Recently,I have read an article written on my local newspaper relating to this best-seller. This is a controversial book of an author called Amy Chua. In this book, she has written about how she has educated her children, and her method of bringing up children is deem to help her girls mature and be accepted by prestigious universities in the USA. The success of this Chinese mother has give rise to many controversies in parents in the USA. Many people have raised the question whether it is this kind of strict education that contribute to the rising power of Asian countries, most notably China. The book reflects not only the difference between the parenting method but also the cultural clash between the West and the East. In theThe appearance of this book coinciding with the increasingly powerful China compared with the USA is the main reason that made the USA’s educators worried about the future of their country. Is it appropriate to apply Amy’s method to parenting in the USA?
For those who haven’t known about the parenting method applied my Ms. Chua, I want to brief some striking points in her ways of teaching her children:
Herdaughters are not allowed to do those things:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
These principles somehow can help reflecting her method of educating children. From the viewpoints of the American, this seems to break the rights of the children. Asian mothers can punish their children if they are stubborn, or unwilling to obey parents’ guide. In the USA, the use of violent punishment to children will be criticized strongly and many parents have to go to the court due to hitting their children hard. But in Asia, this is a normal practice. If you do not obey your parents, it is undoubted that you will be reprimanded by your dad or your mom. Parents in the USA tend to let their children develop naturally. Children are allowed to play everything they want to play, learn everything they are willing to learn, provided that it is not unhealthy, whereas in the Asia,children are made to follow their parents’ willing. They are made to study hard, to pursue proper schooling, to enter famous university, get good jobs. Take the case of Amy Chua, she is the typical example of Chinese mothers, who believe that the academic achievement of children reflects the success of parents. I do not want to assess if her method is right or wrong. I also do not want to draw a comparison between the parenting methods between two cultures. Wandering around the fan page of Amy Chua on Facebook, it is not difficult to find out a large number of advocate for her. Many also regret that they did not have a tiger mom, otherwise they will be talent now. On a personal note, I believe that both methods have its own merits and dismerits. It is wrong to say that this one is superior to the other. Not to mention two cultures, parenting methods is different from houses to houses. Even the neighbor’s parenting methods can be contrast to yours.
Parenting methods in Vietnam, however, have a little bit different. When people read “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, they often refer to it as the parenting methods of both Asian mothers. Nonetheless, Vietnamese mothers have their own ways of educating their children. I want to tell you how I was brought up. The way of upbringing is the mixture of the strict discipline and the passionately maternal love. If we consider American and Chinese methods two points of a line, Vietnamese one is the middle point. In Vietnam, where academic success is still attached much importance, parents also want children to perform well at school to have a brighter future. They also desire their children to surpass the previous generation, having a better and more comfortable life. This desire, I believe, is common from the East to the West. The difference lies in the way people approach these success. If Amy Chua tries to force her children into studying in an aggressive way, my parents try to raise our awareness. Since I was a pupil of grade 1, my parents often remind me that no one can help me studying, no one can decide how your future will be. My future, promising or gloomy, is in my autonomy. The punishment is also used when I was lazy and not willing to do my homework. But that’s all. Hardly have I punished by my parents. If I get a bad mark, they just ask me to find out the mistake and try not to make this mistake again. They only punish me if I tell lie, try to hide the test with bad mark or do not learn hard. I was also given highest autonomy about my pastime. It does not mean that my parents let me do everything I like. They just play a role of the orienting people. In my childhood, I was encouraged to read appropriate books with my age. They do not forbid me to read comics but they tell me about the negative effect of comics in a soft way. Therefore, until now, I rarely read comics. I was free to play guitar, play chess at my free time, however, I was also reminded to spend a little time for these activities but concentrating on studying. My father does not compel me to study English well, do not force us into sitting on the desk, spending 4 hours/day learning new words or something like that. His method is different. He tries to tell us about the wonder of languages, his love for English and Russian, the study methods in the dinner or in informal talk between parents and children. This way is really efficient. My sister and I was fascinated with languages and we study with all our heart, study just because we feel inspired and we want to conquer this beautiful land.
During the time when I brushed up on the knowledge for the entrance exam to the university, though my parents know it is one of the most significant exams in my life, they do not put much pressure on me. They said that if I failed, it does not matter, I have to try to find other ways to reach the success in my life without a firm academic base. I know they expect a lot from me but they do not tell because they were afraid that too much pressure will cause counterproductive effects. When I enter into the university with high mar, they were really happy and they admitted that they really want me to enter into the university but they did not express this desire openly. I still feel it but I did not feel any significant pressure. Maybe it is the explanation for me to perform well in this exam. They attach much importance to our performance in academics but much more importance to the happiness of us. My parents often say that “There is a strong correlation between the happiness, the bright future and the academic success but there also exist the outliers. The importance here is you have to know how to deal with the real-life situation, and feel satisfied with life.”
There are a lot of distinguishing methods of bringing up children, and each of them has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. Given the children’s ability, parents should choose appropriate methods. To some extent, I agree with the methods of Amy Chua, it is the punishment that can help educating children. However, all the punishments have to be not too harsh. It is better to associate the methods of the West and the East in children rearing.
P/S: After writing, I remember that today June 28 is the day for family in Vietnam:D
Happy Family’s Day!