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January 11, 2011

Comments

paige p

Who is anyone to suggest that others "have it wrong"? If one culture wants to raise children a certain way, that is their culture. Why do Americans feel so comfortable throwing stones? Every family dynamic is different. What has been overlooked may be the emotional support the chinese families have. I would argue that children who's parents aren't overseeing their child's development and are less involved in their progress are the ones who lose. These interviews argue for balance. My question would be do the parents lead balanced lives? If not, it's not likely that their child will either. The apple won't fall far from the tree. An emotionally unavailable and unbalanced parent will likely get the same in their child. Parents, take a deep look at yourself and know that how you live your life EVERY DAY is what your child sees. If you are happy, take care of yourself and talk to your child, your child feels that.

I don't give one flip whether my child gets into Harvard because what determines my child's success is not a 4 year experience at a college, but whether my child is empathic, happy and balanced, all of her life.

JoAnn "Joie" Melton

I saw an interview this morning on Today. The mother may have the best of intentions, but ..... I did not like her demeanor - emphasis on what appeared 'mean.'

Yet, I have seen the emphasis of parents from other lands who want their children to excel. I truly hope she hasn't broken the spirit of her children at the same time I wish some parents were even 20% as dedicated to their children's success. I'd be more comfortable with a little more warm fuzzy relationship and appreciation for her children's accomplishments, but that is not going to happen in this time frame. I've often wondered how other cultures deal with the issue of self-confidence and self-esteem rank when they are so dismissive of feelings in the goal of accomplishment. Thank you for having this discussion so I can learn from your view points.

Kim Tasso

Yes, I have read the arguments for both philosophies in parenting--more "permissive" and "child-driven" verses more parent-driven and "practice-focused". I know and asian family in my son's class that are demanding similar levels of excellence in many areas from their son but this boy is so annoying and so black and white I almost can't take him personnaly--the other children in the class are always annoyed by this child too as he's constantly correcting them and no social skills. They really are two different philosophies and parents have to decide what works for them. I think you can see why many asian children are tops in academics and discipline and this is disconcerting with the world being so global now. If asian and indian families are raising their children to be at a higher level of excellence in math and sciences than average American families, they will get the jobs. This is something that is also discussed in the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell--which is a great read.I used to hold a very child-driven/natural/more-permissive philosophy until I read Gladwell's book. I thought my son was just not very academic and I didn't push him in that way. I thought he wasn't all that naturally talented in sports and didn't push him there either. At the time he had a bit of low self esteem because he didn't think he was as good as his peers in these areas. Thank goodness my brother gave me a copy of Gladwell's book, because after reading it, I started to incorporate a much more "practice-based"/"parent-driven" philosophy and pushed my son to practice, practice practice until he could master the task (of course not to the level of the typical asian family as mentioned in this article)--we used a more balanced approach. Many times for my son it was very difficult for him than for other children to master what we wanted him to accomplish, in fact rarely would something come naturally. But, this is what we did--I hired tutors and private coaches and we worked--very hard for three years on areas of struggle and areas of strength. I encouraged any area he was interested in and pushed and brought him to fun events where those skills were being used--often with a friend (museums, sports events, etc.). The results are proving to work. My point is, I no longer believe in the philosophy that a child should only go in the direction of his natural talent--there are MANY things that just must be worked HARD at to master and the earlier a child learns these things, the better. The increase in self esteem when a child realizes they can do something difficult with an incredible amount of hard work and practice is amazing to see and very rewarding as a parent. A parent pushing can be a real aid in teaching a child how to stick with something--and, yes, listening to the whining is awful, but keep pushing and seeing results and eventually it's worth it. Sports and Academic alike can be used to teach these skills! Of course, playdates should also be allowed! Another great book on the topic is called: Raising Your Child to be a Champion by Wayne Bryon (father to twin tennis stars and musicians).

Dom

I think we should wait and see if her kids really achieve anything big academically once they are grown up:some issues might get in the way....Plenty of Chinese children do not have straight A's or do not even play an instrument... I do think-and know that kids underachieve if we let them believe that they can't do better-and that means taking away privileges when they don't do better,but no screaming is involved!

Gaby A.

What she doesn't say is that Asian countries have the highest rates of suicide. Depression comes from the gap between your expectations and your accomplishments. It seems this article gives light to one of the potential reasons for these high suicidal / depression related homicidal rates. Why do people want their kids to be successful? So they could be happy. People may be happy without so much anxiety and pressure. And when the parental figure is never very happy with your efforts (just satisfied) neither would be the child.

Angie

Never thought I was abused, but my mom was a mommy dearest type A control freak too. Got in trouble if I got a B, no social anything, no visiting friends, no friends over, no family. Nothing but piano, sewing, cooking. I could not even go to church, after my granny couldn't pick me up and take me anymore (I was about 6 or 7). It's sad kids are basically "property." You can torment them all you want, as long as you don't leave any very obvious visible marks, nobody will care enough to take action.

kim

The only issue I have is the title of the article "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” Who is to say one way of parenting is more superior to another? We are all mothers (and fathers) doing our best to raise our kids the best that we can. We all sacrifice for our children, we all want our children to succeed and we all want our children to be happy (even the Chinese mom). To say that one way of parenting is better (or superior) to others is a very naïve way of seeing things. And if that were truly the case than all CEO’s and business owners and doctors and lawyers and… (you get my point) would be Chinese.

Meta Mama

I am a Chinese mother too. My son is learning piano but that is his own choice and he is planning to learn guitar when he is 9 years old. He is in school Choir and he enjoys singing and performing with his fellows. For me, he doesn't have to be a musician in the future. I only want him to have fun and have some interests to enjoy. He does homework which is not just from school but also other further study including Chinese language, Math (his strength) AND he reads A LOT. He does all this is because this is his job as a learner. He learns and then he has the skills to use. He agrees with that. He has play dates. He goes traveling. He goes to all the birthday parties he is invited to. He helps with housework. He has plenty of time on playing video games (well....his father is a game developer so we have many games and game machines at home! :) AND he has lots of time to day dream (day dreaming leads to endless imagination.) My point of view is I don't want my son to grow up sadly. We always talk. Talk about enjoying life but also with responsibilities on your own business. Harvard is not the only destination that he should go to. He can go to Art School or Cooking School if he plans to. This world is full of adventures. I want him to do something that is from his heart deeply so he will do it with highly passion then that is the key to success. I tell him all the time that mommy doesn't care too much how many "A"s he got (I wasn't a straight A student). I care about the attitude. I have friends who are like Ms. Chua and also have friends who give their children unlimited freedom. Every family is unique while every child is unique too. Can you believe that even my own mother and mother-in-law would always want to suggest me how to raise my child? But I have my own way to do it. :)

Reverend Yvonne

I have twin 9 year olds in pressure cooker NYC. Both of my children are in good private UES schools and my daughter plays violin and clarinet and my son piano. I started them on the instruments when they were young but there has always been one rule of thumb. It should be FUN. School should not be something to stress out over, do your best and relax. Love learning. Play your instrument and have fun doing it. We never fight over homework or practice. Somehow when there is a melt down we find a way to turn it around into a game or take a day off practice, which rarely happens. And pay no attention to grades only self esteem. Yet oddly enough even when they are having a tough time in a subject they do not want to give up. I wonder about the merit of discipline without laughter and games. It seems to me success is and will be measured in my children about how they feel about themselves and their relationships to others. And the funny thing is whenever groaning over practice becomes too often I ask them if they would rather quit playing. There is always an alternative and they never want to quit. These are not child driven activities, I participate with them every step and while I make the decisions their input is not totally ignored. In babysteps they take more autonomy as they must when they reach adulthood. But they are being lead to learn to make good choices. Lessons I hope will give them tools to navigate the adult world. Discipline and enjoyment do not have to be mutually exclusive. They can go hand in hand, if a parent finds a way to make it so. And if they are not too invested in perfection but rather invest in the process of getting there. And laugh along the way.

Rashaun

I’m not one to criticize about how one raises their children, however, Ms Chua's ethics in how she raises her children is quite interesting...As a African American Mother of two teenagers in an urban community I can definitely identify with her reasons … I've seen children so heavily influenced by “ outsiders”, the media and music , peers and such and I think her defenses is commendable however some parts of me feels this child having no exposure/interaction with other children will result in a talented but introverted child with no social skills this can be catastrophic. This may be a little harsh… but initially, when I read this …I thought about the Virginia Tech student who happens to have had a similar upbringing. If any one remembers he went on a shooting rampage on the premises of the University injuring and killing multiple students. This kid had no social skills barely interacted with his peers or his professors … he just kept to himself
On another note we as Mothers do what we can to protect our children we also do what we know … And I wish this family all the best in there endeavors

HEEDblog

Chua's essay left me with more questions than feelings of outrage or support.

For instance..
Is she saying that if the parents of Black and Hispanic/Latino children used insults as a parenting method, the gaps between their children's math and reading scores and those of Whites and Asians would be lessened?

I also wonder what her views are on those children that watch TV, attend play dates, eventually attain multiple degrees and are gainfully employed.

http://he-ed.blogspot.com/

Niv

Ever since I read this article in WSJ I've been dying to discuss this with other moms to find out their perspective on parenting. Good to find this thread here. To me, Amy's approach was appalling.

I too grew up in a very academically oriented family; my parents stressed over my grades and could call a spade a spade. One line from the article that particularly hit home was "Chinese mothers can say to their daughters "Hey Fatty- lose some weight". I can actually recall dad saying that to me once, and it stuck on for life- I was fat as a kid, and I continually strive to keep my weight in control. Here in the western culture, a parent would never be so outright "rude" to their kids. Many of Amy Chua's arguments strike as valid to me like pushing your kids and overriding their preferences, and believing in their strength rather than their fragility.

But all said and done, Amy's approach is extreme, ruthless and brutal. It would not bother me if my kids did not make it to Harvard or play the piano. I'd be too proud if my kids excelled academically, and though somewhere deep in my heart Harvard does hold its highest esteem, I could care less if my kids did not study there. Studying at Harvard is not the end all be all, neither is a world full of grade A violinists.

I want my children to be happy. To enjoy simple pleasures of life, socialize, attend an occasional sleep over, enjoy extracurriculars and yes, even workout at the gym. (Amy Chua's don't do list: "not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama"!). Its a pity that Amy's daughters never enjoyed these. I'm keen to see another article from their perspective. O well, we would never know since "the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud."

Rita Gromov

I am not Asian. I'm Russian. I'm sure if you want your child to play the piano professionlally, it's not enough to practice one hour. You need at least 3-5 hour practice every day (of course not beginners). But if you want just fun for your child, 30-60 minutes is more than enough. Can children voluntarily play the piano three hours? NO. That means parents have to control and push them. It's not only about music, it's about everything. You have to work very hard if you want to be very successful. And you have to be an A student.

BSue

Watching Ms. Chua interviewed on the Today show this morning, I thought it was revealing that one of her formative experiences as a child herself was when she won second prize at school in an academic contest. She remembers her father sternly telling her: "Don't ever disgrace me like this again." Apparently for her father, it was more about HIM than his daughter, who received no praise or even acknowledgement at all for winning second place. It was either first place or nothing ... worse than nothing -- it was a disgrace!

Given that Ms. Chua commented that her father was right to react that way, it's not hard to see why she grew up to be so hard on her own kids. The key should be balance, not extreme restrictions and expectations nor extreme laxity and permissiveness.

Grace

Wow, I just have to say I'm wholly incapable of that kind of parenting, and I think a lot of the difference lies in how the parent herself was brought up. I was disciplined, but my dad taught self-reliance, and though my mom died when I was 10, I believe she did too. They taught me how to do things and were available when I asked for help, and they certainly made me do things I did not want to do. Academically and socially, though, they only provided guidance and direction. And I actually thought my dad was strict when I was growing up!
I am raising my children with an emphasis on self-reliance and thinking for themselves. We have discipline and emphasize education in this household. I tell my children my opinions about things and my expectations for them, and we talk about consequences of different actions. However, I try to never impose my thinking on them (other than impressing upon them the stupidity of certain actions). Who am I to say I am smarter or better in any way than my children? They are smart and beautiful just the way they are, and I have no need to impose my goals on them. The way I see it, it's my child's life, not mine, and my child has a right to live it her way and achieve her own dreams. While I can appreciate the ideals behind the style of parenting Ms. Chua describes, I have no need to gratify myself as a parent that way.

MV

I am surprised at the comments that Asian students have high rates of Suicide. I have never heard of one Asian person (Indian, Chinese, South Asian, etc,) in Suicide in my life in US. I moved to this country from India as a Master's student and now have a 9yr old. We are pushing our daughter to get better grades, Learn different things, She has multiple Play dates, Multiple friends, she does everything. She helps immensely with our younger daughter. We as parents are a little torn between two cultures the one we were brought up and the one our daughters are being raised/will live. There is a balance that every parent has to manange for their life. I do not think either parents are wrong.
As long as I am successful in making a living, raise a family, give children what I can, I feel I am complete. I probably will never meet any of the people that have commented on this blog. So should I worry about their comments if I don't like it? I want to know others opinions, take the best of it and get better at parenting, Give better life for my children knowing how others think.
I hope others see a positive thinking in my beliefs. Can we ever say that our parents did everything right? They did the best of their ability at the time of raising me/us and I am happy immensely for what they did. I love them for what they did and I hope that my children do/think of me the same way.

Linda Olander

I also would rather have my child be happy, well-adjusted and contribute to society than be at the top of the class. When she was in second grade, she represented her school in a spelling bee with many other schools. When a Chinese boy walked in to her room, we all knew that he would win. He did. My daughter came in second. When I spoke with the Chinese mother later, she stated that they did not have a television and that her son did homework and practiced the violin all night, every night. Enough said.

vivian

As a mother of a two-year old, a Harvard graduate, and a product of Chinese-American upbringing ala Ms. Chua's style, I can honestly say that I did not suffer any ultimate negative outcome from that parenting approach and my success in life undoubtedly had a lot to do with my parents' belief in strict attention to academic excellence and less emphasis on high school social interactions. It helps to focus children's attention away from social pressures created by the internet, media and the general societal promiscuity that is present in America and modern life and keeps them protected long enough to allow to reach adulthood safely when they can make more rational decisions for themselves. I think that American parenting suffers from the delusion that children are capable of making rational decisions in most aspects of life. This is impossible when you are dealing with a hormone-driven, immature being who has never had any true responsibility or demands placed on them. Laxity in parenting does not prepare children for the real world--it ultimately winds up letting them down. There is only one head cheerleader and one football captain in any high school, and no one usually hears about them ever again afterwards. To place as much emphasis on social interactions/playdates/sleepovers as Americans do merely takes more time away from academics for both parents and children, and increases the risk of teenage pregnancy, sexual molestation by strangers, and the like. It is hard to be a parent like Ms. Chua--it takes a lot of work. It is lot easier to have a bunch of kids over for a party than to spend hours going over homework and music practice. I think she is to be commended for her honesty and drive. If it is not the parenting skill you choose, so be it, but don't knock it.

Steve

I suspect a source of stress for my ex was in deciding whether to raise our children as she was raised (hang out and do whatever) or as I was raised (My best friend called his mom to tell her "I" got my acceptance letter from Swarthmore). I think it is more important to have a clear idea of what your (hopefully shared, if married) values are: children are quite able to adapt to a wide range of expectations, as long as they are consistently applied. However, personally, why not have high expectations?

Allyson

My Husband and I are both professionals. We are gearing our children to follow in our footsteps. I agree with her principles and courage given the permissive society children now find themselves in. The competition is stiff. Not every parent needs to agree with her system. If she finds it effective, that's what counts. In fact, for those of us who are strongly committed to our children's educational future we are exceedingly glad that the majority of parents are permissive rather than authoritative parents. To those of you who do not know the difference: Authoritative parents believe in developing a close and nurturing relationship with their children while also upholding and maintaining a reasonably high level of expectations and rules or guidelines. While it is the most difficult to accomplish, an authoritative parenting style is the healthiest and most well-balanced style in which to raise children. On the other hand, the majority of parents who have responded to this article are what is known as "Indulgent parents" (also referred to as "permissive" or "nondirective" parents) and are deemed to be more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation.
I wonder what type of parents Jared Loughner has?

Patty

I think the controversy about whether the "western" carrot or "chinese" stick misses the point of what she is really doing: if a parent is willing to invest hours and hours in practice with a kid, no matter what approach they use, there will be SOME result (usually improvement) AND even without progress, the underlying message that the kid learns ABSOLUTELY that the parent considers the kid worth the time is invaluable for developing self esteem.

I happen to also value more of an independent mindset and happiness so I would take the kids preferences more into account but kids are notoriously finicky - they don't know what they want. They have, however, their whole life to figure that out and only the few school years to develop math skills that will be with them forever or to learn an instrument when it is easiest.

I don't expect to follow the model of parenting she describes to a T and I think she underestimates how many parents get it totally wrong with the same approach BUT I will takeaway some good ideas, especially her personal time investment in her kids.

Amy

Loved it! The WSJ article rocks. She was right - some of us coddle our children too much and that can cause self esteem issues. Discipline and hard work pay off and self esteem rises.
But....I admit it. I'm a coddler - love and hugs and kisses to my daughter (14 months old) all day long. And I don't intend on changing much. The love, hugs and kisses will continue and they'll be balanced with discipline and hard work when the time comes (waiting 'til she's at least two). But I'm happy we live in a world where I can be the kind of parent I want. And if I'm looking for a virtuoso to play at my daughter's wedding in the very distant future, maybe I'll give Ms. Chua's kids a call.

Betsy

I read that article a few days ago - it really stuck with me. Did I feel the Chinese example was extreme - Yes. But could I at least appreciate parts of it? Absolutely. I LOVED the part where she was able to get her daughter to do something she thought she couldn't. What a great lesson. While the tactics she used were NOT ones that I would not have used or liked, I could appreciate the end result. I found myself glad I didn't have her as a parent, but I also can respect that it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

What did I take from this article? Well, for one thing, now and then when I am tired and want to just put on TV for my kid to give myself a break, I think twice. Do I really need to do this? Sometimes I muster up a bit more energy to sit down with her for a bit and practice tracing letters or something.

Let's try and remember that it takes all kinds for the world to work. It sounded like, in the Chinese culture, this is "normal". If that is the case, hen kids in that culture will relate to each other about this stuff, they won't feel "different" because their mom is strict, in fact, they'll feel different if their parent DIDN'T do those things.

So, I am trying to reserve too much judgement, and trying to see if there aren't a few ideas that I can alter to suit my style and incorporate them for the better into being an even better mom.

Ethans Mommy

I don't understand how some parents are quick to say they don't agree with parents who judge other parents and say whether their parenting techniques are wrong or right, but yet they do it themselves just in less intrusive ways. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but keeping in mind it may be hurtful to others is a good quality to have. I believe everyone has their own right to decide how they raise their little ones no right or wrong a long as it is not physically or emotionally harming their children then there should be no judgement. We were all raised very different than our piers growing up and I believe that as long as you keep in mind that how you raise your children affects who they become in life and you want them to be a good person to themselves and others than there is no wrong or right way. I know being bullied in schools in hurtful to others and those who bullied do it alot because of how they are raised and because of what they learn growing up.I try to teach my son who is only two to have a open mind and play nicely with others. Do what you feel will best help your child succeed and be a good person. As far as playdates go I think they are a great way to socialize with moms and for children as well to socialize and have an open mind as to getting to know others and not just wanting to be a part of the "inn" crowd as they get older. I believe socializing you kids is very important so they don't think there are only certain types of people in life you should or shouldn't talk to. This is why kids get bullied, thinking a certain way about someone you aren't known to hang around because you weren't socialized with different types of other makes you feel the need to push them away and only makes them feel horrible about who they are wich isn't fair. I just wish there were more playdate groups in the area where I live. I know there are many groups online but most have to be paid into and I don't believe in paying your way to make friendships or have your small ones meets friends. I'm not saying they are outrageous in price or that I can't afford them I just know that not everyone parent can and it isnt fair to those who want to join but don't have the money. I think that the rules as far as certain mom groups go are way to strict as well. I was at one time a member of one group in santa rosa and had RSVP to 2playdates in advance before the end date to RSVP and unexpectedly Could not attend due to my son needing emergency surgery on one occasion and being sick on the next, although I let them know I couldn't make it and why I was told that I could no longer be a part of the group because you gare required not miss two group dates in a row. And around here that seems to be the only group I have found. If anyone has any idea of other groups in sonoma county or has their own they would like to open up to newcomers I would love to hear from you. I am a stay-at home mom about to start a new job tomorrow and would like to start doing more activities, while I'm not working, with my son. He is my best friend in the whole world and means everything to me and I have been at home with him since he was born, working is going to be so hard and I'm going to miss him so much, and want to start doing some new fun things while at home or out and about so when I have to go to work he is either tired and napping and doesn't get upset when i have to go but instead remembers the fun things from the day and looks forward to the next day instead of dreading it due to me going to work. Any advice? Working will be both new for me since I became a mommy and my son as well. He is used to his daddy going to work but is so attached to mommy that he gets sad even when I go upstairs to shower. Im so worried about his dependency on me and having separation anxiety. Any advice is welcome and very appreciated! Thank you
Sweetishcutie@yahoo.com
Ethan's Mommy

Sefa's Mom

I was born in Malaysia and raised 'Asian' style. My parents who were both in the advertising and media industry were considered very 'Westernized' as I was allowed to attend many events with them and socialized with a lot more adults than children. I had a lot of cousins whom I saw frequently and I also spent a lot of time playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I excelled at sports and academically, a straight A student. I was very outspoken and mature for my age and I did not lack empathy, humility or maturity.

My parents were very strict in the sense that As were the only acceptable grade, there was no back talk, respect for your elders (not just relatives, EVERYONE), and if I wanted them to pay for an activity/after school program, I better work my butt off and succeed in it or they would not fund any other activity. We were fortunate for me to attend a private school, and I knew and appreciated how much effort my parents had to put in for me to go to that school (I often realized I was the 'poorest' kid in school). It did not bother me that I did not have the latest badminton racket or tennis racket or tennis shoes to play with, I played my heart out and made it into the school teams. My mother rewarded me with new equipment when she saw how hard I had worked and how serious I was about being successful at those sports.

When it came to my grades and exams, I remember the countless hours my Mummy would spend studying my text books herself and then quizzing me as part of my revision, this was in addition to her full-time job, then cooking dinner beforehand. I remember her saying how she had learnt a lot from reading my text books and while she couldn't always explain certain things to me, she sure helped drum a lot of facts into my head that I needed to learn to ace my exams.

From Asia, I moved to the UK (job related) and lived there for 10 years before moving to Chicago in 2006. I have to admit I was very surprised by some of the kids I saw then and that I still see now. Kids who make demands on their parents for the latest $50 t-shirt; 'I NEED that before school starts!' or 'You owe me an education and I want to go that out-of-state school' and that kid has the worse grades in the world. From my perspective, people here believe they are entitled to the American Dream. Being a transplanted Asian who is married to an American caucasian, I believe the American Dream is something you have to work for. It doesn't get handed to you. Same with having great kids. It takes work.

I encourage my 3 year old to have fun and she has sleepovers (with grandma and family friends with older kids) and she gets to watch TV (Sesame Street), but I also teach her accountability and responsibility through little age appropriate actions, such as showing her and letting her straighten out her clothes before putting them in the laundry basket, and delivering on consequences when she does behave appropriately. My parents didn't explain why I had to behave a certain way, but I like the 'Western' aspect of explaining and dialogue but I will pull the 'Asian' card when the discussion becomes back talk.

Kids are very eager to please and succeed, and I find that by pushing my daughter, she becomes so proud of herself when she achieves something she thought she couldn't just because of the encouragement and perseverance. Granted I sit with her and work with her till she gets it so that is definitely the authoritative parent side of me coming out.
I am happy to say that so far, my little girl knows when we mean business and when it is ok for us all to goof off. She will ask the minute she sees our facial expressions change, if she is being good or not and will adjust her behaviour accordingly and apologizes, to which we respond with praise and affection. She loves school, is very affectionate with all her friends and takes the time to get to know all the teachers and adults at school. I can see she has a bit of A type personality already and loves technology - can't blame her when both her parents are in IT.

I agree with many readers above, you do what is right for your family. Ms Chua's article is spot on in pointing out the differences between our cultures and that her experience has yielded good results. I do believe tho that more families than not will benefit from taking some her experiences and implementing them than not. I also firmly believe in letting kids learn failure and as a parent, we should tell them they have failed, so they understand what it means and what they have to do to become better. Most kids here are coddled when they are young to believe they are 'awesome' even if they got a D. Then they go to college and the harsh reality sets in that maybe they weren't that awesome after all. Sure, I agree that activities in general should be fun to encourage more participation, but it should not be only thing.

Practise makes perfect and with that comes pride when you achieve something you worked hard for, not just getting a medal for a sport even if you didn't do well. We should stop celebrating mediocrity and encourage our kids to strive for more. After all, isn't America supposed to be the best nation in the world?

PS: Please excuse typoes, have a cold :-(

TJ

Strict... maybe. One thing that seemingly gets overlooked is the comparative between ages. When comparing a "change in discipline" for a child already nine years old to a child who has had this discipline his or her entire upbringing, EXPECT a retaliatory response in one fashion or another. When a child is brought up (from the start) as expecting a given way of life, it's changes to that life which are cause for complaining. Would I apply those specific guidelines to my children... probably not, but I'm HARDLY the type of parent to allow his children to "have their way" to a point where they eventually turn into rebellious teens and potentially worse. If a child grows accustomed to getting their way... they grow into adults with that belief system and are in for a shock when the real world becomes daily life. A more strict diet (again, in my opinion) leans toward preparation... and if overly done, can lead toward a "boring" adulthood where everyone around them is seen as beneath them... weak even. A healthy level of both worlds is likely the solution, but I have yet to meet a "Professional Parent" who has all the answers, thus as many, make them up as I go - as needed.

Grand-Mommy

When my son was in the magnet program for gifted students in 6th grade, he had a Chinese friend. Alex D. was a very smart boy, who had tutors and music lessons every day. He was not allowed to come over and play until after 6th grade graduation. On that day, Alex spent an entire afternoon at our home. When it came time to leave, he told me, "This was the best day of my entire life".

Alex left in the middle of seventh grade, when his mother sent him to boarding school back east. We never heard from him again.

faye

Growing up in the Carribean, my parents were super strict. It was church school and church again. We did not have to be first all the time, but we were expected to do well. I now appreciate that and I impart that on my girls. However, I allow them to indulge in whatever they enjoy. They both like to sing and play the piano. I pay for the lessons and because of that I have no problem with them when it is time to study. They know that it is important to be successful.

Marci

I have four children ages 9 to 13. The children's educational experience has included homeschooling, private school and public. I am of the general opinion that American parents typically overindulge their kids. My parenting style seems to be a bit more strict than my friends styles, but in different ways. I am big on responsibility. I do not help with school projects, I only minimaly help with homework of any kind. I expect them to help out around the house (dishes, laundry, pet care, etc.) I like to create opportunities for them to assert independence. For example, spliting up the grocery list and making them go find the items themselves. Making them ask questions of clerks or cashiers. Setting up and scheduling time with their friends.
I think that dealing with the consequences of one's actions is the best sort of punishment, so I rarely "ground" them. However, that also means that I don't "bail them out". If they forget their viola at home I won't bring it to school for them, they have to take the zero that day. (that only happened once) I am also big on experiences and I greatly encourage social opportunities. I believe in striving for good grades, (they are all A honor roll) but I think that in life your ability to read people and get along well in work and social settings is just as important as brains, perhaps even more so. I want my kids to have "street smarts". I've known a few so called book smart braniacs and I've known a lot of barely graduating, party animal, social butterflies. Guess which ones went farther career wise.

Sheila

Thank you to everyone for commenting and sharing your perspectives. You’ve offered so much more to the topic for me to consider with my own boys. Most importantly, your comments have made me realize that in the end, we all just want our kids to be successful and happy.

If you’re looking to set up a playdate in Santa Rosa like Ethan’s mommy or just to meet moms in your area, be sure to check out our Care Groups: www.care.com/groups. You can join existing communities or start your own! It’s a great way to network and make connections in your community.

Felicia

Her parenting styles are harsh and I do not agree with most of them. However, I think that the most important and effective thing she did was removing TV from her child's life.

Maybe it's genetic, but my 3 year-old is off the charts intelligent. Her vocabulary and mode of speaking is beyond any other 3 year-old I've ever met and on par with most 5 or 6 year-olds. Until, the age of 2, she watched absolutely NO TV (as per the guidelines of the APA). She is allowed to watch videos now that I choose for entertainment and "downtime", but mainly we play and we read.

I don't watch any either as we haven't had ay cable for the last 3 years. I read. She sees this and values it. Children and parents could both benefit from reading more and tuning out the absolute garbage that invades our homes and minds. We will all be smarter.

Los Angeles Maid Service

In the end, it will still be my son's choice if he wants to learn an instrument. I will not force him. As mentioned (I forgot if its Sheila or Wendy), doing battle with my son is emotionally draining and I hate to see him cry. It feels like I have physically hurt him and it breaks my hurt into a million pieces.

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