How is Chinese parenting distinctive from American parenting? The book Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua might reply this question. Written in the first person, it tells of how Chua, the author, goes about raising her two daughters Sophia and Louisa, nicknamed Lulu. Believing strongly that her main duty as a guardian is to instill in her daughters the necessary discipline, skills, and knowledge for survival in a tough world, she sets up very strict rules for them growing up. She forbids them from attending sleep overs at friends’ homes, from participating in college plays and demands that they get nothing less that grade A in school. When the kids are still young, she chooses music instruments for them and takes it upon herself to ensure that they learn how to play them to the best of their abilities. However, her strict rules are the cause of increased antagonism between her and her daughters, especially Lulu who often attempts to break away from her mother’s overbearing grip. The book brings to the core the glaring differences between Chinese and Western parenting methods. While her methods may seem harsh and sometimes even a bit cruel to the Westerner, in her Chinese culture they are perfectly normal. While I believe that she could have used better methods, I believe that her motives were right, and thus agree with Chua’s parenting. And despite Sophia and Lulu’s protestations, they later realize that their mother did everything for their own good.
Although Chua achieves success in preparing her daughters for great achievements in the future, her parenting methods may be detrimental to their development. When they do not achieve what she expects of them, she uses harsh words to express her disappointment, often calling them stupid and worthless as is seen on page 51 and 52 of the book. She shouts and screams insults at them at times when she feels frustrated by their purportedly dismal performances. Often, she engages in shouting and screaming contests with her younger daughter Lulu over her violin lessons. While it is an undeniable fact that she has her daughters’ best interests at heart, her methods maybe more harmful in the long run than she anticipates. Shouting and screaming at children, insulting and demeaning them for unsatisfactory performance often affects their self-esteem negatively and affects their confidence in trying new things as they fear this would only elicit disapproval. Addressing children in a loving manner and encouraging them to make their best efforts even when they fail increases their confidence and reduces their chances of feeling like under-achievers when they face failures later in life. Perhaps a better way would be to engage the children in somber and candid conversations to understand the reasons for their dismal performances and attempt to come up with solutions for the challenges that they face.
The fact that she places great importance on her daughters’ academic performance is an effective parenting method as it shows that she has her daughters’ best interests at heart. She pushes them to achieve to the best of their potential, even though it might be argued that the goals she has set for them are too high. She is a committed parent, spending long hours with her daughters practicing on the piano for Sophia and the violin for Lulu. One day, when Lulu was practicing playing the “Little White Donkey, ” and she wanted to give up because she felt that she would never get it right, Chua spent the entire night helping her practice and ensured that she did not give up. Eventually, she played the tune perfectly and said it was easy. Lulu wanted to play the piece again and again, and she didn’t want to leave the violin after she overcome the obstacle. Chua’s encouragement and faith in Lulu’s ability with the violin helped her achieve her full potential and overcome a huddle from which she would have given up had it not been for her mother. Setting high standards for her children and standing firm in her insistence that they achieve them is an effective method as it pushes them to do their very best in order not to disappoint her. As an effect, they end up benefitting by bettering their skills and attaining good grades at school, all which are certain to prove immensely useful for them later in life. At the time when she stubbornly insisted that Lulu keeps practicing her violin throughout the night, holding that she would eventually get it right, perhaps Lulu felt that her mother was asking too much of her, or that her methods were extreme. However, her method worked effectively as she achieved her goal eventually. Lulu benefitted from the whole process the most as is shown by the elated exclamation that the tune that had so troubled her was indeed easy. The feeling of achievement served as a motivation and atoned for all the hours she had spent practicing under the strict supervision of her mother.
In conclusion, Children naturally have short attention spans and may easily give up on their attempts at activities that pose challenges to them. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children feel challenged and motivated at the same time by helping them try their best rather than give up in the face of the slightest challenge. Chua shows this by refusing to allow her daughter to give up and going over and above to ensure that she gets the tune right, even when this meant spending an entire night practicing with her. She also shows this by the way she insists that her children attain do not attain any grade lower than an A in school, pushing them to work hard in school to reach this target. My mother taught me these virtues in the years when I was growing as a kid. She would never allow me or my brothers to leave the house to play with our friends before we had done all our homework and she had reviewed it with us. Often, she would spend long hours with us during the night to help us prepare for tests and exams even when she had to wake up early the following day. Such commitment to one’s children’s goals is important in helping them dedicate their time and energy to achieve the goals they set for themselves later in life. It also sets a good example, showing them that it is never okay to quit on one’s goals and aspirations, despite the circumstance or difficulties that one faces.