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Article 1: Why Chinese Mother are Superior Article 2: Alone Togetherwriting requirement:reading 2 article ” Why Chinese Mother are superior ” and “Alone Toghter” answer the question of ““Why do people fear failure so much? how does failing at something impact our self-esteem? What can we learn form from failure, whether in school, at work, in sports, or in relationships ? use the experiences of people in ” alone together” and “why Chinese mother are superior ” to write an essay exploring the benefits of failure?” new essay only need five paragraph, 1introduction, 3 body paragraphs [ each body paragraph need 2 quotes—one from “Consider the Lobster”, another from “Ethic and New Genetic”,] and 1 conclusion, like:1paragraph: introduction (you can summary 2 essay, and answer the reading question)–do not need quote2paragraph: body paragraph, use your viewpoint to support your thesis—-need 2 quotes one from “Why Chinese Mother are superior”, another from “Alone Together”3paragraph: body paragraph, use your viewpoint to support your thesis—–need 2 quotes one from “Why Chinese Mother are superior”, another from “Alone Together”4paragraph: body paragraph, use your viewpoint to support your thesis——need 2 quotes one from “Why Chinese Mother are superior”, another from “Alone Together”5 conclusion,important : do not use other articles and authors appear in this paper
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Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
By AMY CHUA
Erin Patrice O’Brien
The Wall Street Journal
January 8, 2011
A
lot of people wonder how Chinese parents
raise such stereotypically successful kids.
They wonder what these parents do to produce so
many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s
like inside the family, and whether they could do it
too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here
are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa,
were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a play date
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
Amy Chua with her daughters, Louisa and Sophia, at
their home in New Haven, Conn.
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except
gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I
know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and
Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I
know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost
always born in the West, who are not Chinese
mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the
term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents
come in all varieties.
All the same, even when Western parents think
they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to
being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western
friends who consider themselves strict make their
children practice their instruments 30 minutes every
day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the
first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three
that get tough.
Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing
marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In
one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48
Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the
Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that
“parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.”
By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt
the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children
can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” Other
studies indicate that compared to Western parents,
Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as
long every day drilling academic activities with
their children. By contrast, Western kids are more
likely to participate in sports teams.
What Chinese parents understand is that nothing
is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at any-
Chua
Chinese Mothers Are Superior
thing you have to work, and children on their own
never want to work, which is why it is crucial to
override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will
resist; things are always hardest at the beginning,
which is where Western parents tend to give up. But
if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a
virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at
something – whether it’s math, piano, pitching or
ballet – he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once
not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for
the parent to get the child to work even more.
appointed about how their kids turned out.
I’ve thought long and hard about how Chinese
parents can get away with what they do. I think
there are three big differences between the Chinese
and Western parental mind-sets.
First, I’ve noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem.
They worry about how their children will feel if
they fail at something, and they constantly try to
reassure their children about how good they are
notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test
or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are
concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese
parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility,
and as a result they behave very differently.
Chinese parents can get away with things that
Western parents can’t. Once when I was young maybe more than once – when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called
me “garbage” in our native Hokkien dialect. It
worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply
ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage
my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly
how highly he thought of me. I didn’t actually think
I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.
For example, if a child comes home with an Aminus on a test, a Western parent will most likely
praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in
horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes
home with a B on the test, some Western parents
will still praise the child. Other Western parents
will sit their child down and express disapproval,
but they will be careful not to make their child feel
inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their
child “stupid,” “worthless” or “a disgrace.” Privately, the Western parents may worry that their
child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that there is something wrong with the curriculum and possibly the whole school. If the
child’s grades do not improve, they may eventually
schedule a meeting with the school principal to
challenge the way the subject is being taught or to
call into question the teacher’s credentials.
As an adult, I once did the same thing to Sophia,
calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had done this at a dinner party, I was
immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy
got so upset she broke down in tears and had to
leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests.
The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that
would seem unimaginable – even legally actionable – to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to
their daughters, “Hey fatty – lose some weight.” By
contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the
issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever
mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in
therapy for eating disorders and negative selfimage. (I also once heard a Western father toast his
adult daughter by calling her “beautiful and incredibly competent.” She later told me that made her feel
like garbage.)
If a Chinese child gets a B – which would never
happen – here would first be a screaming, hairtearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother
would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice
tests and work through them with her child for as
long as it takes to get the grade up to an A.
Chinese parents demand perfect grades because
they believe that their child can get them. If their
child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes
it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough.
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. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is
plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in
the privacy of the home.)
Chinese parents can order their kids to get
straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids
to try their best. Chinese parents can say, “You’re
lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you.”
By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with
their own conflicted feelings about achievement,
and try to persuade themselves that they’re not dis-
Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids
2
Chua
Chinese Mothers Are Superior
owe them everything. The reason for this is a little
unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have
sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And
it’s true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches,
putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring,
training, interrogating and spying on their kids.)
Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children
must spend their lives repaying their parents by
obeying them and making them proud.
By contrast, I don’t think most Westerners have
the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents. My husband, Jed, actually
has the opposite view. “Children don’t choose their
parents,” he once said to me. “They don’t even
choose to be born. It’s parents who foist life on their
kids, so it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide for
them. Kids don’t owe their parents anything. Their
duty will be to their own kids.” This strikes me as a
terrible deal for the Western parent.
From Ms. Chua’s album: ‘Mean me with Lulu in hotel
room… with score taped to TV!’
“Get back to the piano now,” I ordered.
“You can’t make me.”
“Oh yes, I can.”
Third, 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
sleep away 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.
Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She
punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back
together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it
could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled
Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it
to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t
have “The Little White Donkey” perfect by the next
day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to
the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I
threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for
two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it
wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself
into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she
couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.
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.
Here’s a story in favor of coercion, Chinese-style.
Lulu was about 7, still playing two instruments, and
working on a piano piece called “The Little White
Donkey” by the French composer Jacques Ibert.
The piece is really cute – you can just imagine a little donkey ambling along a country road with its
master – but it’s also incredibly difficult for young
players because the two hands have to keep schizophrenically different rhythms.
Jed took me aside. He told me to stop insulting
Lulu – which I wasn’t even doing, I was just motivating her – and that he didn’t think threatening
Lulu was helpful. Also, he said, maybe Lulu really
just couldn’t do the technique – perhaps she didn’t
have the coordination yet – had I considered that
possibility?
“You just don’t believe in her,” I accused.
Lulu couldn’t do it. We worked on it nonstop for a
week, drilling each of her hands separately, over
and over. But whenever we tried putting the hands
together, one always morphed into the other, and
everything fell apart. Finally, the day before her
lesson, Lulu announced in exasperation that she was
giving up and stomped off.
“That’s ridiculous,” Jed said scornfully. “Of
course I do.”
“Sophia could play the piece when she was this age.”
“But Lulu and Sophia are different people,” Jed
pointed out.
3
Chua
Chinese Mothers Are Superior
parents worry a lot about their children’s selfesteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you
can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them
give up. On the flip side, there’s nothing better for
building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t.
There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven
people indifferent to their kids’ true interests. For
their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they
care more about their children and are willing to
sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who
seem perfectly content to let their children turn out
badly. I think it’s a misunderstanding on both sides.
All decent parents want to do what’s best for their
children. The Chinese just have a totally different
idea of how to do that.
Chua family. Sophia playing at Carnegie Hall in
2007.
Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true
passions, supporting their choices, and providing
positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best
way to protect their children is by preparing them
for the future, letting them see what they’re capable
of, and arming them with skills, work habits and
inner confidence that no one can ever take away.
“Oh no, not this,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Everyone is special in their special own way,” I
mimicked sarcastically. “Even losers are special in
their own special way. Well don’t worry, you don’t
have to lift a finger. I’m willing to put in as long as
it takes, and I’m happy to be the one hated. And you
can be the one they adore because you make them
pancakes and take them to Yankees games.”
I rolled up my sleeves and went back to Lulu. I
used every weapon and tactic I could think of. We
worked right through dinner into the night, and I
wouldn’t let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to
go to the bathroom. The house became a war zone,
and I lost my voice yelling, but still there seemed to
be only negative progress, and even I began to have
doubts.
Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School
This essay is excerpted from “Battle Hymn of the
Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, Penguin Press, 2011.
———————————
Follow Up Essay
In China, Not All
Practice Tough Love
Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands suddenly came together – her right and left hands each
doing their own imperturbable thing – just like that.
by Victoria Ruan
Lulu realized it the same time I did. I held my
breath. She tried it tentatively again. Then she
played it more confidently and faster, and still the
rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming.
Some parents want their children to be creative,
independent and less obsessed with test scores
P
arenting advice in China has long stressed
discipline and authority. Those lessons are
reinforced in best-selling books like “Harvard Girl
Liu Yiting,” a how-to manual published in 2000 by
the parents of a student who won a coveted spot at
the Ivy League school. Among the characterbuilding exercises to which they subjected their
daughter was having her hold ice cubes in her
hands for long stretches.
“Mommy, look – it’s easy!” After that, she wanted
to play the piece over and over and wouldn’t leave
the piano. That night, she came to sleep in my bed,
and we snuggled and hugged, cracking each other
up. When she performed “The Little White Donkey” at a recital a few weeks later, parents came up
to me and said, “What a perfect piece for Lulu—it’s
so spunky and so her.”
Even Jed gave me credit for that one. Western
4
Chua
Chinese Mothers Are Superior
In recent years, however, books that encourage
parents to nurture their children’s independence and
confidence, as opposed to focusing exclusively on
high academic achievement, have grown increasingly popular. They reflect a quiet shift in the parenting style of middle-class families, especially in
China’s growing cities.
listed on Dangdang.com, China’s largest online
book retailer, are written by authors from outside of
mainland China, including South Korea, the U.S.,
Taiwan, Japan, Germany and the U.K. American
imports on the list include John Gray’s “Children
Are From Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for
Raising Cooperative, Confident and Compassionate
Children,” and “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen
& Listen So Kids Will Talk,” by Adele Faber and
Elaine Mazlish.
The current best-selling parenting book, “A Good
Mom Is Better Than a Good Teacher,” by former
Beijing public school teacher Yin Jianli, has sold
more than two million copies since it was published
in January 2009. Ms. Yin advocates listening to
kids and developing their potential without forcing
them to obey authority.
Another best seller, “One Must Not Fail in the
Enterprise of Being a Father,” is co-written by Alex
Xu, an American businessman who was born in
China’s countryside and later received his master’s
degree in the U.S., and his daughter Ashley Xu,
who was born and educated in the U.S. Mr. Xu,
who runs a hotel chain in China and heads several
other multinational companies, urges parents to
ease the burden of their children’s studies and to
choose supplementary after-school activities based
on their children’s interests rather than on their own
ambitions for them.
Chinese parents rarely question the decisions of
teachers, but Ms. Yin sometimes offered to do
homework for her daughter. In one case, a teacher
had asked the girl to copy the same words over a
dozen times one night as punishment for failing to
memorize them. Ms. Yin believes that such tasks
hurt children’s interest in studying.
Another best-seller, “Catching Children’s Sensitive Periods” by Sun Ruixue, follows a similar approach. Ms. Sun writes that she “aims to help more
parents understand their kids and let every kid grow
up healthily in love and freedom.” It is a sequel to
her 2000 book “Love and Freedom,” which focused
on the idea of discovering a child’s “true nature,” as
developed by the Italian physician and education
reformer Maria Montessori.
Mr. Xu encouraged his daughter Ashley to be “as
confident as a foreign kid,” resisting the traditional
Chinese emphasis on quiet deference to authority.
Children shouldn’t be arrogant, he says, but they
also shouldn’t be “overly modest.”
———————————
Follow Up Essay
Are US Parents Too Soft?
In “My Kid Is a Medium-Ranking Student,” author Fang Gang stresses that children don’t necessarily need the highest test scores to enjoy a happy
and successful life. “Our society, to some extent,
remains a society full of ranking-related prejudice,”
he writes. But among the students with the top test
scores, he asks, “how many have kept independent
thinking, creativity and their unique characteristics?”
By John J. Edwards III and Erin Patrice O’Brien
H
ow do we motivate our children to succeed
in school, and in life? It’s a fundamental
question that animates every parent’s juggle, and
there are as many answers as there are families.
Amy Chua, author of the new book “Battle Hymn
of the Tiger Mother,” shares her own forceful, unyielding answer in an excerpt published in Saturday’s Review section.
Many readers of these books—parents in their
30s and 40s—were born during the Cultural Revolution that took place in China from 1966 to 1976.
After the turmoil of that difficult period, traditional
thinking about education persisted. At schools,
teachers continued to evaluate students on the basis
of test scores and how closely they followed instructions. As China has gradually opened up to the
world, however, Western ideas about education
have spread, and many parents have started to question the traditional approach.
Near the beginning, Ms. Chua writes, “Here are
some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa,
were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a …
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