Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chinese Mothers: article by Amy Chua

This article has been going around the internet - it's in praise of a Chinese Mother's way of raising kids, which fits my experience pretty well; apparently the book itself is much more nuanced.

There are also some very good comments on this thread on Quora (and this other testimony of an east-west mix that seems to have worked well).

I'm sympathetic to Amy Chua's approach, but it also has some downsides: it doesn't emphasize social skills (which are more important both for personal development and in the professional world) and creativity and initiative (which are useful, but may be overvalued compared to hard work); it can give rise to psychological problems. Also, it's possible to work long hours at something because it's interesting, not because someone is forcing you.

But still, I can see the appeal of the hardcore approach - the Western/Liberal way seems to produce a lot of "smart but lazy" kids, it may be possible to do better than that, and I do recognize that "yes but we're creative" might be a comforting lie.

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