"Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior"


Wall Street Journal: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.

We’re all upset about the American education system, but is declaring “Chinese Mothers” superior really the way to motivate people to spend more time working with their children on academics?

I agree that the ‘self-esteem’ culture might create poorly-motivated children, but the “Chinese Mothers” concept really freaks me out. I was personally very upset when my parents chastised me for lower-than-A grades, but I suppose I only got the disapproval component and not the spending time working together part.

Plus, I can’t think of anything more American that raising self-motivated, hard-working kids who can think for themselves.

Thoughts? (I want some perspective from those who are actually parents… I can Psych-major speculate all I want, but that’s obviously not the same).


I didn’t read it all. It was just a bit much, and was getting tired of her self-emulation by insulting me.
However, in some respects, she was correct. The discipline of rote and practice, practice, practice, is what used to rule the U.S.'s education system. It’s when we started to get away from it that children started to fail, and quickly learned that what they wanted was far more fun than what they needed.
But in the same token, while I was not what anyone would consider a liberal parent, our children were allowed to have FUN. They had sleep overs, watched t.v., and played sports. Rule was, if the grades go down, something curricular has to go. So yes, we valued education, but not with the ferocity of wanting to take over the world.
Oh…and I don’t know who this woman hangs around with, but WE most certainly were ‘allowed’ to teach our children respect. Makes we wonder about her choice of associates. And come to think of it, if she’s so busy writing articles about how great she is, where’d she find all that time to spend with her children?


Although as a parent you want to praise them it becomes meaningless when they do nothing to deserve it. This does not build self esteem if a parent does not temper their praise with a little commonsense and the motive of seeing their child can develop traits which will make them self suffice.

Where I worked at the big wigs decided that the individuals were to be praised for everything no matter what they did. Now the higher functioning individuals were bright enough to know when they were being snowed.

I remember a special Olympics bowling event where I had one refuse his prize because he was aware that everyone got a prize no matter their performance.


“Self Esteem” must come from personal accomplishment, praising every dumb thing that does not represent anything significant may give the illusion of “self esteem” for awhile but eventually those kids end up in the real world where you don’t get rewards for remembering to breathe.

All there “confidence” evaporates the moment they realize that what they thought was “self esteem” was fake and useless in real life. There is nothing more pathetic than someone in there 20’s who has not learned any lessons yet about how perseverance and struggle bring the greatest rewards in life.

These days, sports is about the only place left that teach kids these lessons.
Most of there parents don’t even understand these concepts from what I have seen.


She’s a little better about it in other interviews, and admits that her second daughter eventually rebelled and forced her to compromise. She also says that she sees hard work and discipline as American values, and that this style of parenting is very American-immigrant.

I think that a number of immigrant communities display devotion to American ideals (they decided[ to be American, so there must be something about this value system that leads them to want to raise their kids here.

I think that academics in college can stress the importance of hard work, but I care about those. All I did in sports was try to get out of all the hard work which appeared to have no tangible benefits for me (to be fair, I’m an asthmatic who couldn’t breathe through the type of drills they ran us through). But in order to get the most out of my college experience, I’ve learned an extremely valuable lesson that lines up with both self-esteem and working towards excellence: You get what you put in. Meaning that you get more from (most) experiences when you’re willing to put in a lot of time.

I wish that someone had taught me that sooner. Or at least told me to just try putting in the extra time outside of school, and watch the benefits accrue. Hard-work provides it’s own rewards, even when it feels torturous in itself.


JayAnt you ever heard of Arthurs Hall?


No, how is it relevant to this discussion? Objection to the mother concept?


No it is not relevant, Just that I saw this article on a different forum, and it had different conclusions.
Arthur’s Viking Forum • View topic - Why Chinese Moms are Superior


I can see how if you only read the article you could come to these conclusions. It’s really only in other interviews/media that she reveals that she eventually had doubts (it’s on the book cover). I think that the article exists mostly to stir up controversy and sell her book.

While I’m sure I’ll be a more permissive parent, I do agree with one of her core concepts: “Nothing is fun until you’re good at it.” While it’s not strictly true, children should be taught the joy of mastery, because it’s a beautiful, motivating thing. While “regimentation” sounds a bit harsh, structured environments can provide children the security they need to begin exploring the world and themselves without anxiety.

Also, excellence as an individual is not a part of what’s traditionally termed “collectivist” thinking, though a lack of expressed emotion (i.e. not constantly hugging, not displaying inappropriate emotions) is. In traditional Chinese thinking, bragging in ANY form is unacceptable (which is not the case anymore). Japan, often used as the model of a “collectivist” culture, produces a lot of creativity. And what eventually changes Chua’s mind is that her younger daughter, Lulu, does think for herself, and rebells against her authoritarian parenting.

I think the only reason it could be seen as ‘matriarchal’ is that this particular woman’s husband disagrees with her. She’s actually taking on a role traditionally marked for women, which is to say being ‘in the trenches’ of home life. In other interviews, she notes that her husband’s disagreement did a lot to balance out her authoritarian parenting.

I don’t understand how her daughters are being “feminized”, is the assertion that drone-like behavior makes one feminine? Because collectivist=drone=feminine?

I disagree with practically every conclusion this guy draws, except that Chua’s revulsion towards drama is kind of strange.


They believe that Women do not control themselves, instead other people control their actions. They hold that the “media” control the women, not themselves.


I don’t think men are any less controlled by the media than women are.



This is a non issue in that ALL mothers, BY instinct, human and in the animal kingdom, are good parents, it’s the society they live in that will eventually corrupt them. Mothers have always been the cornerstone of any family. Biblically, Mothers had the most important role into making the children into what their tribal demands needed. Fathers had very little to do with the initial raising of children and until the 'boys were to begin the tribal trade did the fathers begin to train and guide.
Whoever wrote that article was trying to drum up readership and monetary gain only.


Sadly, mothers are as subject to “the bell-curve” as anyone else. I can’t find the source on this, but I remember reading that in some mammals (rats) some mothers just don’t develop the normal neural pathways that encourage nurturing (some actually hurt their young). We’ve all certainly seen this in humans, regardless of culture. Disregarding questionable parenting, we’ve all seen parenting that is just bad. This makes sense in both biological and non-biological contexts.

Also, I’m pretty sure that all humans, by instinct, feel the urge to take care of small mammals (is this why men invented lolcats?). Surely men coming across an infant would be instinctively driven to protect it (in this case, it would take strong social strictures to prevent it from happening). Also, there’s evidence of a biological role for men in the lives of children (i.e. the daddy hormone, and new neurological pathways formed after interacting with a child). Again, this is subject to the bell curve.


Not that I know what lolcats are, but you’ll have to forgive me if I completely lost track of your point.


It’s more just a general response to the assertion that ‘ALL’ mothers are good mothers. They aren’t. And men can be good parents too.


I don’t agree with some her statements but I do agree that American children tend to be spoiled and have an entitlement mentality.


LOLCats.com - Funny Lolcat Pictures