Why Chinese Mothers are Superior

by skeeter1 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • jamiebowers

    Isn't there a high rate of suicide among kids who are raised this way? I know I've read articles about that within the over achieving Asian cultures.

  • Roski

    There are a lot of suicides but they are not often acknowledged (or in just a limited way). While one of my friends was teaching in a university in Sth Korea two young people fell past the window to their deaths - nothing was mentioned among the students or the staff.

  • DanaBug
    What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.

    I thought I agreed with this until I read it again. While it's true you have to practice to be good at anything, there are lots of things I found fun the first time I tried it. They didn't always stay fun and sometimes wound up frustrating, but that's when I take a break and come back to it later. That's not giving up, that's getting rid of frustration so you can come back to it with more patience.

    This style wouldn't work at all with my daughter. She watches how you do something, over and over, for a while, then all of a sudden she does it. We bought here an easel for Christmas and she asked me for about a week to write the alphabet out for her while she sang it. We did it over and over and over. And then one day, she picked up a marker and wrote her first letters. That's how she learns. My screaming and yelling at her will not make her do it, in fact will have the opposite effect.

    And that piano piece? The daughter wouldn't have eventually gotten it down without the screaming, threats, and insults? I don't see the need for it at all.

    This is just so strange to me, but that's probably a given, since I'm a Western mom.

  • DagothUr

    Bullshit! They are 1,300,000,000 Chinese people. If we admit only 0.1% of the population are genius and highly gifted, then they have a huge pool of 1.3 millions. There are entire countries that do not have 1.3 million population altogether. They are no better parents than any other and they are no worse either. But they are many! And if the USA has...let's assume a triple rate of geniuses...0.3% of it's population...we have just 300,000. The Chinese intellectuals surpass the USA ones 13:3. Once again: bullshit article.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    Chinese mothers may be "superior", but at what cost?

    And superior how? At making clones of themselves, maybe, but what about recognising the child's individuality?

    What about social skills? Most Chinese students I see (who have come from the mainland to Australia for an education) have no personality to speak of. They sleep during the day. They never look happy.

  • fulltimestudent

    I would not take this article (as above) as applying to all Chinese people. China is a huge country with a population formed from many peoples. The northern people are Mongolian, the same stock as Native Americans (north and south), Japanese, etc. They came from the steppes to the north of China, but are also the same people as the Huns that conquered Europe and formed the basis of modern Europeans - France, Germany, eastern Europe etc.

    The Min and other people from southern China are different - possibly formed from the people of the coastal migration out of Africa. Travel along the southern borders of modern China, and you find similar people on both sides of the border.

    Together they form the Han, the united people of the Han empire (the second united Dynasty) and all the empires since and include people (as above) from as far away as eastern Iran. (Westerners misunderstand the term Han)

    Within that homogenised mass there are some different outlooks and emphasis on different aspects of the human spirit. By that I mean, that all have the evolved human tendencies that underly all peoples of the earth, but overlaid by local customs and attitudes.

    One more unifying force must be taken into account - and that is traditional chinese thought. Just as christian thinking forms a foundation (only to a certain extent) to the west, traditional Chinese thought forms a foundation (to a much greater extent than Christianity in the west) that unites all of East Asia. This difference in foundation thought is important in understanding the differences between East and West. Christianity compells submission to absolute truths supposedly from 'GOD' - whereas in traditional Chinese thought, there is a spirit of questioning. I agree (if you raise the point) that there have been efforts to enforce dogmatic thinking at different times in East Asian history. But in the end, the questioning spirit wins out. Let me illustrate. In the last days of the last Imperial dynasty and the early days of the Republic, intellectuals attacked traditional thought and advocated getting rid of Confucianism. The Communist party agreed with that, and on attaining power endeavoured to re-educate China away from Confucianism. Mao's cultural revolution advocated the complete elimination of Confucianist influence.

    After Mao's death, not only did the Communist Party of China (CPC) renege on Communism (i.e. a planned, central economy on the Russian model) as an economic policy, but it also reversed opposition to traditional Chinese thought as represented by Confucianism to such an extent that my joke is the CPC no longer stands for the Communist Party of China, but that CPC now stands for the Confucianist Party of China. Today's Chinese News tells of plans to erect a 10m high statue of Confucius in Tiananmen Sq.

    All of which, you may think has nothing to do with the theme of the thread, but in that you would be wrong. To really assess the statement, 'Why Chinese Mothers are Superior' you must first assess where the writer comes from in China, and to what extent she is influenced by traditional Chinese Thinking.

    Broken Promises - I have no idea where you live to see what you see. At the University where I study, there are 5000 students from the PRC, most are concentrated in money handling courses (which is not my area of interest). But they have to do some humanity courses, so I've been in one course which was about 90% chinese. I got to know some of these kids quite well. I would agree that they are not always really responsive in tutorials, but then not many Aussie kids are either. I think that for some, that is due to language skills. Having had to work with them on group projects, I've found that they can be very questioning and tough in sticking to their (reasoned) view.

    And you must be aware that the highest scores in University entrance exams in Aust. are being scored by kids of Asian extraction.

    In Sydney, there are many Asian suburbs - some are Hurstville, Campsie, Cabramatta, Eastwood, Auburn, Strathfield, Ashfield, Chatswood. These suburbs have vitality and life. I see (when I am in one of these suburbs) family groups where kids are clearly loved. Affection is clearly shown by the parents. I see groups of young people who are quite at home at expressing themselves and clearly having fun with each other...

    (smile) perhaps we are in a time warp !

    finally, on the matter of sleep. One of my class mates (from Shanghai) went 3 days without proper sleep during the recent exam period. I asked how he coped - he told me he took 20 min catnaps (in the library) during the day, if his concentration lapsed. I've also known Aussie kids to do the same. However, it is so common is China to see people taking catnaps whenever they get a chance. Not the Aussie way? No! but its the Chinese way.

  • Roski

    fulltimestudent: you are correct of course - one should not generalise too much, however, this is not just a Chinese issue - it is an Asian issue.

    One of the major differences is the need for consensus (quite understandable given the history) which leads to conformity of behaviour and thought. Asian students are taught mainly by rote memorisation - for the test....and therefore are often very good at test-taking, if they are a serious student. This learning style doesn't encourage critical thinking though. There is also a passive student/active teacher dynamic that is the crux of the classroom which also (while in some ways positive) encourages 'learning to the test' - and the resulting 'score' is the main focus for most mothers.

    I think a mixture of both Western and Asian(?) learning/teaching styles is productive, but quite difficult to implement. Obviously, there are people who operate outside of this stereotype and they are very intelligent people and often leaders in their field. Some take very well to different learning styles - others do not and they are the ones that go home and continue as before.

    The sleeping/looking tired isn't always indicative of study - quite the reverse. Many Asian students are not good at time management and are just used to spending lots of 'time' at the desk but the quality of the study is lacking. Long periods of study actually involve lots of social interaction and other stuff maybe slightly (or not at all) connected with study. Confucian thinking definitely focuses on the time spent studying rather than the knowledge - connected to the process of rote memorisation which begins from a very young age, and hence the mother's driving "do it again" mentality.

    In my opinion the most unfortunate outcome of this style of teaching/learning is the importance of the 'arrival' not the 'journey' - but I'm not Asian.

  • agonus

    Biracial/multiethnic kids are the best!!! I've got three of my own, gorgeous Latin/Celtic/Italian/German babies. We've got a self-described "mutt" in the ironically-named "White House", so how can they possibly lose?

  • fulltimestudent

    A last word (maybe) from Ed. Rendell, Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, annoyed at the cancellation of a football match (due to bad weather), hit out at his fellow citizens for being too soft.

    Quoting* him:

    'I think we've become wussies' ... and then suggesting the chinese would have held the match and walked through the snow to do so, he continued, ' ... The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything ... they would have walked ... and they would have been doing calculus (presumably in their heads) on the way down.'

    Rendell's hyperbole picturing Chinese trudging through snow and ice and performing mental calculus may be a trifle stretched, but it appears it resonated with some Americans.

    *As cited in an article by Benjamin A. Shorten, published in the ASIA TIMES ( a sort of internet Digest, published in Bangkok), Jan 14, 2011.

    web-reference: www.atimes.com/atimes/china/MA14Ad01.html


    Roski, you may be right that Chinese learning styles do not not encourage critical thinking. A very close friend, an academic from the University of Wollongong (now sadly dead) spent 6 months lecturing in his field at a Nanjing Uni. The passive learning habits of Chinese students really frustrated him.

    OTOH, Reg Little, a former Aust. diplomat - head, or deputy head of mission at five posts, (cited to show he just may know what he's talking about) and author of the book, A Confucian-Daoist Millenium, points to the success of Japan (he claims its also a Confucian state- I agree but with reservations) claims many virtues in rote learning including an intellectual discipline that may be a little lacking in the west.

    In studying contemporary affairs, the big practical difference I see in results, is that East Asians think long term, the west thinks short term. Does that come from education or is something else the cause?

  • sabastious

    Piano recitals = successful parenting?


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