link to a well-written and quite reassuring article about parenting styles and the pros and cons of Amy Chua’s achievement-oriented bootcamp.

Check it out here and let me know what you think!

Amy Chua’s article makes for good conversation and obviously spurred me to blog about her, however I’m deeply suspicious of her motives, and of the motives over at the WSJ offices. Of course you post something like this to drive traffic to your site, book, print edition, etc. But just looking at Chua’s reasoning behind the way she raises her daughters, it’s ridiculous to think her girls will respond to external motivation for their entire school lives. Where’s the self-motivation? Is Chua going to accompany them to college, sit behind them in the library and hector them until they finish their work? I wouldn’t put it past her, but you know she probably won’t be able to find them because they’ll be off at the campus kegger hollering, “Freedom!”

With that in mind, and as it’s now Saturday afternoon, I shall put the Amy Chua issue to rest and go check that my daughters are doing something fun and enjoyable – something possibly without any educational, achievement-oriented merit whatsoever.

Have a good weekend!

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Posted on January 15, 2011, in parenting, pop culture and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The pictures of Amy watching over her children as if she is a prison guard make my stomach turn. I suddenly just envisioned the Shawshank escape scene where instead of Andy Dufresne standing in the rain after just crawling out of a sewage drain, it was one of Amy’s children, with her violin that has actually fused itself to her little shoulder….. yes, freedom…… Those girls will be doing topless keg stands with the rest of the college kids when they are finally set free…. That is why I will do my best to encourage my son to do what he loves, and just make sure to guide him down the right path… 🙂

    • Right on! I’m thinking (and hoping) that if home is a comfortable, nice place to be that my girls won’t feel the urge to get that fake ID and go crazy! Not to say we’re gonna be the family that hosts teen parties (I’m not a masochist – ha ha) but we try to find that balance between achieving and enjoying ourselves.

      Living in Hong Kong, I hear a lot of similar tiger mother stories. One story that sticks in my mind is a little boy (I’ll call him Will) who was at preschool with my daughter. The preschool was a non-profit, parent-run group so moms and dads spent a lot of time helping the teachers and got to know the kids quite well. Will was an only child who spent most of his time with his Filipina helper because both his parents worked long hours in Shenzhen, just across the border from HK. Will was extremely bright – you could see how he loved puzzles and figuring out things – and you knew, this boy is sharp. The only thing was he had no social skills. He’d pick fights with the other boys and then cry and tattle when they fought back (they were usually bigger than him too). He didn’t know how to share, wait his turn, etc. Now this is totally normal for a three-year-old and of course a couple years of preschool would definitely help him learn how to get along with other kids. The preschool teacher recommended another year at our preschool, but no, Will was nearing four and it was time to go to a local (Chinese-language) kindergarten where he was looking at long hours sitting at a desk learning his characters and numbers to prepare for a top primary school. And you could just see: Will was going to be the brilliant student with no friends. Successful but lonely. What a shame.

      • yes that IS a shame… That is actually how my son was for many years, someone ended up bloody by the time the day was over. But I feel so fortunate that he was put I the right class, and that we work with a team of teachers and his principle to make sure we make the right choice on who his teacher is next year and we also share ideas on how to help him with his social skills. He is accidemically ahead, but his social skills are behind, mostly due to infantile seizures, so wow, I am truly grateful that my sons school actually cares for his well being like I do. It’s a small town, but it should be like that everywhere, ya know, treating our kids as human beings. It’s sad how they forget that these are little PEOPLE! 😦

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