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Is Amy Chua the best mom on Earth?

(11 Posts)
statesmom Sun 09-Feb-14 17:35:58

It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.

Any individual, from any background, can have what we call this Triple Package of traits. But research shows that some groups are instilling them more frequently than others, and that they are enjoying greater success.

It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.

Ironically, each element of the Triple Package violates a core tenet of contemporary American thinking.

Numerous studies, including in-depth field work conducted by the Harvard sociologist Vivian S. Louie, reveal Chinese immigrant parents frequently imposing exorbitant academic expectations on their children (“Why only a 99?”), making them feel that “family honor” depends on their success.

By contrast, white American parents have been found to be more focused on building children’s social skills and self-esteem. There’s an ocean of difference between “You’re amazing. Mommy and Daddy never want you to worry about a thing” and “If you don’t do well at school, you’ll let down the family and end up a bum on the streets.” In a study of thousands of high school students, Asian-American students reported the lowest self-esteem of any racial group, even as they racked up the highest grades.

Disappearing blue-collar jobs and greater returns to increasingly competitive higher education give a tremendous edge to groups that disproportionately produce individuals driven, especially at a young age, to excel and to sacrifice present satisfactions for long-term gains.

The way to develop this package of qualities — not that it’s easy, or that everyone would want to — is through grit. It requires turning the ability to work hard, to persevere and to overcome adversity into a source of personal superiority. This kind of superiority complex isn’t ethnically or religiously exclusive. It’s the pride a person takes in his own strength of will.

AvengingGerbil Sun 09-Feb-14 17:37:50

Does she send her children to Westminster? If not, clearly not.

lljkk Sun 09-Feb-14 17:45:00

I don't like people with superiority complexes: no, I tell a lie. I love to spend time with them so I can take the mick out of their ridiculousness at my leisure.

I thought Amy Chua had repeatedly said that her famous book was a giant pisstake of her misguided parenting practices, a perfect example of what not to do, but maybe I'm just another American who can't understand irony.

JakeBullet Sun 09-Feb-14 17:45:07

Lots of research has shown that impulse control is very key.....not easy if a child has ADHD or Autism where impulse control can be disordered. It takes a great deal of work to support those children in order for them to make a success of life and achieve. Often there is little in the way of support for families with such children but it is improving.

Personally I don't think Amy Chua has the totally winning formula, a lot depends upon the child's personality as well. For example she would have struggled if her children had not been as able as they evidently are.....if she had my child for example...autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD her approach would not have gained the same results. Although she would probably have a child who would achieve more than a child who had no input at all.

JakeBullet Sun 09-Feb-14 17:45:55

I liked Amy Chua when she came on here for that web chat...she was totally unlike the persona the media had painted.

statesmom Sun 09-Feb-14 20:10:47

Her parenting style clearly results in happy, healthy and successful children.

The new book sounds great in that it combines her key insights as a parent with sociological research.

Some groups perform better than others, and people always wonder why. She has something to say on the matter, and I'm going to read it!

JakeBullet Sun 09-Feb-14 20:14:20

Keep going Statesmom, this is your second "controversial" thread isn't it? hmm

sittingbythepoolwithenzo Sun 09-Feb-14 20:19:20

Ooh, lovely. Settling down to watch. smile

ATacticalNameChange Sun 09-Feb-14 20:23:04

Ah, this week's essay is on cod psychology of parenting, is it ? What mark did you get for last week's one on elite schooling?

cory Mon 10-Feb-14 00:12:01

This is what Amy Chua herself had to say about her Tiger Mum book:
�This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.�


�my actual book is not a how-to guide; it's a memoir, the story of our family's journey in two cultures, and my own eventual transformation as a mother. Much of the book is about my decision to retreat from the strict �Chinese� approach, after my younger daughter rebelled at thirteen.�

Her book showed quite clearly that her parenting style had not been an unqualified success: one daughter did thrive, the other not so much. I read the book as quite ironic, sending herself and her insecurities up as much as anything else.

Besides, the world doesn't just need top performers, high earners, directors of multi-million companies. It also needs people to do the work. I for one will not be ashamed if my children are among the latter, as long as they do do their work conscientiously and well.

The solo violinist who is such a cherished figure in the Asian success story would be lost without his or her orchestra. Seems rather poor manners to me to look down on that orchestra as losers.

JakeBullet Mon 10-Feb-14 08:53:56

Exactly Cory, I was really impressed with her when she came here for the web chat. She didn't seem to take herself too seriously and acknowledged that she had got things wrong at times and had had to adjust from that parenting style into a more relaxed approach.

We can all have set and preconceived ideas but it's about being flexible enough to change them if we have to which is important. I think Amy Chua showed that she wasn't afraid to do that.

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