Well, actually, the title of the article was ‘Why Chinese mothers are better’ and in it the author, Amy Chua, described her very rigorous and apparently very successful parenting style. My letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal begged to differ:
Amy Chua’s essay is provocative, as intended, and, as an American (Western) mother, I find it troubling, just as the author would expect me to.
The Chinese mother / Western mother dichotomy is a false one, I believe. Any successful parent balances rigor and reward. A traditional parent will not use only the first and a modern parent will not use only the second. It is convenient but unhelpful to perpetuate these stereotypes. I agree with Chua that many modern parents need to expect and demand more of their children. Perhaps, traditional parents need to encourage and reward their children somewhat more.
Equally important, society needs to give better and more consistent attention to parents and parenting. Using rigor and reward in appropriate measure, just as parents do with their children, parenting programs play a critical role in helping parents address issues of behavior, achievement and well-being in children and youth. Parenting programs are needed across the board, both as an ounce of prevention, for all parents at every stage of their children’s development, and as a pound of cure for parents who themselves face challenges or whose children are experiencing problems.
Agree / disagree? Please let me hear your comments!