Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior by Amy Chua

A few parenting styles have been identified by psychologists. First, there is the Authoritative type, where parents are responsive to their children’s wishes and interests while also demand high standards from them in return. A stricter style of parenting is the Authoritarian type, where parents expect a lot from their children while disregarding their children’s own wants and wishes. A parenting style in which children assume greater power over their parents is the Permissive style. In this style, children get what they want and get away with most mischief. It is generally believed that the Authoritative parenting style is likely to produce emotionally balanced and well-disciplined children, as it banks on co-operation as opposed to skewered power relations between the two parties.

In the case of Amy Chua’s personal story (which is representative of Chinese Americans in general), her two daughters were brought up to excel in both academics and arts. And she was able to achieve this by imposing strict controls over her daughters’ personal, family and social lives. For example, both Sophia and Louisa are seldom allowed to indulge in extracurricular activities, get any grade other than an A, and be able to master musical instruments at a young age. Behind this grand ambition for her children, there goes a lot of hard work from all involved. And it is due to this kind of strictly regimented, industrious and highly ambitious life-stlye imposed on her children that they were able to achieve so much success in such a short time. This is generally true of all Chinese immigrant families and their children. The parents are of the firm conviction that they are the best judges of what is good for their children and resolutely act to attain those goals. In my case, my parents were not as strict as Ms. Chua is. I would classify their style as Authoritative, which is milder in terms of control, while also expecting reasonable standards from me. I would say that my parents did not fare badly in raising me. While I cannot claim to always get straight A’s or have mastered musical instruments at a young age, I don’t see how my childhood experience is any less nourishing than what Chinese American kids have. Maybe, there are other parameters for measuring healthy parenting than grades and accolades.