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Asian Parenting vs. Western Parenting: Is Amy Chua right?

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Many of you have heard and read about Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and her debate between Western parenting and Asian parenting. If not, Amy Chua, a Yale professor describes her personal experience of raising her daughters with Asian parenting. In the end for her youngest, rebellious daughter, she had to relinquish some of the control of her daughter’s future and lessen the amount of pressure on her. Many of the readers have thought that Amy Chua is a “monster” or “nuts”, but others have thought instead of letting their kids mindlessly play in the pool this summer, maybe they should be sent to summer school.

Asian parenting has been stereotyped as making their children musical prodigies and high academic achievers. In an excerpt of her memoir, Amy 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 and follow the attitude of “academic achievement reflects successful parenting”. If children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.”

Western parenting in her memoir is described as parents worrying too much about their children’s self esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are. They will try not to make their children insecure in any way. Parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out. American parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true interests and supplying a nurturing, positive, supporting environment. They won’t push them over the edge and they support independence and let them make their own decisions to create their own complacent, happy life.

Constant practice, practice, practice is the key to success in Asian parenting. Parents drill their kids on thousands of practice tests and make sure they practice whatever they are learning for hours and hours until they succeed. The reason for this is Chinese parents tremendously care about their children so that’s why they are willing to sacrifice long tedious hours to prepare for a bright future for them. Once a child starts to excel at something, it builds confidence and makes it easier for parents to get their child to work harder. Inner confidence along with good working habits is the key to success and will be with them for the rest of their lives.

American parents take consideration of their kids’ self-esteem but sometimes it helps if they are pushed a little harder in order to succeed and that will build up a more confidence and a braver self-esteem. Asian parents do push their children but sometimes they push too far and that will lead to a bad relationship with their own kids in the future. In the end, Amy Chua is partially right; kids should have a push in order to succeed and live up to their ability but at the same time, they shouldn’t be pushed too much and let them create their own future.





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WritingSpasms said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm
My Filipino parents are like the perfect image of Asian Parenting. They really want me to do well. Personally I believe in a balance between Asian and Western Parenting, since both have benefits.
 
HopefulWolfThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm
My family is what you would call "Western" but honestly I think I've got more pressure on myself than most teens.
 
qwerty said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 11:40 am
Whatever Amy wrote was just plain talk - no words of wisdom - it got exposure because of the topic. What I would like is some real words of wisdom - are there still some rishi/munis roaming the jungles of himalyas - do I have to go there!! Alas...well back to reality listeing/reading about ordinary mortals like Chua and all.
 
ImagineBelieveHopeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm
I totally agree with Amy Chua because I'm Indian, and that's exactly how my mom is....you know, study, study, study. But since we've lived in the US for almost 16 years now, she has kind of become more Westernized, and just tells me to do my best, or not to worry. Anyway, really good article!
 
Cassandra C. replied...
Mar. 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm
thanks! I totally understand what you mean by becoming more Westernized =)
 
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