In her short article, Chua (2013) takes the readers down the controversial track of striving for perfection as the key slogan for child rearing. Despite the fact that their son or daughter evolving into personalities with wide range of opportunities, numerous skills and even greater assets is a dream of every parent, very few people actually know how to bring children up so that they could become successful. As the latest researches and statistical data say, the rates of literacy and academic performance among the U.S. children are dropping fast.
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Their Chinese counterparts, however, seem to be doing much better in terms of academic achievements and striving for achieving perfection, which makes wonder whether the methods of Chinese upbringing is better than the American one. Despite the fact that there are a number of peculiar features of the Chinese upbringing to consider, though, the idea of pushing a child to his/her limits does not seem reasonable either.
On the surface, Chua offers a detailed account of why the Chinese children are much better at achieving good academic results and building a better career. However, when taking a closer look at Chua’s argument, one will be able to spot certain similarities between the issues that Chua raises in her piece of writing and the concepts introduced by Cherlin (2013).
However, a somewhat closer reading of the article written by Chua begs the question whether the author truly tried to reflect on the difference between the methods of child upbringing in a traditional Chinese and a traditional American family, or whether the article also touched upon certain stereotypes concerning the Asian families or the link between strict upbringing rules and success.
As a matter of fact, the very image of a typical “soccer mom” pushing her child to success does not seem very flattering, either. The given issue raises the question whether parents should exercise strict control over their children’s lives, and at what age the control can possibly be made a little bit less tight.
As Cherlin explains, in some respect, parents’ attempt to make their children perfect at whatever they take up as an activity can be viewed through a lens that is, in fact, a bit different from the innocent desire for one’s child to be the leader (Cherlin, 2013a). Instead, Cherlin argues, parents might project their own unaccomplished dreams and desires, therefore, ousting the child’s personality and replacing it with their idea of what their child must be like.
Another peculiar issue that Chua raises in her story is the conflicts between parents and children, the things that family members way to each other when they cannot control their temper and the way in which the words that, probably, should not have been spoken, affect children afterwards. As Chua recalls, once, during a conflict, her father told her that he was ashamed of her; however, the given phrase not only made Chua feel less important, but also evoke the need for self-improvement.
Applying the given scenario to the American setting, one has to admit that in most cases, such an interjection would have ultimately led to an even deeper conflict. However, it could also be argued that the given principle could be used in child rearing in order to help parents gain their authority in their children’s eyes (Blaisure et al., 2012).
Blaisure, K. R. et al. (2012). Defining features of military families. In K. R. Blaisure et al. (Eds.), Military families in the 21st century. New York, NY: Routledge.
Cherlin, A. J. (2013). Public and private families: An introduction (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Cherlin, A. J. (2013a). Public and private families: A reader (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Chua, A. (2011, Jan 8). Why Chinese mothers are superior. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754