Genes have 50% influence over a child's development, peers 40%-50%, parents the rest.
Harris's work is strongly disputed, yes. But Chua's article seems to strangely confirm it.
By micromanaging her children's social interactions in a number of different ways, she wrests back a significant measure of influence back from their potential peers. I told my friend to note Chua's list of things she never lets her kids do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
Notice these are all activities that would potentially expand the influence of her kids' peers and undermine her totalitarian regime.
Chua probably believes that its her strictness and strong principles that are leading her children to excel. And these have their role, no doubt. But I would propose, following Harris, it is her oppressive control of their social lives which is the much stronger factor.
An interesting extension of her social experiment will be when it's time for her kids to go to college (the photo accompanying the article indicated they haven't quite got there yet.) Sure, they'll probably go to an Ivy League school, maybe even Yale where their mother is a professor, so it won't be complete culture shock.
Nevertheless: do her kids find peers who sustain their carefully disciplined social lives? Does mom continue to try to control their lives at a distance? Do they thrive with additional freedom? Or do they crack under it?
*Edited for formatting and spelling.
I love the article. This is why we fight. I am your Chinese parent and call you "stupid" when I want to show you that I believe you can do better. When you tell me to "do whatever makes me happy," I feel you are being irresponsible because I can't control myself!
I guess we fail at being each other's parents. :)
Reading that WSJ article made me angry, because it's obvious that's what she's trying to do. She wants something from her daughter (probably doesn't even herself know what), is abusing her until she gets it, and cutting her daughter off from any outside support so she'll put up with it.
She said that she gives praise and affection only as a reward for getting good grades. Of course that works; the motivation to do anything to get love from your parents is incredible.
I replied, "have you ever seen pictures of the smiling performers in a North Korea propaganda play?" Of course they are smiling.
1) They don't know anything else, so when they do things that bring them positive reinforcement, they show happiness (most people prefer to be happy than sad, so they work for those goals)
2) If they showed unhappiness, it would probably be considered a bad attitude and pushed into a feedback loop of negative reinforcement, wanting to stay out of that loop can make many people smile...habitually
Evidence: There are dozens of videos on youtube showing North Korean children playing virtuoso Guitar or Xylophone or whatever smiling their fool heads off. And there's not really a way for anybody to claim they have a fantastic, fulfilled and successful life.
It's especially terrible when parents do it, because children are naturally, genetically predisposed to try to seek approval from their parents. If they can't get it, or if it's contingent on something as arbitrary and pointless as playing a piano, it will destroy them for life.
I'm not a parent, and after my childhood I didn't think I'd ever want to be, but reading that article gave me new hope for myself: if anyone tried to do to my hypothetical children what the author is doing to hers, I would kill them. Instantly and brutally. That's got to be some kind of a qualification.
To reply to your last statement: Some of the families that we know continue to discipline their children during college. In the case that they only have a single child, that means the family picks up and moves to the college town of choice. I would be curious to know how these kids fare in the workplace after college.
On the other hand, I have seen other families who have treated their children with strictness (where the parents were themselves teachers/professors), have their kids rebel against them in college. Their personalities did a complete 180 as they were suddenly relieved of the harsh treatment, which often landed them into trouble.
I am one of those kids who was pushed into piano at age 4. I'm not going to lie - I hated playing for maybe the first 3 or 4 years. My dad would sit with me and force me to practice over and over again. But one day, something clicked, and to this day I have a greater appreciation of music than any of my peers, and I also have a love of music that can only come from myself. I didn't need my dad to force me to practice - I wanted to.
I think that my parents eventually switched tactics during my childhood (for better or for worse) after they were convinced that I would choose a path for myself that wasn't detrimental. I'm thankful for that - I find that I have pursued a lot more hobbies on my own and experienced things that didn't fit the asian mentality.
One wonders if you get any social development done at all before you significantly interact with a peer group using that formula. Here's a simple example: language. Pretty much everyone learns the basics of language from their parents before they toddle off to anything representing a peer group. Genes don't give you language. Is there a gene for French? What about English with a Mancunian accent? Apparently the ability to talk and what that conveys is somewhere between 0-10% of your development. Not to mention dozens of traits that are formed from the people you interact with daily for a couple of decades.
This range of numbers is simply the result of someone who has a hobby horse and has plucked figures out of the air to reinforce it.
The ability to talk is obviously a significant trait. But it is not an extraordinary one. Everybody uses language in some form (a subject in which Pinker is strongly versed.) What language you speak is decidedly less significant and something most parents don't get to choose. I'd be surprised if the differential impact among parents on this point was even 1%. Most kids don't end up speaking like their parents. They end up speaking like their peers.
Dropping a kid on her head or locking her in a closet for her teenage years (with or without a violin) are obvious ways a parent could have a more extraordinary impact on her child's development, but, happily, they are not very typical.
Harris and Pinker's point is that parents have a pretty perfunctory role in a child's development (feed, protect, provide the rudiments of cognitive development) and much less influence than most people generally suppose (probably, most of all, parents that think they are having an impact). What influence they do have is regularly mixed up with genetic characteristics that the child has inherited.
Chua's argument seems to reinforce the point: to move the needle requires draconian measures.
Besides, saying "yeah, we have parents, but we all end up the same regardless" is a total cop-out when you turn around and say "yeah, we have genes, but they count for a wild fluctuation of 50% - far more important in the development than any other factor". Which is odd. We all have eyes. Arms. Legs. Lungs. Run, walk, cry, think, breathe, eat, excrete, suffer cold and hot. If you're trying to paint this theoretical 100% influence total as "that which makes us individual from each other", then it's farcical to say "parents don't count because we all end up with the basics" but somehow genes get special treatment. The fact that some of us have red hair and some don't doesn't count for 50% of our individuality.
If such minor differences between people really counted for 50% of our differentiation, then there'd be far more homogeneity in personality for people of average height, average build, and average attractiveness. Those numbers are simply plucked from the air.
If her kids enter college with that mindset completely internalized, then I'd say odds are they'll be less likely to get distracted by the low-priority frivolities their peers may.
The excerpt "On Children":
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I was chatting with a friend who is studying education for her PhD about the article. We were unimpressed by Chua's approach and think it's quite too extreme.
There is tremendous value in learning and discipline, and my observation of American schools makes me think that American schools are pretty weaksauce in the discipline and focus department. I don't think anyone out there denies that.
To pick at a particular example of Chua - music. I am better-suited than some others to look at this, since I myself - and my sister - spent time learning music as children and into our college years.
Mrs Chua! Your kids do well in violin and piano. And only violin and piano. Why violin and piano? Is the trumpet - a fine instrument! - beneath them? Or the viola, an underappreciated sibling to the violin? Perhaps it was simply too blue-collar to consider such an instrument as the guitar and its fine heritage in baroque European works. Or perhaps your children's true ability would have been in the drums. But, no, alas. It was the high-brow, well-respected violin and piano you chose for them. How simple it is to say, "ah, these are the respected instruments, the instruments bringing good face to us". Mrs. Chua, you have deeply restricted your children's musical activities. You really should not have done that. There is no call to regulate and legislate play like that. You should have let them explore their own mind, their own heart. They are Human beings too, and their perspective should be taken into account for their play. If they sought after being a professional musician, then there would have been time for focus, and much of it. Focus is the hallmark of a professional! But play is something else.
Thank you! I consider it the great mistake of Western music that the exquisitely-toned viola lost out to the squeaky fiddle. The Russians got it right: they call the violin skripka, which is exactly how it sounds, halfway between screeching and scraping. I actually have trouble listening to orchestral music because of this. That high-pitched squeaking gets in the way. It's as if the leading wind instrument had been the piccolo.
Fully agree about barbaric parenting practices as well. :)
Personally, I think it is a good idea to have kids learn piano for at least a couple of reasons. First, I think the visual layout of a piano can help attach a physical understanding to the concept of intervals and chords (specifically the distance between notes, and the clustering of notes in specific patterns to form chords). For me personally, I think that was a benefit, even though I play piano very little, and not very well. Secondly, I don't recall ever meeting an adult who took lessons as a child for any length of time (and then quit) who as an adult does not wish they had continued. Now surely there will be at least 7 people on HN who will now speak up, inform me that they hated lessons as a child, happily quit when they were able and never regretted it for a second. But unless my memory is failing me, that must mean we've never met (or at least we've never discussed piano lessons), and thus my statement still stands :-D To that I will add, that even with a number of "I quit and I'm glad" entries, I still think the majority of the adults in question wish they hadn't quit.
Oh, and a third reason to play piano: they make nice weighted, touch-sensitive keybords now that do a pretty decent job of mimicking the feel of a real piano (at least close enough for me), and you can move them from room to room and house to house by yourself. (You won't have to get 3 to 5 of your soon to be ex-best friends to help you). We sold our old upright piano about 3 moves ago, and I've been celebrating the sale ever since :-D
Piano and violin are commonly played in isolation! This supports the Chinese parenting style in several ways:
• You don't have to practice with other musicians. Sure, a dedicated trumpeter spends a lot of time playing scales by himself, but to actually perform, you typically need to be in a band, orchestra, quartet or whatever. This means practicing as a group, and introduces opportunities for social interaction which might undermine parental control.
• Soloists don't have to share their glory. From what I can see, the Chinese drive to push their children to succeed has a lot to do with the way a successful child reflects on the parent. Shared
success doesn't help the parent compete with other parents.
• It allows the parent to control the material. An awful lot of music is fundamentally rebellious, and the last thing a Chinese parent wants is their child learning jazz or rock or reggae and thinking about what it means.
I fact, I have to wonder if the point of pushing music so hard is to soak up the child's spare time, with an activity that leaves no time for a social life.
Essentially, they are seen as the most 'refined' instruments to learn and play.
The piano is chosen as you need to learn both treble and bass clef to play, the violin because they are portable and light enough for very young children to hold.
* You learn most when you actually want to learn, so forcing kids into extracurricular activities can but often doesn't lead to greatness.
* It's very, very easy to neglect any unhappiness that would've followed from being forced to play an instrument, because all that unhappiness is in the past. It feels like a free lunch, but it really isn't.
While this aggressive approach to parenting can be made to sound right on a certain dispassionate level, to some people it just feels intensely wrong in a way that's hard to explain. Why is that?
What happens is that children raised to heavily optimize "Esteem" have a hard time switching gears into "Self-actualization". It's no surprise that the "Chinese mother" disallows her child from starring in the school play. That would be a means of self-expression; it would throw a monkey wrench in the whole works.
I've found many times in life that in order to self-actualize further, I've had to give up things that others praised. I think that in quitting Google and joining a startup (despite her parents' likely disapproval), the author has taken a big step towards self-actualization.
As someone who presumably subscribes to the hierarchy, would you agree that you seem fairly certain that this is how it works? And, if so, can you say why?
At minimum, I'd say that it's not obvious to me that the order specified by the hierarchy is really in evidence. For example, I believe I've witnessed a fair number of people I'd say were self-actualized and esteemed who are fairly short on the friendship/family/sexual-intimacy front.
1. Presumably you don't have to satisfy everything in each level to be considered satisfying that level; otherwise if your entire family dies in a plane crash, you can never achieve MH3 again, and if you never got MH5 before that, you're permanently fucked.
2. If you get to MH4, but then your town gets hit by a neutron bomb, killing your wife, family, and friends, you get your MH3 knocked out, but your MH1, MH2, and MH4 are all still intact (MH4 because you telecommute most of the time, so your career is intact). Are you immediately eligible for MH5, or do you have to regenerate your MH3 first?
3. Interesting corner case: Say you get to MH3 by virtue of being raised in a rich American family. At age 18, you fly somewhere to visit a college by yourself, and your entire city gets blown away by a neutron bomb. You now have no friends or family, but life insurance on your family pays off handsomely, so you are at MH2. You decide to become a soulless driven businessman, and you do fine; you get promoted, everybody respects your competence, you respect other people's competence, etc, but you have no friends and no companionship. It would appear that you have reached MH4, but you never got there while you had MH3; does this count as MH4? Or do you deny the possibility of this scenario? (I made it up, so that's perfectly valid.)
(These are not leading questions; I'm curious as to how the Maslow viewpoint deals with corner cases.)
Both my wife and I are Chinese. We have two lovely children. They are like free range chickens in our house and in the school. We showed them how to use Google, Wikipedia, Webster, etc. so that they can look for knowledge they are interested by themselves. They had their own gmail accounts when they were four years old. My older child had Twitter account when he was six, before my wife ever heard of Twitter. :)
Because we believe love, trust, and confidence are most important for them to live a good life. The utmost goal of our education is for them to be independently thinkers, to work hard, to be creative, to have sympathy, to do right things for this society.
And I have confidence to say there are many Chinese parents holding the same belief as we do.
Chua is trying to drum up interest for her new book on the same topic which goes on sale today. Her publisher, Penguin Books, is owned by Pearson PLC. Rupert Murdoch and News Corp (which owns the WSJ) has plenty of history with Pearson -- owning a significant stake in the company in the 80's, buying HarperCollins from Pearson in the 90's, competing with Pearson's Financial Times lately. I don't know if there is any Murdoch ownership in Pearson now, or any publishing agreements between the two companies, but I doubt the WSJ article was published based on editorial reasons alone.
Naked appeals to racism are out of fashion. Attributing differences among ethnic groups to “culture” provides one with plausible deniability. As a further bonus, Chua’s op-ed provides anecdata for people who want to beat the drums of “if you are poor it’s your own fault for not trying hard enough”.
I did not choose the title of the WSJ excerpt, and I don't believe that there is only one good way of raising children. The actual book is more nuanced, and much of it is about my decision to retreat from the "strict Chinese immigrant" model. -Amy Chua
She may never know "why" the depression happened (as if there needs to be a reason) but unfortunately she probably has a pretty good idea of why her sister didn't turn to family for help.
There's a logic to it all though, in China for example, there isn't really any reward to be a big risk taker, and the downsides can be huge (social isolation, imprisonment, worse). Success then is to follow directions, do what you are told, and do it with supreme competence.
This is often discussed in terms of the traditional Confucian Academies, and how dedicated studies could lead a peasant into a life of government service and success and pride for his family. But one has to look at what a classical Confucian education entails, literacy for sure -- but it was basically a monumental task of rote memorization.
Unfortunately, Chinese parents who try to replicate this on their American born kids are doomed because they haven't quite gotten the message that those things aren't as valued here.
That is not to say that in grad school situations, finding an idea / area of study leading to a PhD is easy, but those with a background based in rote have struggled more in my experience.
As an immigrant from a caribbean island I see where she is coming from almost perfectly. Immigrants to the US aren't, in general, ditch diggers and gardeners. It requires a clean record, education, and motivation. Then when you arrive in the US the state isn't required to give you anything. From the moment you land, you and your family are basically on your own to find housing and work, though they do have local outreach programs to help in this. This survivorship mode carries on even when you are successful and especially when you have kids. My mom had few words for me, "STUDY!" and "What did you learn today?". "I love you", was reserved for birthdays and Christmas. Playing was reserved for weekends and summer breaks.
The one thing she did impart to me was motivation. At some point, when work demanded more from her, I had to be completely self-sufficient (or as much as a 10 year old could be). I was looking after my brother and sisters, studying, and running the household by myself (notice I haven't mentioned my father...long story). I enrolled in music courses, summer study courses, and enrolled at a magnet school. My mother stopped pushing me to excel and I started doing it on my own.
Now, I've moved to another country and started a family. And that same immigrant psychology of sink or swim has manifested in me. My son is only 3 but I'm pushing him to excel academically. I've said some of the same words to him that Chua has told her daughters (minus the verbal abuse). And I think at some point he will also be self sufficient, no angry mother or father leaning over his should to make sure he does his work or chores.
At the same time, the relationship I have with our mother is vastly different than what my brother and sisters have with her. I speak to her like a soldier speaks to an officer. They speak to her like a child to speaks to a mother. I'm really jealous that they have this type of relationship, and they are jealous that I'm the golden son.
18% of Harvard students are Asian, so yeah, he (probably) would. And, that's with a long-standing policy of "ethnic cleansing" in Asian matriculation.
But, to answer your question, 23% of total applicants are Asian-American, and 18% of total accepted are Asian-American. So, yeah, little Johnny Violin is likely getting into Harvard.
PS, yes, my math was totally mucked up. Thanks for pointing that out :D It should be around 8% acceptance, which is actually less than the acceptance rate overall. Hmmm... so I guess they are rejecting them in droves.
Imagine 100 people apply, 50 of which are Asian. 5 people get in, 1 of which is Asian. 20% of the total accepted are Asian, but the acceptance rate among Asians is 2% and 8% for other races.
I wasn't expecting this argument, but it reminds me a lot of how the RECRUIT company has managed to commoditize the workforce in Japan. By unifying applications and highlighting only certain traits, they've created a system where applicants all try to maximize only those specific traits (grades, entrance exam scores, TOEFL scores, etc.). On the other hand, companies mostly only see those traits, so they'll throw out an application if anything slightly negative shows up, whether it's that you've ever quit a job, or that your handwritten resume had less-than-perfect penmanship.
Optimizing for a small set of traits probably actually works well to a degree in the U.S. specifically because not everyone is optimizing for those same traits.
All this drilling and tests may sound crazy, but I do think it teaches an important value that is missing in the west's education: discipline
My wife is a teacher. She taught kids in the US (California) and here in China. One difference is that in the US a huge amount of her preparation time is spent on making lessons interesting to students, otherwise they disconnect. In China she is more focused on the lesson's subject matter, rather than tweaking the lesson for entertainment / attention value.
True, Chinese education does not value creativity or self-expression like in the west (and Chinese students are aware of that). But the lack of discipline is not the way to go IMO.
Jean Hsu's post is wonderful, by the way.
I came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe and went to a U.S. college. The introductory science textbooks were all guilty of this. The biology textbooks especially were simply unbearable to me. What makes learning material interesting to an American kid is not necessarily going to make it interesting to someone outside of the American culture. Also, some smarter kids are simply bored by the lame attempts of textbook publishers to add "pizzas" to make the material appear "interesting." Smarter kids just want content, in the most concise form possible, so that it would not take a lot of time to read and understand it.
The thing that struck me most about American education: kids carrying around huge heavy backpacks with huge heavy glossy textbooks in them (those books would have cost a month's salary from where I was originally from) that were full of either cartoon-like drawings in poorly chosen colors or "stories" in colored boxes that all had very little to do with actual content and talked down to me as if I were mentally challenged. Oh, and those textbooks were published like every year or so in a new edition, so that you could not resell once you bought one and used it for the course. I was extremely happy when I got to graduate-level courses because it meant no more of those retarded textbooks.
"The problem here is: the author of the article is trying to do academics, to gain knowledge, to build a career. And my cartoons and stories have patronized him, belittled him, by treating him as if he wasn’t a real professional. This is a terrible breach of conduct. He has accolades innumerable. He has done no small deed. His peers are all gathered around him, wishing him the best and swelling with nothing but respect and esteem for him. NOW WHAT IS THIS CARTOON BOOK DOING HERE??"
On a more serious note, it sounds like you were just above the level of material that the textbooks were trying to teach, or maybe the format just didn't work for you. But why shouldn't learning be fun?
It's like Calvin and Hobbes comic vs Microsoft Bob -- sad, really.
Basically the lesson is that if you don't know your audience (also when your audience consists of the entire young population of a country as diverse as the U.S., which is the case with textbooks), do not try to pull off cool and fun, because many people's idea of cool and fun is very different from yours. And if you must try to be cool/fun, hire some people who actually know how to be cool/fun in the first place.
This rings true in my experience. I don't think my parents understood the difference between substantive (and personal) success and societal success. Actually, for me the pervasive and insistent message was that my passions do not matter and are probably wrong and bad.
Their narrow-minded formula for success (great grades, ivy league, medical school, high paying job) may work for some, but it alienates those who might find success elsewhere.
I was one of these kids. At middle age I am still dealing with the emotional scars and just starting to find my true place in the world.
If you want to make a more fair comparison you would need to look at a variety of factors to get a overall picture.
Would it be fair for an Asian to look at the USA and pick something like school shootings ( or drug use, or criminality, or teen pregnancy - which ever stat makes the USA look worse) to attack the entire American style of parenting? Obviously it wouldn't be.
I am not sure why you cite her example. Is it "see - if you push too hard they will run off and become porn stars!!!" ?
Or - is this the case:
Here is someone who had the native intelligence and creativity and entrepreneurial wherewithal to take a basically crappy, exploitive situation and shape it to some extent.
Not to say it is a utopian existence but she did this before there was a culture industry that produces Jenna Jameson (sp?) type of success with all of the open merchandising and acceptance.
The 'Chinese Mom' (in this case German and Japanese - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Carrera) quite possible helped in this case. And according to the wikipedia entry she herself is raising her kids in a 'conservative' manner.
The most valid insight of the article was that some things (ie - violin, number theory, LISP, organic chemistry) are inherently hard and require discipline to get through the 'rote-learning' boring parts. The 'touchy-feely', "let's make math interesting" style of parenting/ teaching misses this. There is something to 3 hours of violin vs 45 minutes and 2 hours of TV as a reward...
I am no 'Chinese Mom' but see that this style of parenting is best for a kid who has certain proclivities. If they have an impulse towards music it is important for them to push them selves past the drudgery of practicing scales onto real accomplishment.
If the kid hates music then drop it and find something else. But push them enough so that they understand that if they work through the initial tough part some real beauty lies ahead.
Sure your kids may get into med school or become that lawyer, but I'm almost certain at some point they are going to hate you for ruining their childhood. Also they are just going to develop bingeing personalities and have overloads the moment you take your eyes off them.
When it comes to things like being honest, making good use of time, never give up easily, commitment to hard work, it doesn't hurt to exercise the eastern parenting style to force the kids to form these habits. The kids will thank you later.
When it comes to what the kids should do as hobby/career, the kids should be given a lot of freedom, as one can only do well in stuff that he/she's truly passionate about.
I supposed, in the end, my dad did it. I accomplished all his goals at relatively young age. But that comes with a huge cost. I never see him as a loving caring dad. He is always the target to beat. Sucks to be him now, old and alone.
This article and other Asians who follow Amy Chua's style of parenting rarely see this one perspective:
The oppressive technique is cargo-culted to death among Asian parents. It is used by Asian parents who themselves, are not successful like some sort of miracle drugs.
This technique only works IF the parents themselves are successful. If the parents are lazy, glutton, and messy, there is no way this technique will make the kids dapper and discipline.
For those of you who suffer/ed Asian parents oppression, there's always the satirical: http://highexpectationsasianfather.tumblr.com
From my kids, I demand that they do their share of work (at home and later, in life), that they be kind and respect other people (but it's okay that other people may not always like it when someone sets their limits), and that they don't continue to do things for wrong reasons without thinking about it first (like doing stuff to mostly impress other people).
I listen to what they want and try to hear what's true. I give them few things only: kids always want a lot of things but I do force them to prioritize and think it over a couple of times, so that they will learn to listen themselves to what they really want. And that they will learn to appreciate the value of what they have. You can't have everything in life or everything will lose its value.
I let them make choices themselves, given that some final limitations are followed. For example, they can wear what they like as long as I've checked they've got enough clothing so that they'll be warm. When they're spending their money, they can do whatever they want with it. For example, they can invest all their money in candy; however, I don't let them eat candy every day all over the week as we have specific days for goodies.
That's pretty much it. I don't have any vocational or educational goals or hobby-wise demands for them. I trust that they will eventually do what they simply can't not do. Long idle periods may precede but that's okay. As long as you're alive, time is indefinite.
I don't claim to have—or gain—control over their lives and choices, barring some rules they as kids need require and with regard to the physical world. I consider it good to be humble enough to understand that I have no idea whatsoever of what's best for them in their lives. I might have an idea or two about what I would do and I sometimes talk about that but I don't dare suggest they had to follow.
I don't always know how to do all that. But most of the time I think I get it right eventhough I'm still learning myself. I'll just mostly try to be there when they need support. And that's hard and demanding too, and I think that too often I can't do that either.
But I'm pretty confident that when a couple of kids live with me for about 18 years in a rather intimate living arragement, something will stick and that imprint will be close to what I wanted to say. Time only will tell if I turn out to be right or wrong but I merely hope they'll find it valuable, one way or another.
I can honestly say that, as a kid, I didn't enjoy it, but then again, I can't imagine anyone would.
However, I definitely would not be as knowledgeable, intelligent, or well brought up without the asian schooling.
This article and most people against asian parenting's viewpoint is from the outsiders viewpoint. They all see the brutality of it and think "how could you treat your child like that." On the flipside however, it is undeniable that asians outperform westerners. Parenting likely has something to do with it.
I'm not saying one side is right or the other. I'm just noting that there's a statistical imbalance and unless we're all willing to admit asian genes are superior to all others, outside influence must be responsible and parenting/culture is the most likely culprit.
The point is that optimizing along one or two metrics such as income or education is myopic (which was the actual topic of the article), especially when you don't take into consideration the associated costs (opportunity and otherwise).
If you want to pick your pet metric and explain why asians actually aren't doing so well, then you should provide citations and make your case.
Look around your office and name 5 things invented in the Asia.
Compass, yes, although I don't keep one in my office (nor gunpowder for that matter).
None of the clothes I wear were invented in Asia.
After studying a number of different cultures and backgrounds and histories, I'm generally an admirer of the school of parenting laid out by Chua. Well, I think some of the more insulting/demeaning/negative-reinforcement isn't so great, but the overall focus on achievement and duty as superior to having fun... I do respect that. I'll explain why -
I used to think the opposite until I read Andre Agassi's autobiography, "Open" - Agassi was one of the top tennis players in the world, hit #1 multiple times, and generally achieved tremendously a lot. He's now married to Stefi Graff, the top women's tennis player of all time, and they have two kids and seem like a really healthy and happy family.
In his book, Agassi talks about hating tennis. He really does. His father, an immigrant to the USA from Iran, drilled tennis into him obsessively from a young age, constantly telling him he's going to be #1 in the world.
Agassi was miserable a lot of that time.
So, why do I think it's a good style of parenting?
Because people from the driven overachieving backgrounds don't realize that people with more normal lives go through their own sorts of miseries. If anything, I think Western culture leaves people directionless and in angst and miserable through their younger years more often than not.
The kid that just follows the minimum program, hangs out, drifts around, gets high a lot, and then wakes up at age 42 with no professional success, no real social circle, no accomplishments, no family, no skills, working at Starbucks...
...y'know, it's socially acceptable to criticize people for overachieving and striving at the expense of other things, but it's not really socially acceptable to criticize people for mediocrity. It's kind of taboo to put down that people who spend their youth chasing pleasure frequently break down into full-on existential crises and madness later in life.
The vast majority of people don't self-actualize and don't achieve real meaning in their lives. Most people ascribe this to their background and external things. So you sometimes see people people who grow up under intense parenting styles say, "Well yes I tended to achieve more, but I was unhappy" - maybe, but remember that the grass is always greener on the other side...
I'll say one very real downside of the intensive parenting style - it has a much higher variance/standard deviation of results. You're likely to make it very professionally successful, or completely break down under the pressure. That's the downside. But overall, would someone like Andre Agassi have been happier if he'd just farted along and been a middle manager at some warehousing/shipping company in Nevada? Yeah, he often hated tennis and hated his father, but in the end he inspired millions of people, got to experience triumphs most people will never feel, achieved a complete mastery and harmony between his mind and body in competition, built a family with an absolutely incredible woman, and lots of other good things.
There's downsides, sure. But the grass is always greener on the other side. I could point out my opinions as to the flaws of any given parenting style, but I find the duty/achievement end of the spectrum to seem closer to overall well-being than the reverse.
On this topic, I intend to teach my kids the three things my father told me over and over and over as a kid:
1. A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.
2. Winners concentrate on winning. Losers concentrate on getting by.
3. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Here's to all the middle managers in Nevada who love their jobs :)
C'mon Ryan, the whole discussion is littered with anecdotes, and I made another one. Obviously I don't think those are the only possible outcomes... but I do think a focus on duty/achievement/service/etc is underrated in the West right now.
> On this topic, I intend to teach my kids the three things my father told me over and over and over as a kid:
That's cool and your dad sounds like a pretty solid and cool dude, and that jives with generally what I believe.
Going beyond just parenting, I do think everyone should try to excel at something - unless the middle manager is fully engaged and driven by his work, then I think it'd be good for him to strive to excel in music or art or charity or philanthropy or teaching or athletics or trying to build an amazing family or something...
I think not striving for excellence in anything is kind of sad. Why not try to push civilization forwards? Sometimes the main reasons said out loud - "well, I just want to be happy" - seem to mask other darker reasons, like fear of failure or inertia or feeling ill-equipped to make a difference. That's a damn shame. Why not strive to make some excellent contributions, in addition to striving to be happy?
Sometimes obsession with external validation masks the same things.
There are no easy answers as to what is best for any given human, but there's definitely a market for those looking for the kind of easy answers that Amy Chua is selling.
> Sometimes obsession with external validation masks the same things.
Y'know, I don't care about someone's motives if they're conducting themselves well... if someone gives to charity out of a desire to glorify themselves, that's totally okay in my book. Likewise, someone who invents just to have their name on an invention or innovation. A lot of great scientists, inventors, philanthropists, builders, and people who did good things really liked seeing their name in print. So be it, if they're doing good things.
> There are no easy answers as to what is best for any given human, but there's definitely a market for those looking for the kind of easy answers that Amy Chua is selling.
Indeed... or like the everyone is a unique snowflake craze, eh? There aren't easy answers. I dunno man, I come in here to share an alternative point of view. There's some good feedback/disagreement, but I'm a little surprised and let down by people giving the nod to really personal nasty hostility.
Yeah, both attitudes are simplistic.
Hadn't seen the hostility directed towards you until now. Not constructive as you have no ill intent.
C'mon Sebastian, you've been called on building a whole argument on an anecdote, suck it up and admit your mistake.
4. Hard work is more important than being smart.
In the end, regardless of how they felt or their intentions, I was made out to be nothing more than an ornament, a product for the glory of the family name.
I get the impression you were not on the receiving end of this sort of treatment, and I mean the real receiving end. The constant drumbeat of criticism, the cutting remarks, the dread of never living up to the horizon of expectation, never catching it.
I hate my family for what they did, and frankly, I hate you for advocating it, for encouraging a parent to make some other child's life miserable beyond imagining so you can placate your ideal about overachieving.
I am a real god damned human being. I am not "just one of those cases" that didn't work out.
PS: The real shit-kicker is that eventually I did get it together on my own terms, with just OK grades by even my own standards and graduated from some out-of-state land grant university. Some of those other kids who got straight As or whatever, some whom went to Cal or Stanford, whom spent their youth jumping through hoops for their parents' affections, work at the same place I do, writing shitty enterprise code.
I am personally disappointed in my parents because when I decided it was easier to just skate by in life as a teen, they let me get away with it. Things are sharper now, but I wasted a huge portion of my life and they were more concerned that I didn't want to go to church any more and were placated by my athletic achievements.
So, showing your kids no love is bad, but giving in to them for short term happiness sucks too. The self-esteem movement is overdone. I know people who are afraid to tell their kids that they are fat. Honesty and direction communication among family is enabled by strong family bonds, and, particularly in East Asian cultures, Confucian values that clearly establish the roles of parent and child. It's just hard to find the right balance to get kids to maximize performance.
When you grow up learning to coast along it is hard to transition when you cant coast any more.
"Chinese mom" style helps with this. And this:
Only if he'd say it to lionhearted in person, over a dinner conversation, per the HN etiquette guide. He's certainly within his rights to feel strongly about this, and to convey his belief in the harm caused by the demanding, uncompromising style of child-rearing; but there should be a way to do that with a modicum of tact.
It would seem odd if someone said "wow, this hurts would you mind backing your car off my leg" to the point where you might wonder if you had actually driven over them. However, "Back your @#%$ car off my #%^@&^ leg is less ambiguous". So, if your having dinner with the queen it's probably not appropriate but "I was deeply hurt by their actions" is somewhat emotionally ambiguous.
If I went back in time or have an opportunity to tell a kid like me growing up, I'd tell him that don't look at all of the kids who are jumping through the hoops for parents or for the Asian sub-culture. If you do your own thing, you'll be the envy of everybody else who is secretly insecure to buy into the crap.
Kinda of like in a night-club/bar, 99% of people there only hang out with people they came with; but everyone envy that one guy who came by himself to strike up conversation with strangers and don't give up a fuck about other people think.
PS: I second and confirm also the phenomenon on the East Coast. Some people who went to MIT or CMU, have resumes that Chinese mothers could only dream about, work at the same place I do along with people who went to state/community college, writing enterprise shitty code.
All societies have their pathologies. Witness the stuff women had to go through in the 50's and 60's in the US. There's always ugliness under the surface. People just adapt and accept things as normal. It will always be the case that some part of "normal" is messed up if you look at it the right way.
Thanks for revealing your biases so cheaply and easily.
For one Agassi, there are a thousand Chinese children pushed as hard that don't make it anywhere. That's the kids you should be considering when choosing a parenting style. They will only resent tennis and their father. There was no time for anything else, so mediocre tennis players is all they are. Thanks mum.
The question isn't whether you achieve the highest levels of success - it's how results stack up on average... I tend to think the achievement/duty style of parenting does well at producing good results on balance. A lot of the numbers bare this out, depending on what you're looking for.
> That's the kids you should be considering when choosing a parenting still. My children may be mediocre, but their happy memories will last them forever.
But they're not mutually exclusive... it seems to me that purpose, meaning, duty, striving outperforms gunning for happiness. But this is the opposite of what most people in the West believe right now.
I disagree respectfully. Everyone chooses their own parenting style, but I think a focus on achievement and duty in younger years leads to more well-being and a better foundation than just-do-whatever-everyone's-a-winner. There's lots of ground in between them, but a slight shift towards achievement/duty seems like it'd cure a lot of the angst and confusion and unhappiness among young people in the West right now.
Instead of pushing your kids to play violin to "get to State," I would suggest finding joy and art in music yourself. The former often produces mediocrity. The latter produces the sublime. There are tons of former "young prodigies" who put away their instrument as a forgotten childhood thing, whereas many of the best artists I know received a true joy in music from their parents.
It can even help with the girlfriend part.
Just pushing your kids to be #1 at something is like designing a system with a single point of failure. What if the kid is not able to achieve it? Obviously, with a large population striving to achieve the same thing, there will be failures. What would you do then?
Instead, parents should concentrate on raising stable, open and mature children. Children, who as adults, develop a good sense of discrimination and discretion. Children, who know that failure is a part of life and they better learn from their mistakes. Children who realize that not everybody can be #1, but it's still worth trying. Children who appreciate the journey, and not just fret over the destination.
There's more than one person close to me who feels this way -- if you've been raised to believe that #2 is the first loser, you may have a very hard time adapting to a real world in which success is often collaborative and has no end point.
I mean, think about bringing a fiercely competitive mindset to one of the many areas of life where in reality, if your peers/collaborators/friends/relatives (not competitors) do better work, that helps you towards your common goal.
I've been thinking & talking about this a lot lately, because I'm the father of an 17-month-old, and I want her to know how to work hard for long-term goals, without giving her crippling perfectionism (no, not everything worth doing is worth doing well...) and a permanently twisted view of life.
I think we judge success by a shallow metric. Money or fame or success at a single thing in like is not a gage of success. Success is made from many things, not this narrow list.
I attended computer engineering college in India, and here it gets extremely competitive. You've got gazillions of students fighting over a college seat not because they love programming or because they love software, but because being a computer engineer is key to financial success. So, they slog over their grade 12 scores and IIT-JEEs and CETs, and secure a seat.
Once they get into college, it's all about getting 'distinctions' - grades higher than 66%. Consistent results mean they get placed in-campus and escape the monotony and the soul-drubbing experience of a fresher's jobhunt.
And what then? It's all about the next appraisal, the next promotion, the next overseas opportunity. Better pay means better marriage prospects, a better lifestyle and a better social circle, whatever their definition of the latter term may be.
And in this pursuit of lifestyle comfort and material excellence, the only time they really, really care about code quality or software design is when it has a real and direct bearing on these prospects.
And that bugs me - not the pursuit of material comforts, but the relegation of software craftmanship to a second order of priority. I have an inkling that in their upbringing, the economic and social aspects of success were ALL that that was defined. Often to the detriment of every other aspect of quality. And it is this unbalanced focus that I take issue with.
66% correct, or 66th percentile? At every school I went to, 66% correct would be a failing grade.
And if you can get that consistently at the University of Pune, Bob's your uncle and the universe is your oyster.
I suspect by the time their kids reach school age, some of that parental competitiveness would return, but so far the evidence is clear which way the pendulum is swinging.
I have a feeling that this article is just product of our time, in which the sole remaining superpower of America suddenly realizing China is hot on its heels -- a fear that I think it's largely blown out of proportion. As a reaction there arise all this interest in China, including our parental style. I remember reading Gladwell's book "Outlier" in which he attributed math abilities to Chinese ancestors growing rice and not wheat. seriously? Such farce is more telling of the changing balance of power than parenting styles having anything to do with said change.
On a similar note, we Chinese have been interested in how Americans raise kids for decades. the thinking goes, surely you guys must be doing something right to hold your position in the world for so long.
Creativity and passion is not something you can teach your child--much less beat into them (this actually achieves the contrary). But yes, that doesn't mean some discipline and other blahs aren't important.
And don't call this Chinese parenting, my Russian-Jewish mother made me study in very similar ways when I was younger. Fortunately, for me she realized that rote memorization is not the linchpin of a successful career, but at best a tiny foundation stone in your studies.
There are only a few top spots. Only so much space in Ivy league schools, so these other people are needful, and they should be allowed to have their own brand of self-actualization without being seen as inferior.
Success that can be counted, does not count. We should aim as a society to redefine success as something that everyone can attain, such as happiness, tranquility and good health.
I teach chess to this 12 year old Chinese boy. He clearly has zero interest in progressing his game. And yet, his mother is there, always pushing him senselessly into a vocation he will be, at best, mediocre. Their time (and money) would be better spent on finding something that the kid really enjoys.
That's not what I said, not what I meant, and not what I believe... c'mon now, mis-summarizing someone's point of view leads to total breakdowns in communication. Let's not do that.
There's a couple points:
-What kind of parental focus produces better well-being in children? It's not binary, but I lean towards the achievement/duty side of the spectrum. I know this goes against the current dominant Western thought, but it's not a radical perspective historically speaking.
-When people do feel unhappy about their upbringing, it's worth considering that the grass always looks greener on the other side. A looser, more relaxed, less disciplined parenting style doesn't guarantee happiness - in fact, I think it might produce less happiness on balance. Again, I'm in the minority of current Western thought, but there's been a lot of very successful societies built on a childhood focus on duty, achievement, and service...
 http://www.famoushomeschoolers.net/bio_demaine.html -- Yeah, I know it's an odd site. Early google result, matches what I remember of his story.
The pernicious thing about this parenting style is that it appears to work very well for the first 18 years. Then, the child graduates from high-school, and goes to college. Some break down without the constraints imposed by hovering parents and constant scheduling. Some get pulled into the wrong crowds and end up doing questionable or illegal activities. But the most unlucky ones go through college just fine.
Why are these the most unlucky ones? Once they're done with the academic grind, they look around and have no goals. They never developed the ability to create their own goals - to be self directed. Not only is this a huge disadvantage in their personal lives, but it hurts job performance as well. No assignment at work is going to be as well defined as a school project. No manager will babysit these people as much their teachers and parents did. What ends up happening is that these people find themselves being surpassed by others who have less skill, as the others have much more self direction and the ability to push themselves without requiring external motivation.
Your positions there were good... I need to reflect and pick my words a lot more carefully when I write on something that touches people so closely like parenting. I am actually an admirer of the Chinese way except not the abusive jerk part of it. But I studied Chinese culture some - they're incredible. They move somewhere, dirt poor, and within 2-3 generations they're established, prosperous, educated, own businesses and real estate, have established families... I remember one time I was staying in a small inn in Amsterdam owned by a Chinese family, recent immigrants to the Netherlands. They'd rent all the rooms, and if every room got rented, the couple and their young son would go sleep in the lobby at midnight instead of their own room.
In the end, the place would only sell out maybe 10 nights per month, for a total of perhaps 800 euros per month for the inconvenience... but then that's about $12,000 USD per year they're banking by sacrificing their own comfort. Later, they'd for sure invest that into education, expanding in business, things like that. It's why Chinese are so successful anywhere.
But I should've stressed that I think the abusive and mean aspects of it are crap. I do think it's crap. But more self-sacrifice, achievement, duty, service... I don't know, I think America is way too far in the other direction. It's funny cuz I'm guessing our ideal parenting styles aren't very far apart. Lots of encouragement but also emphasizing it's not just do whatever makes you happy - delay gratification, serve worth causes, strive for more, better yourself, give your kids a much better life than you had, etc, etc.
That tells something about the common wisdom that to succeed at anything, you have to love what you do. I'm talking just about results here, of course, not quality of living.
For every success there will be 10 (or more) broken children who go through this "method". They will hate their parents. They will have a broken sense of self. They will not be socialized. They will have emotional problems, sometimes serious ones.
How do I know this? I've met the failed ones. I've never met a success from this method, either, and I'm 50.
The people that I've met that were a "success", were both smart, hard working and focused. And, they had one thing which is not praised much anymore: common sense.
I have known more smart people than I can count in my life. A fraction of them had much common sense or "life smarts". Yeah, they could run rings around me with their programming or math or whatever ability, but they often couldn't make a good decision to save their life.
Lastly, I'll say that whatever drive your child has, cultivate it. You cannot create drive, it either is or isn't.
Do you have any reply to this?
Why is it that when a Jewish mother does the same as the Asian mother, no one complains?
I'm a Chinese btw.
When art historians analyze late 20th and early 21st century culture, they will certainly coin the jewish-complaining art movement, which spanned television, movies and stand up comedy for like 30 years, and is still running strong with Curb your Enthusiasm.
Was about to say that (as a Russian Jewish male), that if it weren't Jews complaining about their mothers, the literary and entertainment worlds would be far far poorer :-)
Used to be there were quotas on how many Jews to let into Ivy league schools. Now that's applied to the Asian kids, with "diversity" as the excuse.
I'm also sure for every joke and stereotype of the Chinese mother, you can find an equivalent one about the Jewish mother.
Thanks for taking over from us that stereotype of the overachieving, uncreative grind! Feel free to hand it off to someone else next generation. Should be pretty easy, since we're planning to pass you control of the media.
How did Jews become a part of this, anyway?
I think at this point that the whole "overbearing Jewish parents" thing is more of a self-conscious joke than anything else, excepting perhaps some of the more religious Jewish families. I don't know if it's gotten to that point for Chinese-Americans yet.
Also, by "a Chinese," what do you mean? Is there any hyphenation after that, e.g. -American, -Canadian, -Hong Kong, -Malaysian? Or are you a mainlander? There's significant cultural differences.
But most Chinese parents here rise their kids in pretty much the same ways as Amy Chua.
These families feel their kids have to compete with the natives and may be at a disadvantage initially.
Once you get the safety of feeling at home -- this sort of behavior tends to disappear (Japan being the exception here.)
As such, Jewish parenting practices don't fall under the harsh lens of scrutiny as does the more blatant and hand-wavy aspects of Asian parenting (the mother's "mean face" and public displays of superiority in the form of music recitals and such referred to in the article).
The two Chinese mothers I know well here in the U.S. (my wife and her cousin) both of whom were born and raised in China, both of whom have 2 children of about the same age as the original author and both of whom are similarly educated to the woman who wrote the original article this one is in response to, were disturbed by the message and methods presented. They found it abusive, excessive and wrong and have been mailing links to this to all of their friends in anger.
They lack the volition to do things by themselves and are unable to make their own choices. I used to converse a lot with a girl brought up in this manner and if you asked the question: "why" a lot about the things she did or was about to do (like planning to go to a particular college) you would ultimately end up with: "I don't know".
Also I would bet that those kids are bullied to at least some extent at school. They would have been at mine at least. :D
"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it."
I always thought it was your unlikely to get good at anything that you don't find fun.
But parenting is hard. At the end of the day, if my kids are happy, nice, respectful, and can afford the things they want, I'll be happy for them.
Most Chinese families aren't crazy-obsessed with achievement - I'd say about 1/4 of them exhibit this kind of insane behavior, but that's still a very, very high rate, which is where this stereotype comes from. The rest are similar to their high-achieving white counterpart families.
Just as a data point, my two parents (two MDs and one PhD, yeah, it could have been real, real bad) weren't like this. I had a very normal childhood. I did all the things that white kids do.
I would like to bring up a possibility, which is possibly controversial: a lot of these kids let themselves be trampled on by their parents. In addition to (probably) being bullied at school, they are bullied at home by their parents. I really wish they would do more to stand up for themselves. They can't be blamed, though, as their will has been systematically removed by the parents in most cases.
Overall, this whole thing is a great example of very smart people doing very stupid things.
A not unrelated issue is the high rate of Asian American girls/women who refuse to date and marry Asian guys. It's so blindingly obvious as to why, I'm surprised anyone ever has to ask the question.
I can imagine that only someone who has never been through years of systematic abuse / bullying would lay the blame on the victim.
I'm Chinese and I know plenty of folks who went through this abuse. I know many kids who did stand up to the abuse - and as a kid who stood up to my parents (and whose parents changed because of it), I despise this horrible stereotype and wish more kids would muster the constitution to fight it.
You can only imagine nothing. If you weren't brought up in or witness to this kind of environment I don't even really know how you can make conclusions in your imagination about me.
Just because you're Chinese, or "know someone who was abused", doesn't mean you know what it's like to be that kind of victim. It's fuck all to do with not having "the constitution to fight it" and everything to do with being destroyed from the inside out.
Good for you for having the guts to fight it though, eh?
What are they supposed to do when they are beaten and locked out of the house for 24 hours with no food to eat?
A not unrelated issue is the high rate of Asian American girls/women who refuse to date and marry Asian guys. It's so blindingly obvious as to why, I'm surprised anyone ever has to ask the question.
Your hypothesis is incorrect. Asian females greatly prefer middle eastern, and whites over asian males. Both of which presumably do not have a background of strict parenting.
Is this a serious question?
If that happens, you call the cops like the victim of any other kind of assault. I have a friend who did this and had dad arrested and taken to court. It worked phenomenally well - she was never beat ever again - wonder why?!
> Both of which presumably do not have a background of strict parenting
Nah bro, your reading is incorrect, not my hypothesis.
That's my point. Having an Asian significant other would be too much of a reminder of their shitty upbringing, or they irrationally believe they would be somehow subjecting their own kids to the same experience. I personally think it's a post traumatic stress reaction.
Like any other assault, you need proof that abuse actually happened and you just didn't slip and fall. And how is a 8 year old kid supposed to know? Also what about the threats to bring them to China, free to beat them as much as they like, if they told the police? (And yes all this actually happened).
That's my point. Having an Asian significant other would be too much of a reminder of their shitty upbringing
Maybe that's true to a small extent, but the statistics from Okcupid shows that skin color is a much greater factor.
Dude, you are confusing the effect for the cause.
LOL I don't even know if they have a name for that kind of logical fallacy.
Just because one child did it, doesn't mean all children can. Heck, even adults can't sometimes. Haven't you ever heard of Stockholm syndrome? Or battered wife syndrome? Going up against someone who has power over you is hard.
And I agree, it's hard, and not everyone can do it.
Y'know, I'm not so convinced that that's it. I think people of a different genetic background as ourselves are naturally appealing to some extent, but dating/marrying outside of any race is largely taboo. Asian woman/Caucasian man is socially acceptable right now, but I think a lot more of it is going to happen going forwards.
If China continues its ascendancy into an empire, I'd predict more Chinese man/Caucasian woman parings going forwards. The numbers already bare out that mixed race parings have been increasing at quite a high rate. With the skewed gender ratios, increasing Chinese wealth, and most likely international emergence of Chinese arts and culture and sex symbols... I think there's going to be a significant increase of Eastern European woman/Chinese man and Caucasian American/Chinese parings coming in the very near future.
Being open to dating people other than your race is completely different than outright refusal to date any people of your own or a similar race. One is a normal modern mindset and the other is some kind of post traumatic mental reaction.
Indeed, look at Dr. Chua's family- she married someone outside of her culture and continues to pursue the "Chinese parent" mindset with vigor.
I think Jean Hsu was spot on in her article, however: all this commanding and strict parenting just has to REALLY numb down the kid's initiative and will to "play" and "explore", try new things and learn on their own.
This may sound very harsh but for me, this bossing around just creates busy drones at best and at worst those kids will be very, very much lacking any orientation, motivation, initiative and a unique personality of sorts.
How can you find happiness on your own when the close bond with the person who has been controlling your life for 20, 25 years is suddenly gone?
> Japanese girls are superior!