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After Amy Chua’s article, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior, was published, the different parenting models in the East and the West aroused concern and discussion. Amy Chua believes that Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids and produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies because Chinese parents [arm kids] with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away. (Chua) However, some Western parents disagree with and question this Eastern parenting model. Obviously, there are great differences in parenting models between the East and the West in dealing with success, excellence, children’s self-esteem and child-parent obligations.
Chinese parents want their children to be successful and excellent, while neglecting their children’s self-esteem. On the contrary, Western parents value their children’s self-esteem and think that success and excellence are not necessary. Also, Chinese parents and Western parents have different attitudes towards child-parent obligations. First, Chinese and Western parents have very different attitudes towards their children’s success.
Chinese parents believe that success is the most important thing, and that success depends entirely on academic achievement. In her article, Amy Chua mentions a study showing that Chinese parents believe that academic achievement reflects successful parenting and that if children did not excel at school then there was a problem’ and parents were not doing their job’. (Chua) As a typical Chinese parent, Amy Chua never allows her daughters in a school play, and she requires her daughters to get an A and be the No.
1 student in every subject except gym and drama. (Chua) However, Western parents do not emphasize academic achievement and believe that success will not make you happy. (Rosin) According to David Brooks, managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group”these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that below away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale. (Brooks) Western parents prefer to involve their children in sports and group activities rather than just sitting in school and burying themselves in study. As a child who grew up under Chinese parenting model, I was asked to do well in school from an early age. I had to get more than A in every subject, otherwise I would not be allowed to participate in school activities. Even after school, when I got home and finished my homework, I couldn’t watch TV for more than an hour. In my childhood, my life was flooded with learning and grades because my parents thought that only those with good grades would succeed.Second, Chinese and Western parents have very different perceptions of how happy children are when they do something good. In Amy Chua’s article, Chinese parents believe that when children are good at doing something, they get praise, admiration and satisfaction, [which] builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. (Chua) Chinese parents believe that the only way to excellence is through constant practice, so they require their children to do a lot of practice every day to achieve excellence, even though children do not really like it and think it’s difficult to do it. However, Western parents think it is necessary to find their children’s passion and innate talent for something so that they can find happiness themselves. In her article, Hanna Rosin thinks the Chua women rarely express pure love of music; instead they express joy at having mastered it. (Rosin) Western parents believe that it is better for children to discover and practice activities that they are interested in than to force them to practice activities that parents prefer. When I was young, my Chinese parents asked me to practice the piano for two hours every day because they thought playing the piano could cultivate a dignified and elegant temperament, even though they knew I did not like it. My parents believed that if I played the piano well, I would begin to like it. However, when I tried to jitter my fingers and practiced every day, I found it difficult, and I began to be afraid of practicing. Until now, I still hate playing the piano.Next, Chinese and Western parents treat their children’s self-esteem differently. Chinese parents blame, punish and shame their children when their children fail to achieve good marks or disrespect their elders because they believe that children will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (Chua) When Amy Chua was extremely disrespectful to her mom, she was called garbage, which made her deeply ashamed but did not damage her self-esteem. However, Western parents thinks there is no reason to believe that calling your child lazy’ or stupid’ or worthless’ is a better way to motivate her to be good than some other more gentle but persistent mode. (Rosin) Western parents are concerned about children’s self-esteem, and they believe that when children fail, it is better to encourage them, guide them, and educate them to do better next time without saying shameful words. I remember once I failed the exam, and I cried sadly. My mother blamed me for my poor grades, “why are you so lazy?” After hearing her blame, I doubted whether I had worked hard enough, so I worked harder and harder to get better grades. It did motivate me to study hard, but it hurt my self-esteem undeniably and I cannot forget this failure.Finally, Chinese and Western parents have different views on child-parent obligations. Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything (Chua) because parents give birth to their children and they give them life. Therefore, Chinese parents think that children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud. (Chua) However, Western parents think that they owe their children because they force the birth of their children. Therefore, parents have a responsibility to provide their children with what they need, while children only need to be responsible for themselves. As typical Chinese parents, my parents think they gave me life, so I should listen to them and do what they want me to do. However, when I came up with my own ideas that didn’t meet my parents’ requirements, we would argue about them. Therefore, in my family, Chinese parents’ concept of child-parent obligations tends to lead to bad child-parent relationships.In conclusion, parenting models in the East and the West are quite different, focusing on success, excellence, child self-esteem and child-parent obligations. Chinese parents need children to be successful and excellent, while Western parents think happiness is the most important. Chinese parents do not concern about children’s self-esteem, but Western parents do, and Chinese and Western parents have opposite views on child-parent obligations. Different parenting models in the East and the West have different effects on children’s growth. In my opinion, the children under the Chinese parenting model are successful, and they make good academic achievements, but the children under the Western parenting model grow up more happily.
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