Chua feels that the traditional Chinese way of parenting is the only way if you want a successful child. If you ask almost any other Western American, it sounds more like the parent has become a dictator and their children are nothing but peasants that aren’t allowed to fail otherwise they are shamed and beaten. Parenting the western way is more effective and leads to a better, well rounded adult as compared to Chua’s idea that, an A-minus is a punishable grade, social activities and creativity aren’t allowed, and the only competitions worth entering are one’s that you receive a top medal — gold only. The United States have made many strides in adapting education to make sure that every child has the ability to get a high school diploma from a public school (the No Child Left Behind act). Although many schools find that high number or letter grades are more important than finding out if the student is actually learning, there are that many more parents that understand that getting straight A’s in every class while being a part of extracurricular activities after school and on the weekends is a very difficult task to accomplish.
American secondary educational facilities require an equal balance of grades and being involved in after school activities and charities. Being a part of a community is very important to the American culture when deciding who will be controlling our generations’ future. The high school students in China are forced to be in school from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and are beaten if they get a grade lower than an A-minus because the parents want their children to be #1 in their classes. Now I’m not saying that western parents don’t want their children to be #1, but it isn’t as important as having a well rounded child that is healthy all around. They want their children to do their best and to do the best at what they are talented in. For example, my parents have both always wanted what was best for me and wanted me to do what made me happy, but there is a twist to both of their meanings behind it. My mother has always been my number one fan and wanted me to pursue my passion for music and musical theatre because she never got to pursue her passion for dance and she doesn’t want me to miss out on any amazing opportunities because she believes in me. My father has also always been very supportive of my passion and dream, but he feels it isn’t a main priority
. I am constantly in debate with him because he feels I should get a business degree and study math and other “office job/ back up plan” courses instead of going to school for what I am passionate for. Unlike the Chinese students, I had the opportunity to find out that I even had a passion for something that wasn’t liberal; creativity and social activities aren’t allowed. China has turned their education system into a factory and they are creating soldiers of their own choosing, not allowing the children to have a voice. Chua says that the only instruments children are allowed to study the piano or violin because they are practical, but they cannot participate in sports, sleepovers, or playdates. But where does practicality come into play when a parent will only allow their to child enter a competition that rewards a medal, and where that same parent will not accept any medal besides a gold one? Pushing a child past their physical limits to help sustain a family image is abuse in one way or another. Suicide is the top cause of death for students in China, according to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while in America; it’s accidents. Always having the heaviness of having to be the best at everything on your shoulders is extremely unhealthy, especially for developing minds.
There have been cases of children that commit suicide because they have no where else to go that range from 10 to 18. Grades and test scores are all posted publicly for anyone to see, which can diminish any chance for a child to be accepted. Not to mention that only about 70% of middle school students are accepted into high school because their test grades and other proficiencies. American public schools work together with the parents to allow children join in any sport or club if they are qualified or can be taught. They are also allowed to compete in what they choose and most parents don’t shame and beat their children if they don’t get first. It has recently become a custom to hand out participation certificates or ribbons that give children incentive to want to continue even if they didn’t get second place.
The East and West do not see eye to eye on parental decisions or parenting in general, and that is evident. Chua explains that the “Chinese mother” believes that school work always comes first, an A-minus is a bad grade, the only activities your child is allowed to participate in is one that will win a medal, and that medal must be gold. “Western parents” take their children’s feelings into consideration, allow them to make independent decisions as long as they don’t cause any harm to themselves or someone else, and to embrace the freedom that they are legally allowed to have. There will never be a time when either region will change for the other, they will always agree to disagree and accept and continue to live on with their different lifestyles as many others have done so in the past.
Courtney from Study Moose
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