I was interviewed for this yahoo.com article posted today about the opinion of one “Chinese mother” (her label) on the difference between Western parenting and Chinese parenting. How self esteem is really cultivated is certainly in question.
“Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches,” Chua wrote in her recent Wall Street Journal article. “Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently…. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish, and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it.”
What do you think?
I think it’s important to note that according to recent studies, Asian-Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest suicide rates of all ages in that age group. They have the highest rates of depression as well. “Model minority” and the intense pressures to achieve are often cited as factors of the suicides.
While we all have a lot to learn from one another—perhaps Western parents allow their children to quit too easily and may not push hard enough and Chinese parents (as defined by the writer) push too hard and use too many radical methods to ensure achievement—we know that self esteem, sense of self, and individuality develop throughout childhood.
How should success be defined within families? How do we know how hard we must push?
“If you look at the suicide and depression statistics of Asian-Americans, I think they contradict her assumption that this kind of verbal abuse has no effect,” says Dr. Robyn Silverman, a child-development expert and professional speaker. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Asian American women, ages 15-24. Asian American women, ages 15-24 and over 65, have the highest female suicide rates across all racial/ethnic groups…and family pressures are often cited as factors.” Read more