A Debate Rages Over Education and Parenting
Amy Chua is a professor of law at the Yale University. Author of many books, her newest if titled, "Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mom." In it she gives a scathing criticism of American moms, their rearing practices and their attitudes towards children's the education of their children. In her book she boldly states that Chinese moms are superior to American moms.
Dr. Chua is married and a mother of two daughters who are now around 18 to 19 years old. Based on the premise that American moms are too permissive, she describes how she was strict in the way she raised her children and insisted they strive for the best. They were denied television and video games, had to practice for hours on their piano and were not allowed to have sleep-overs. They were required to study hard for school and complete all of their homework.
The book has received harsh criticism in the United States and sparked a controversy in China. In the United States,Dr. Chua has been accused of being a cruel mother and has even received death threats for her criticism of American moms. In China, many moms have been interviewed and asserted that they are not strict, do not raise their children in the old Chinese traditional style and want their children an educational system that is flexible and does not rely on rote memorization. Chinese educators seem to agree, preferring Western styles of education so that children can learn to think for themselves and be creative and problem solving thinkers.
On the other hand, Dr. Chua's daughter states that they are happy about the way they were raised. They assert that mom did insist on performance and was strict, but that home life was happy. In an article published in the New York Post, the older daughter reports her belief that it is important to push yourself hard in body and mind. As an example, she describes how, when working hard on the piano and the music comes alive under your fingers, its a life changing event.
What are your opinions about this? Was Dr. Chua too strict? As parents, adults and teenagers, what were your learning experiences at home and in school? are we too permissive in the United States and Western Europe?
This is an important discussion because this debate rager her in the United States where concerned parents, teachers and leaders worry about our children and why they do not seem to academic performance in science and math has slipped compared to other nations.
Your comments are strongly anticipated. Please respond.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD