Friday, January 21

my scathing blog to Amy Chau

*disclaimer: there's (a bit) more crude language exercised here than usual so please take a moment to turn on your six-second censors*

I consecutively read Amy Chau's recent article regarding Chinese mothers with Lac Su's written response. If you haven't read either of these articles (neither ridiculously lengthy nor boring), now is a good time to take a few moments to do so. And if not now, do it at some point. Then read the blog below. Seriously, you owe yourself the opportunity to be thankful you aren't a "superior" Chinese parent.

Let me just dive right in.

Amy Chau blatantly calls Chinese parenting superior to that of "Western" parents by, among other things, stating that "[w]hat 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."

Ms. Chau, obviously you haven't ever met any "Western" children beyond stereotypes your own culture is squeamish about having thrust upon themselves. Nor have you, I can almost guarantee, ever taken a realistic look at your own children or those of your own "superior" culture. Why am I so certain? Because children, by nature, are curious, self-motivated, and industrious. Yes. Children by nature want to work - and most of them do so without prompting and "overriding" by their parents.

Ms. Chau, you point out that once a child excels then he/she gets "praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more."

Please, somebody tell me I'm not the only one who sees what's going on here?! Let me get this straight: the child doesn't get praised until he is perfect which can take extraordinary effort on the child's part to abandon any form of individuality and the worth found therein and once the child excels and is praised, then and only then confidence is built?! Yeah, no shit this "superior" parenting ultimately makes it easier for the parent - because up to this point the "superior" parent has squashed any self worth that may have existed and driven the child into a tenacious cycle of never being good enough.

"Rote repetition is underrated in America." Is that so? Have you ever been to a public school here in the United States?! That's exactly how the majority of public school students are taught. And it doesn't translate into "success" later in life because it's just that, rote. It's a cold, stoic, going through the motions form of memorizing. Yay, you are superior because you memorized instead of learned.

And, you're also ignorant. (In your own words, my calling you "ignorant", or even "stupid", wouldn't be an insult.) There are plenty of private as well as a number of public schools in the United States that have adopted successful models of teaching that do not emphasize rote repetition and still produce successful children. (Gasp you should!) And most of those successful schools adopt some form of the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori's method of education.

"Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best." Thank you for stereotyping and lump-summing us Westerners (yet again!) because as you obviously know we are all spineless parents who tip-toe around our children's feelings, CPS, and your little Chinese spies. (How's that for stereotyping?!) None of us ever expect our children's best to be straight As, prima ballerina, or first chair in band.

I digress though; you do have a valid point, Ms. Chau: "Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem." Yep, you got us! Personally, as a Western mother, I am deeply concerned about my child's self-esteem. Maybe that's because I realize that each human being isn't comprised only of a brain designed to memorize and regurgitate information but instead is made up of a whole being - mind, body, and soul. Maybe it's also because when it comes to my daughter I realize the damaging effects of a society that prides itself on devaluing women, creating cookie-cutter people, ostrascizing those who do not fit the cultural mold, and that places so little value on life that it feels the need to limit the reproduction of families to "one" child.

You see, there's a reason Western parents don't call their children "stupid, worthless or a disgrace" because their child brings home an A- or (gasp!) a B from school. Because we "inferior" parents recognize that it's not necessary to attack a child's character, demean or degrade them in order to have that child comply with getting a better grade. But your answer to the grade? Priceless. Or should I say Yenless. "If a Chinese child gets a B-which would never happen [riiiiiiiiiiiight]-there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion." (Bracketed content added.) Really? That's your healthy answer?! You tell 'em, Hitler.

Ms. Chau, you go on to state that "Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear..." Gee, ya think?! If, as a parent yourself, even you can't come up with a rational explanation for this, do you think maybe there isn't one?!

What's funny though, Ms. Chau, is that your husband Jed holds to the more Western philosophy that our children aren't permanently indebted to us parents. Jed once told you that "children don't choose their parents... They don't even choose to be born. It's parents who foist life on their kids, so it's the parents' responsibility to provide for them. Kids don't owe their parents anything." Good for you, Jed, for asserting your views. Oh, what I would give to have been a fly-on-top-of-a-big-fat-bowl-of-popcorn-in-the-room watching that conversation go down... 

Thank you, also, Ms. Chau, for pointing out that there have been studies that indicate Chinese parenting creates more successful children than that of Westerners. Well, Ms. Chau,  if success is a stoic, expressionless and repressed existence then congratufuckilations - you have succeeded. There's not a psychologist in the (Western) world who won't have a field day with your kids.


  1. Wow! after reading your article I actually do not feel the need of reading Ms Chau's . Really? did she write all that as part of better parenting? other than reading your blog post she should watch a movie from India - Three Idiots.

    Well expressed, Heather! I clearly see why you are outraged. I am too.

  2. Yes, Ms. Chau truly believes that the idioms of the Chinese culture are a better way to parent. Honestly, toward the end of her article, it's almost as if she back pedals and again feels the need to justify what she's done to her children.

    As for the movie, Three Idiots, I shall be netflixing that momentarily, thank you!

  3. This made me laugh. I taught 6th grade in Alhambra, California and the other cultures thrived on my affection that I was able to show them in class. While my son does get the top grades, he also gets the self esteem and love in the home. Lol. Just look at the biggest loser and Aida who gained weight because her family couldn't communicate.