Parenting is not an easy task – there is no book that can teach one to be a good parent; every family has to learn on its mistakes. Despite the fact that many parenting strategies have been created, it is still important to realize that each case of parent-child relationships is unique and, therefore, requires a specific approach.
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The issues raised in Chua’s article give a lot of food for thoughts. It is seemingly clear that Chinese children are much more motivated than the American ones. However, such motivation results in making the relationships between a parent and a child based on the authoritative leadership principle, which means that a child is considered to be inferior to the adult, and what the former wants may not come into conflict with what the parent or parents have planned for their kid.
On the one hand, the given issue is a result of a culture clash; the very fact that such a manner of child upbringing raises questions among American people is a clear-cut example of cultural differences, which Lareau (2002) was talking about, i.e., the “pattern of concerned cultivation” (Lareau, 2002, p. 766) that supposedly leads to enlightenment.
However, it seems that Crohn’s idea of positive stepmothering is more relatable to the topic, since the technique of Chinese mothers, in fact, proves positive and does not seem to have any tangible effects on their children’s future life and career, with their “warmth, control functions, attachment, perceived status” (Crohn, 2006, p. 130), which forms the connection between a child and a parent that Dreby spoke about and that helps a child feel the presence of his/her absent parent “even when physically absent” (Dreby, 2010, p. 52).
On the contrary, the latter is shaped rather positively with the help of the given type of parenting. Indeed, according to Chua, the effects of the strategy chosen by the Chinese parents are rather impressive: “The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A” (Chua, 2011).
However, as other researches explain, in most cases, this method of raising ambitious and successful children comes at a price: “It’s parents who foist life on their kids” (Chua, 2011). The principle of childrearing described by Chua seems to be the exact same concept introduced into the childrearing process in wealthy families and must be leading to the same tension both within a child and in the relationships between a child and his or her parents.
In other words, the example of Tiger Mom provided by Chua proves once again that such issues as race, culture, class and immigrant status affect parenting and childrearing practice immensely. While the personality of a parent or parents is crucial in shaping the childrearing strategy, the standards of childrearing dictated by the culture of a particular race, as well as the principles and set of moral values introduced in a particular class or social status, affect the process of parenting greatly.
Having their personalities shaped by the aforementioned factors, parents mould their children’s personalities according to the socially and culturally accepted pattern.
With that being said, the article clearly makes a strong statement about the issues of present-day parenting, at the same time suggesting the ways in which these issues can be addressed. Moreover, it is rather peculiar that the method of child rearing mentioned in the article is not portrayed as wrong or unacceptable – instead, the author honestly mentions the positive and the negative aspects of each.
The cases considered above show, however, that the most reasonable parenting technique is remaining within the acceptable boundaries and avoiding extremes.
Chua, A. (2011). Why Chinese mothers are superior. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754
Crohn, H. (2006). Five types of positive stepmothering. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 46, 1/2, pp. 119–134.
Dreby, J. (2010). Ofelia and German Cruz: Migrant time versus child time. In J.
Dreby (Ed.), Divided by borders: Mexican immigrants and their children (pp. 35–57). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
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Lareau, A. (2002). Invisible inequality: Social class and childrearing in Black families and white families. American Sociological Review, 67(5), 747–776.