A few days ago, I was reading Amy Chua's article on the WSJ about Asian parenting, I was surprised that something like this got published. But I suppose that's what it's meant to do: polarize. We feel strongly about how we were raised, but each family is different. I guess I can't say anything against the strict parenting style, as I've never been raised as such, but at the same time, I feel strongly against it. As if it threatens me, and how I was raised. Amy writes,
Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children's own desires and preferences. That's why Chinese daughters can't have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can't go to sleepaway camp. It's also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, "I got a part in the school play! I'm Villager Number Six. I'll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I'll also need a ride on weekends." God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.
Don't get me wrong: It's not that Chinese parents don't care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up anything for their children. It's just an entirely different parenting model.I also enjoyed reading Jean Hsu's response today.
First generation immigrants want the best for their children, as do all parents, but they really are not that qualified to judge what will lead to a successful and fulfilling life in the United States. Their narrow-minded formula for success (great grades, ivy league, medical school, high paying job) may work for some, but it alienates those who might find success elsewhere. Many highly successful and happy people have gotten to where they are by leaving a stable job to try to start their own company, pursuing a career in the performing arts, or majoring in something other than science, math or engineering, yet all these would be highly discouraged by most Asian parents. When I have children of my own, I hope I will be able to stress the importance of education while they are young, but allow them the freedom to make decisions and mistakes for themselves.