Saturday, January 15, 2011

A "Western" Response to the Superior Chinese Mother

Yesterday, I linked a Wall Street Journal article by Amy Chua on Chinese mothers. It was an excerpt from her new book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Ms. Chua said her children were never allowed to attend a sleepover, have a play date with a friend, play any instrument other than piano or violin, get anything less than a straight A. Apparently the article generated 5700 comments--it stirred quite a lot of emotion among parents.

Today, the Wall Street Journal printed a response by Ayalet Waldman, a Jewish mother of four who lives in California. She wrote about the virtues of letting kids quit, have sleepovers, and the value of letting them find their own way. You can read it by clicking here: In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom
Amy Chua, i.e. Tiger Mother, also responded to a few of the questions prompted by her article, which was very interesting. She sounded much less extreme in her responses than in the original article.

After reading both articles and the responses by Amy Chua in today's paper, it seems that an extreme presentation of Chinese parenting got a lot of attention--exactly what the WSJ was going for. I bet it helps sales of her new book as well. Regardless, both authors seem genuinely interested in being involved and loving parents. These articles have made for some fun conversations in our house--hope you have a chance to enjoy them as well.

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