"The Chinese Way to Raise Children, According to Amy Chua," by Alpha Unit

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article with the provocative-sounding title “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.” It’s getting lots of media attention and stirring up a bit of controversy.
As someone who taught kids for many years, I found some of the teaching and discipline methods outlined in the article fascinating.
The essay was written by Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School. It’s actually an excerpt from her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book is her memoir of the way her parents, Chinese immigrants to America, raised her.
After she and her husband (who is Jewish) began their family, Ms. Chua decided that she would stick with the Chinese tradition when it came to child-rearing.
At the beginning of the essay, Ms. Chua states:

Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting.
In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.”
By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, 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.”

According to Ms. Chua, Chinese parents understand that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To be good at anything requires work. And kids never want to work. That’s why parents have to override their preferences. Kids will resist, of course. But Chinese parents excel at maintaining the upper hand.
She continues:

Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can’t. Once when I was young – maybe more than once – when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me “garbage” in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn’t think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.

She recounts the time she did the same thing to one of her daughters, calling her garbage for acting disrespectfully. Later at a dinner party, Ms. Chua mentioned that she had done this. She was immediately ostracized. One guest got so upset she had to leave early. “My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests,” Ms. Chua recalls.
She says that Chinese parents think nothing of talking to their children this way. If the kid is fat, they’ll tell her outright that she’s fat – and needs to lose some weight. If he doesn’t get an A, they’ll tell him he’s lazy. This is something a lot of Western parents simply can’t bring themselves to do. They are quite anxious about their children’s self-esteem. Chinese parents are not. Ms. Chua explains why.
First, Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe their child can get them.

If the child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish, and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and improve from it.

Second, Chinese parents believe their kids owe them everything.

The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children.

And third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override their children’s own desires and preferences.

That’s why Chinese daughters can’t have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can’t go to sleepover camp. It’s also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to his mother, “I got a part in the school play! I’m Villager Number Six. I’ll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I’ll also need a ride on weekends.” God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.

References

Chua, Amy. January 8, 2011. “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.” Wall Street Journal.
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356 thoughts on “"The Chinese Way to Raise Children, According to Amy Chua," by Alpha Unit”

  1. Wade, why are you so viscerally hostile to Turks? It’s an insult to them to compare them to jews, although they are genetic relatives.

    1. We are more closely related to Slavs than to Turks. And we have nothing in common with Turks in a cultural sense.

      1. You’re joking right? Most Slavs look Nordic with slightly Asiatic eyes and cheekbones. You guys look like swarthy Mediterraneans. And Slavs hate your guts.

        1. We have nothing in common culturally with Turks. We speak a Germanic language and practice an Eastern European culture.

        2. “We have nothing in common culturally with Turks.”
          Maybe not the ashkenazi. The sephardim actually moved to the Ottoman Empire after expulsion from Spain. There was actually a famous jewish community in Thessalonica. I believe that Nicolas Sarkozy is partially descended from jews who came from Thessalonica.

        3. I can’t believe people theorize we’re decendents of Turks. There are only a handful of Turkic words in the Yiddish language and only a small number of Turkic customs in Ashkenazi culture (compared to a large number of Slavic customs.) The Khazars obviously made a tiny contribution to Ashkenazim genetic pool and to Yiddish culture. We have absolutely nothing in common with Turks.

        4. “I can’t believe people theorize we’re decendents of Turks”
          I believe that the Khazar converts to judaism were largley upperclass. I don’t believe the whole society converted, but I’m not an expert on the Khazars. One of the men who actually promoted the Khazar/jewish idea was a jew himself, though his name escapes me now.

        5. Jews are a strange group.
          On the one hand, they claim to be a religion, and get offended if you say otherwise.
          At the same time, very few of them are actually religious, and behave more as an ethnic/racial group than a religious group.
          Think about it. If you’re born to an atheist Jewish mother (If Jews are a religious group, how can you be an atheist Jew?), and have never stepped foot in a synagogue, you’re Jewish.
          But even if you believe what Orthodox Jews believe, and want to convert to Judaism, Rabbis are supposed to discourage you at least 3 times from converting. And goyim who convert to Judaism are still treated as suspect.
          And speaking of “anti-Semitism.” You’ll notice that Jews never accuse you of being “anti-Judaism/anti-the religion of Judaism,” but they call you an “anti-Semite.”
          I think it’s quite obvious that Jews see themselves as more of a race/nationality than a religion.

      2. You know, I’ve always pictured the Khazars as Mongol horesmen wearing Yarmulkes, complaining about their overbearing mothers while sacking Russian villages…But think I’ve shared that tidbit here before.

    2. “Wade, why are you so viscerally hostile to Turks?”
      Because they’re a garbage race whose main “achievement” in history was to destroy one of history greatest empire and replace with a brutal “culture” which spread a barbaric creed.
      “It’s an insult to them to compare them to jews”
      I diagree. The may be the one people in the world who it is insulting for the jews to be compared to.

      1. The may be the one people in the world who it is insulting for the jews to be compared to.
        Shit, Wade, you really hate the Turks that much!

      1. Oops, something tells me there’s something fishy about this story.
        I think it’s actually more of a parody than anything else.
        Having read through all of it, it just doesn’t look right.
        Still, it’s pretty damn funny.

        1. Gay Area Guy
          You yourself said white nationalists should concentrate on more important things. I don’t care what black people name their kids I just find it amusing when white people give their kids black names. If someone of any race gives their kid a truly ridiculous name that could affect their ability to function in life, the government can override it. Example Adolf Hitler Campbell and 4real Wheaton (who subsequently became Superman Wheaton!)

        2. @ GSG
          You yourself said white nationalists should concentrate on more important things.
          Yes, I did say that.
          However, I don’t come to Robert Lindsay’s blog to win over followers. I come here to improve my writing and thinking skills, and exchange ideas (and in many cases jokes) with people like Wade, Cyrus, you, etc.
          If I were to try to win everyday white people to my worldview, I certainly wouldn’t bring up the issue of black names.
          But here, no worries!

        3. ” I just find it amusing when white people give their kids black names.”
          A lot of white give their kids jew names too. Isaac, Joshua, etc. There was even a gentile in revolutionary america named Israel Putnam. It should be noted that these are ancient jew names though. I believe that the jew didn;t develop a lot of thier parasitic behaviors until the late first millenium.

        4. “If I were to try to win everyday white people to my worldview, I certainly wouldn’t bring up the issue of black names.”
          I would. It’s not necessarily political. It’s just funny. I don’t really care what blacks call their kids, but it’s great for humor.
          It can also nudge people into the realm of political incorrectness if done in the correct fashion and with the correct leadership.

        5. Blacks historically gave their kids ridiculous biblical names like Isaiah and Bartholomew.
          I would really be amused if whites started naming their kids Bernie, Sidney, Alan…

        6. I would. It’s not necessarily political. It’s just funny. I don’t really care what blacks call their kids, but it’s great for humor.
          It can also nudge people into the realm of political incorrectness if done in the correct fashion and with the correct leadership.

          Actually, yes, for that purpose, I would bring them up. Humor is always a good weapon to use.

        7. “I would really be amused if whites started naming their kids Bernie, Sidney, Alan”
          What about Sydney Potier? Bernie Williams? (of course he’s Puerto Rican)

        1. Chic Noir. I agree. Its stupid and counterproductive to argue about stupid things.
          I don’t think parents should give their kids a name that could could be made fun of though or to further their own political agendas (Republicans naming their daughters Reagan is nauseating.)

        2. gay state girl Republicans naming their daughters Reagan is nauseating
          wow it never occured to me that girls with the name Reagan were named after the president. People amaze me.

    1. They also do the same with Arab names (Jameel etc) and some russian names (Tatianna etc). Celtic names too. Believe it or not the names Tyrone and Marcus originate in the Anglo-Celtic isles. I can somewhat understand this though because after they had much of their african heritage wiped out the celtic and anglo names were pretty much all that was around in the south, except in Louisiana.

        1. Tyrone is one of the 6 counties of Northern Ireland, and is where almost all of my Irish relatives came from. According to Wikipedia the name means land of Eoghan (“born of the yew”).

    1. “I know a lot of jews who look Slavic or German”
      That’s because are in large part descended from these people. That’s why it makes no sense when white nationalists start talking about huge biological differences between jews and european gentiles. The jewish disease is cultural.

  2. You guys do not practice an “East European” culture. Why do Slavs hate your guts then? You guys stick out like a sore thumb in Russia, Ukraine etc. It would be as if a bunch of Syrians lived in those places.

    1. A lot of our practices were motivated by Slavs such as braiding Challahs and Taschlich, which was originally a Slavic pagan practice of asking the River God for forgiveness.

      1. Ah…Always wondered about that. You see a lot of oriental Jews practicing similar stuff, yes? Similar clothing? That was a transplant from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, as far as customs go?

    2. “You guys do not practice an “East European” culture”
      Mana aspects of their culture were essentially taken from slavic and germanic peoples. Yiddish is basically german with hebrew and slavic loanwords. (Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration.)
      “You guys stick out like a sore thumb in Russia, Ukraine etc”
      I think that this is largely a function of their evil behavior.

  3. I’m generally a Slavophile but one mistake that Slavs made was in not allying with the German forces in 1941 to liberate themselves and their homeland from the Jew Communist butchers. There were some, such as General Vlasov, but not too many.

    1. “I’m generally a Slavophile but one mistake that Slavs made was in not allying with the German forces in 1941 to liberate themselves and their homeland from the Jew Communist butchers. There were some, such as General Vlasov, but not too many.”
      I don’t think allying with the germans would even be possible. For one the ideologies were different. Another is historical though. Since the time of the Tuetonic Knights the germans had be executing what is known as the “Drang Nach Osten” or march to the east. They were conquering slavs and balts for centuries before WWII. Germans were hated by many groups of slavs, especilly the Poles, Russians, and Serbs. It is a shame that the garbage philosophies of Nazism and Communism had taken over. I believe that to some degree they could have gotten over the historic hatreds other wise. Then could have joined and marched west to liberate France, Britain, and Holland.

      1. It’s a shame that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact didn’t last. What exactly made Hitler want to invade? Considering that after 1945, Stalin became increasingly anti-Jew, I’m thinking Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR could’ve become great geopolitical partners against the decadent, plutocratic Judaicized “West”.

        1. I’m thinking Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR could’ve become great geopolitical partners against the decadent, plutocratic Judaicized “West”.

          FPY, you know that I have no love for Jewish misdeeds.
          That being said, I have great contempt for Hitler and the Nazis. They ravaged the continent of Europe, killing millions of their fellow “aryans.” Because of Hitler, here’s what the “West” had to put up with:
          1. The Frankfurt School relocating to the U.S.
          2. Europe having to import non-white immigrants.
          3. The creation of Israel (though that was years in the making)
          4. The ability of Jews to relentlessly exploit holocaust guilt.
          5. The demonization of any nationalism (at least for the West)
          Sorry, but no true western/white nationalist can have any love for Hitler.

        2. ” I’m thinking Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR could’ve become great geopolitical partners against the decadent, plutocratic Judaicized “West””
          I think both Hitler and Stalin should have blown their own brains out. The same should be said for their mutual ancestor, Napoleon. This whole modernist “enlightenment” is the real cause of so many of the problems in our world. 1917 and 1933 might as well have been 1789.
          Personally, I really don’t like nationalism most of the time. The reason I support it is because it is the one philosophy that opposed globalism/liberalism that i somewhat agree with. Personally, I would support the Holy Roman Empire or even the Austo-Hungarian Empire over the more “ethnically pure” Nazi Germany any day. I believe that the ciilization of europe between the fall of western Rome and the french revolution is the best in the history of the world. Of course there were some horrible things that occured (ie the reformation). If there is anything else that gets close I think it would be certain periods of Iranian history, but I’m still learning about both so its too early to tell.

        3. “Sorry, but no true western/white nationalist can have any love for Hitler.”
          I have a bittersweet reaction to the Fuhrer. The little dictator. First, he was a white racist. Bitter. Second, he was a white racist. Sweet.
          Confused? Bitter because he clearly wanted white world domination.
          Sweet because he clearly wanted white world domination and this revealed the Germanic soul to the entire world. Lesson learned racist bitches. For eternity. Karma is a bitch.

        4. “Sweet because he clearly wanted white world domination and this revealed the Germanic soul to the entire world.”
          Nonsense. Obviously you have drank the jew kool-aid.
          “Karma is a bitch.”
          The only people who got anything karmic (if that nonsense were even real) from Hitler would have been the jews.
          Hacienda = Margaret Cho

        5. “The only people who got anything karmic (if that nonsense were even real) from Hitler would have been the jews.
          Hacienda = Margaret Cho”
          No, karma broadly defined is very real. It means a unfolding of things according to its nature. It has the idea of
          Aristotle’s entelechy as well as the more commonly understood “payback” or “revenge” or “balancing out the checkbook”, etc.
          It than sense Karma was a bitch for not only the Jews but for Europe.
          As for me being Cho. Okay whatever, LOL.

  4. Napoleon was philo-Semitic, so I don’t think its right to put him next to Hitler. And National Socialism/Fascism was not really a Modernist Enlightment ideology. Fascism in many ways is a reaction against the Enlightenment and liberal values. It’s essentially a modernized version of blood-and-soil feudalism and monarchism. If the Tsar survived after 1917, Russia would have gradually resembled NS Germany or other fascist states.

    1. “And National Socialism/Fascism was not really a Modernist Enlightment ideology”
      Yes it was. They were not conservatives. They hated much about the “old order”. Just because they weren’t as hostile as communists doesn’t make them into guardians of tradition. The decentralized structure and multiethnic character of the Holy Roman Empire and Austro-Hungarian empires were at odds were at odds with the hyper-centralized ethnic purity obessesed Nazi germany. Nazism seems to be a mix of enlightenment philosophy and 19th century romanticism, both movements which I find suspect (especially the former). The whole idea of the scientifically run society of August Comte and other is ruining civilization everywhere just as it did in Germany. It’s the type of thing Dostoyevsky was diametrically opposed to and was alien to tsarist Russia. The ideological foundation of the late Russian tsars was: Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and Nationality. Even that was a reaction that was affected by the so called “enlightenment”. Both were totally our of step with tradition.
      “Fascism in many ways is a reaction against the Enlightenment and liberal values. ”
      Sure, in some ways. In many other ways it was a rejections of older european civilization.
      ” If the Tsar survived after 1917, Russia would have gradually resembled NS Germany or other fascist states.”
      to some degree the late tsars took on some parts of the enlightenment in order to combat it. (strange) I do not admire some of the late tsarist policices like Russification. Also, if anyone in Russia would have been nazi like it would have been the non east slavs like the Balts, Crimean tatars, and Chechens, not the Russians.

  5. @Hacienda
    Are you historically illiterate? Ever heard of something called the “British Empire”? Hitler only wanted continental Europe and Russia up to the Urals. Hitler was far more of a friend for Asians than the British fuckwads.

  6. Look up Sino-German relations in the 1930s. Hitler offered to help Chaing Kai-Shek industrialize China and train Chinese officers by sending German advisors while the Brits were selling opium and sucking the blood of China. And of course, later on, he allied with Japan when China seemed incapable of puuling itself together at that time. Whatever you think of Imperial Japan, it took lots of balls to do what they did before 1945.

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