Article is by Amy Chua, author and Prof at Yale Law School. I’ve got mixed emotions on this piece. She is using the term Chinese Mothers as a catch-all for VERY strict parenting. Thing is, I thoroughly believe she’s right about how western society so protects children’s self esteems that they barely know how to reach any goals. As a society we’ve crippled them. I see it at school all the time. Kids get bent out of shape because I ask them to sit in their chairs correctly or come to class with supplies and then use them. I totally agree with the struggle of leaning new skills. No, they aren’t fun in the beginning. The fun does come after the struggle when the accomplishment is clear. Western kids in general don’t know that feeling. They are allowed to give up when things are not easy anymore – not even anywhere near when they become hard. Success comes with hard work. Some successes take even more work. Children have too many choices.
But she is hard. She mentions that the first hour of practice is not the hard one, it’s the second and third hours. There are no sleep-overs, no plays, no computer games. She was called garbage and she calls her children garbage. It didn’t hurt her, it won’t hurt them. There’s more, much more.
I want to believe that there is some middle ground here. Western society has decided to cave to the whims of children who are untrained and don’t know what they want in any case. They are terribly undisciplined. They get to set their own hours and decide things like where the family eats on a regular basis. This is certainly not healthy. But, would not an hour and half of practice be sufficient? Is it not better to say, “That’s inappropriate. Don’t let it happen again.” or “I’m disappointed in this grade. I know you didn’t study hard enough.” I think there lies somewhere between these two extremes something that will benefit children and society.