Sunday, January 16, 2011

Asian Mothers

This article, Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, apparently drew a lot of attention when it went up on the Wall Street Journal. There were a lot of comments criticizing the Chinese parenting style the author describes. It was interesting for me, having grown up experiencing both American and Chinese cultures. I think there are pros and cons to both American and Chinese styles of parenting. My mom was never as hardcore of a Chinese mother, compared to either the author or to other Chinese mothers I knew growing up. I can guarantee I won't be, though there are some things that I'm not sure I can ever get away from.

All the attention on the original article also prompted a response from the author here. I ended up getting the book (more like Greg bought it for me before I could object, since I originally wanted to just check it out from the library, but he knows I'd never get around to it if it were left up to me) that the article was based on, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and read it in less than a day. The book is not so much pushing Chinese-style parenting as the only way, but more a story of how that parenting style worked with her own daughters (end result: the strong-willed second daughter prompted an adjustment to the Chinese-style parenting).

There are definitely things that I thought were too extreme that the author describes doing (no sleepovers or playdates). There are other things that I could see myself also emphasizing, though not necessarily to the same extreme, e.g., doing well in school, learning to play an instrument (I favor the piano), and if possible, learning Mandarin (a hard thing to do in an environment where there are few opportunities to practice in day-to-day activities).

On a lighter note, I do like Asian mom humor, because it's relatable (to me, at least) and there's some truth behind it. This YouTube video is pretty hilarious:

"We come all the way from that far country China and we born you here in America just so you can get B+ in Engrish?!"

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