Traditional Chinese Parenting: Why Children Succeed? Chinese American students are doing extremely well, not just in their academics but also in their chosen co-curricular activities (music, painting, etc.). They get the highest SAT scores, particularly in math and many of them end up in elite universities in the US. Many people are interested in knowing how these children make it seem so easy to achieve this kind of excellence. While some believe that this is something innate among Asian children, others would say it is all about parenting.
What is Traditional Chinese Parenting?
Amy Chua, a Yale professor who authored the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother claims that it is the parenting style that heavily influences these Asian students to excel academically. Chinese mothers, with their parenting style that consists of imposing strict rules over their children and unyielding support and warmth raise children that are academically successful. This parenting style, also known as tiger parenting caused a great amount of stir among Western parents, claiming that this parenting method actually causes more harm than good to the children.
Is Amy Chua’s claim correct, though? Based on her own experience, it appears that tiger parenting must have worked for her children. Her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu both ended up in the legal field—a Yale law school graduate and a law professor at Harvard University. But does this really guarantee highly achieving children?
What does the research say?
Chinese moms, in particular, are known to be spending time pushing their children to study, practice, and achieve. They like to control a lot of things about their children’s activities and life choices. This led people to wonder if this is even good for the well-being of the children. Here are some of the research findings that contradict Amy Chua’s claims:
- Some children experience lower academic performance.
- While some children excel academically, they have poorer well-being and at high risk for emotional problems.
- Years of research also prove that when Chinese parents change their tactics from psychologically controlling to positive parenting, their children’s academic performance significantly improves.
- Independent thinking skills and creativity is not usually developed in children because parents decide on which skills they should focus and spend time on.
While Amy Chua achieved her parenting goals through her daughter’s achievements, many were not as lucky.
So why are Asian children successful?
To be fair, there is some evidence that tiger parenting effectively produces academically successful children. The level of controversy that traditional Chinese parenting acquired is extremely high that it warranted many researches on how it affects the children in different aspects. Western parents couldn’t say many positive things about this parenting style, but it clearly, they are missing these findings:
- While Chinese parenting is strict and a bit harsh, these parents maintain their special connection with their children. They do not fail to show their warm and supporting side, thus Chinese-American children feel more connected compared to children who are raised in Western authoritarian families.
- Chinese parents believe that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with constant effort. For them, effort is the key to success and not innate ability. Hence their constant push on their children to be at their best.
Clearly, there is no magic when it comes to Asian achievers. Most of them are not naturally talented, but they achieve great things because they are trained to work hard and persevere.
Does tiger parenting achieve parenting goals?
Every culture also has a different set of parenting goals and Chinese parenting is no different. Chinese parents want the best for their children—they want their children to have a good life in the future and so they keep on pushing to always perform at their best. It may be strict, and for others, a bit harsh, but it is safe to say that it actually works for Asian children.
What are your thoughts about this, mommies? Does Asian parenting work for you?