”Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”
In our essay, we have looked at the differences between USA and Chine in how the two cultures raise their children. We based this study on an article (Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior) and a book (Battle Hymn of a Chinese Tigermother) written by a woman called Amy Chua. She is a writer and a law professor raised in America, but brought up with Chinese values and culture. Her texts created a lot of attention when they were published and a big debate caught fire. Chua became the target of large criticism.
The starting point in our essay was the fact that children is the centre of all our cultures. They are the ones that will carry on our heritage, the biological as well as the cultural.
When we then look at Chua and the opinions she expresses in her book she thinks that a child should be pushed to the very limit. This can for example mean that she forces them to practice the piano for several hours until the know it by heart, that they can’t meet up with friends or watch TV. She also pushes her children to be straight A students. She claims this is so that they will gain self-confidence and happiness. Along with these descriptions of the ”typical Chinese up-bringing” she expresses much criticism towards the American parents and their lazy attitude towards their children.
When we looked at the difference, we took into count the history of USA and China. For example, the west has an aristotelic way of mind while China in the east is more influenced by Confucianism. We have also used the taxonomy created by the Dutch professor Geert Hofstede. He is describing cultures by using five different dimensions: power distance, long-term orientation, individualism-collectivism, masculinity-femininity and uncertainty avoidance. Based on these five dimensions we have tried to interpret why the Americans reacted they way they did. For example we think that the different relationships to time is one explanation. The Chinese parents think in a more long-term way when they pass on knowledge for the future generations and that it is okay that the child isn’t happy right now. It will be in the future, when it’s successful. The Americans on the other hand wants their children to be happy right now, they have shorter perspective of time.
In the discussion we mainly look at why Amy Chuas opinions raised such a big debate. We think that one factor to this is the fear Americans feels towards getting outrun by China. It may then work as a defence to completely reject Chuas opinions. Even though the subject causes a lot ofarguing, maybe it’s only two different ways to reach the same goal: happy children.
// Emelie & Veronica
Amy Chua and her two daughters. (Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html )