"What brings the situation to an end is two horrifying incidents. First, Lulu hacks off her hair with a pair of scissors; then, on a family holiday to Moscow, she and Chua get into a public argument that culminates in Lulu smashing a glass in a cafe, screaming, "I'm not what you want – I'm not Chinese! I don't want to be Chinese. Why can't you get that through your head? I hate the violin. I hate my life. I hate you, and I hate this family!" Her relationship with Lulu in crisis, Chua, finally, thankfully, raises the white flag."
I started crying when I read that. I literally have tears in my eyes right now. I'm hardly surprised, though.
I expressed my opinions years ago here on HN, about this tiger mom horseshit and how it's basically child abuse, to me, even though I'm into my 30s it's still with me.
My mom did this shit to me and I had a couple of good, solid breakdowns. Constant pressure, college resume padding horseshit, extracurricular activities that I don't care about (kudos to you if you enjoyed them but most of the people at these things aren't enthused about it). NOthing I ever did was good enough, impossible busy work, constant comparisons to so-and-so kid's, being paraded out to brag about the family name, etc.
Then I did the unforgivable. I flunked out of college. I got FAT -- the worse! And grew a beard. She told me I was a complete embarrassment and she didn't want me around. Because of a beard. I guess I was about 25 when she said that, and I've seen her a three times since then.
I am reminded of the tragic case of Mengyao "May" Zhou, an MIT grad and Stanford grad student, whose death in 2007 was ruled a suicide. (While there was no clear evidence of foul play, the evidence for suicide was not overwhelming either -- in particular, she left no note.) While she was clearly very successful in her studies and was thought to be happy, some of the details that came out at the time left me with the distinct impression that she killed herself to get out of a life she had not chosen and could see no other escape from. Her father in particular seemed to have a habit of stating flatly how she had felt, as if he didn't have to ask her. That struck me as a big red flag that suggested that he related to her as an extension of himself rather than as a separate person -- a common pattern in "tiger" parenting.
I emphasize that this is only my impression; I didn't know her and have no privileged information about her. But the father's subsequent behavior -- insisting she was murdered and making rather wild suggestions about who could have done it and why -- did nothing to change that impression (even making allowances for understandable grief). Instead of stopping to wonder whether he really knew her -- who wouldn't wonder that after an unexpected suicide? -- he dug himself into his position. I think that in his denial that she could have felt any other way than how he wanted her to feel, he is still refusing to hear the message of her suicide.
It is bad enough to be living a life designed by someone else, where you know it's not your choice but you feel compelled to do it anyway. But to have had your own desires and feelings so rigidly unacknowledged for your whole life that you can't even imagine living your own life for your own reasons -- that seems to me unbearably painful. I have a feeling that is the place May Zhou was in.
Fast-forward a couple of days, I come back from the Uni and I see the guy sitting in the common room with a blank stare looking really white. When I go over there to find out what's going on, he tells me he found his Chinese roommate that morning. He had hanged himself because he couldn't stand the pressure anymore.
It's a sobering read, including interviews with the parents, Shin's classmates, etc.
How has your life evolved since 25? Did you end up losing the weight and the beard? Did they finally leave you be to pursue your own goals?
What if he didn't?
1. Tiger moms in America are far more permissive, they swing back and forth - providing an unstable and inconsistent environment for their children. 2. The kids are inundated with the highly permissive hippie culture of the west even though the tiger mom tries on and off to limit this. The kids eventually rebel.
Why do we associate attending an Ivy League institution as a 17 / 18 year old for an undergraduate education as some sort of metric for success?
I mean, I'm not going to be naive and insist that the worthwhile life doesn't look at results and instead only looks at the journey, but to consider one's parenting model as "working" at age 17 because one's child is going to Ivy league is hilariously short-sighted (unless you're planning for your child to die a lot sooner than most people).
My TL;DR point is follows:
17 years is too short to draw any conclusions on how successful a person's life is so the jury should still be out on Tiger Mothering.
Because, by all accounts, it is one of the most reliable indicators that the child is going to be successful.
but to consider one's parenting model as "working" at age 17 because one's child is going to Ivy league is hilariously short-sighted
Well, at some point you- as a parent- stop being responsible for your child's life. Many would argue that occurs when the child goes away to college and makes their own choices.
I don't know of any way to phrase this. What you said is profoundly stupid and factually incorrect, even if you judge success by salary alone:
> Because, by all accounts, it is one of the most reliable indicators that the child is going to be successful.
Clearly, it isn't. If it were, the only schools there would be Ivies. They are not.
Successful as in working for a Fortune 500? Or successful as in growing up to be a self-suficient, happy human being?
1) Accomplishing an aim or purpose: "a successful attack on the town".
2) Having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction.
Attending an ivy league school fulfills both definitions, depending on why you went.
Happy ≠ successful. Which is more important?
Are you serious? A student of mine, who is not only exceedingly capable but also very pleasant, with many interests outside college (yes, he is a serious musician) applied to several Ivy League schools for his graduate degree but somehow none took him on. He is now going up to NYU, and he will enjoy it.
I think he will go far in life.
If anyone wants to test the tiger-mother theory they should perhaps look at people who got into decent schools and follow up how they did.
Because, statistically, they're going to earn a lot more money over the course of their careers (especially when you factor engineering students out of the state school equation).
I get the feeling most of the people that say money cant buy you happiness have never been dirt poor. I'm not saying money buys happiness, but its damn hard to be happy when you r stressed out over how to pay the rent.
Also anything above $2mm is gravy where happiness is concerned.
Current rent: 1595/mo ~= 19k/yr
Add 2% each year for inflation(probably wrong, but gotta start somewhere) and sum up 42 years (25 to 67) comes to just shy of 1.3M, merely paying your rent. Take taxes out of that 2M and rent+food+retirement is about the only things you can pay for and thats cutting it close.
2M to live in the place I was born just isn't going to cut it. There are of course optimizations, you could buy a condo or marry someone who also works to up it to 4M, but for a quick back of the envelope calculation its close enough.
My original estimation of 20M is probably off by a factor of 2 to 4, depends who you brown nose it with in the ivy leagues.
But basically, every time i think about my current costs and inflation, i realize that the estimated 2M average lifetime earnings potential of my education doesn't get very far.
I definitely agree that your estimation of the benefit to graduating 4 years early is off by a few factors, still.
>But the cracks beneath the surface begin to show. [...] Lulu becomes rebellious, openly defying her teacher and her mother and bitterly complaining in public about her home life. By the age of 13, writes Chua, "[Lulu] wore a constant apathetic look on her face, and every other word out of her mouth was 'no' or 'I don't care'."
Looking back, I think I had a breakdown at 13, too.
My mother and I were frequently at odds about my violin lessons and practice habits but she was also a nurturing person and tried to explain the benefits of deliberate practice and musical training, which as an adult I now recognize.
Full-on "tiger" parents may be more fixated on western instruments because it's meant to be a status symbol not a means to enrich the child.
Explaining why piano is even more stereotypical an instrument?
(Please excuse this off-topic rant: it dismays me that the violin is so high-status. The damn things are so shrill and squeaky they make me cover my ears. Meanwhile, the viola and the cello sound exquisitely resonant, yet they, especially the viola, are the ones who got second-class status. It is a tremendous musical injustice. I wonder if it has something to do with violins having been more suitable for virtuoso performance and thus more likely to be written for by primo composers.)
Pretty much. There's a concertmaster, and the piano is situated prominently. Harps, cellos, and flutes are also preferred, but less favored.
I'm reasonably sure that my parents picked the piano because they had learned it themselves when young. (My mom still played a little; my dad had lost too much finger flexibility from sports.)
And no, I don't agree with the value/emphasis placed on it either.
Unlike woodwinds, a violin doesn't drip on the floor: if you are playing an instrument for social status not having a puddle of spit (or a damp cloth) at your feet is important.
I think this is an underappreciated point. It's not that this style of parenting is inherently flawed (aside from the emotional abuse), the biggest factor is that she can see that she's not like her friends and the comparatively easy life that her friends have leads to resentment. I'm sure she would be much better off if she were immersed in the Chinese culture where this style of parenting is typical.
Indeed, social pressure seems to amplify the pain, rather than minimize it through normalization.
"The obsession with academic success has even given rise to a new expression among young people: "umchinah," or my mother's friend's son – the elusive competitor who excels at everything."
You may be right, but in this incident she's is referring to specific Chinese cultural norms, not the high expectations in her upbringing.
Uhm... yeah, aside from that.
That said, letting Junior play video games all day (as contrasted with WRITING a few video games) is not good for Junior either. Maybe Junior won't report being depressed in that case until reaching his twenties and finding out he is unemployable at a living wage that allows independence from Mom and Dad. Maybe Junior, while growing up and having limited life experience, might benefit from some actual adult leadership and guidance. It is possible to do too little as well as too much in parenting.
(Basis of knowledge: I am the father in a "half-Asian" family, although oddly I am probably the "tiger-like" parent as a native-born American, while my Taiwanese wife is more easy-going. We have one child who has grown into independent adult life as a hacker and three younger children still living at home.)
Are you talking about the video games? I have local friends who have more children than I have, and two of the boys in that family traveled overseas to try out the professional gaming circuit in one of the countries with serious gaming pros. (That family is very supportive of children trying out their interests, to its credit.) After the boys made the trip, they came back here, and if the last report I heard about their activities is still current information, they are buckling down in their studies and pursuing other careers.
Not that amae-based relationships can't be pathological, but they are less one-sidedly authoritarian.
So not only does it not work, I have grave doubts as to whether "tiger parenting" is normal among Chinese, or Asians in general. If anything it's a pathological development among certain first-generation Asian immigrants, who felt the need to produce exceptional children in order to compensate for perceived cultural disadvantages.
I was thinking this throughout your comment. I've also observed that it's a trait much stronger among first generation families or those closer to them (second generation instead of fifth, for instance).
I grew up as the children of Chinese immigrants and spent a year in college studying abroad in Beijing. I expected to see a city of 20 million high-achievers. I was in for quite a surprise. The people I met there were more like the non-Asians I knew in America than the Asians I knew.
I have no idea what specifically about immigration causes this behavior, or if it's just correlation. It could simply be the case that people prone to extreme "life optimization" are more okay with the emotional upheaval of moving to another country.
2) Asians historically were at a cultural disadvantage compared to other Westerners in America. Americans were at least passingly familiar with other European cultures, and had quite a bit of common ground with them; much less so with Asians so there was a mutual unintelligibility problem. So to compensate, Asian parents tended to pressure their kids to excel in something universal that Americans would consider valuable -- hence the tendency of Asians to gravitate towards the hard sciences, math, and music (oddly enough, Western classical music at that). Amy Tan wrote about this, remarking how unusual and against the odds it was that she became a writer instead of the scientist or classical violinist her mother wanted her to be.
Cultural traits, when taken out of their home culture with its natural checks and balances, can become unhinged and overpowered, like when introducing species into a new habitat.
Another influence is the "Chines Imperial examination" where the social success is done by being the best at school (that may come from Confucius).
>The child whose parents are fond of him accepts their affection as a law of nature. He does not think very much about it, although it is of great importance to his happiness. He thinks about the world, about the adventures that come his way and the more marvelous adventures that will come his way when he is grown up. But behind all these external interests there is the feeling that he will be protected from disaster by parental affection.
If you've ever had a good boss, there's a good analogy there. A good boss doesn't micro-manage or tell you what to do: she lets you arrange your time as necessary to accomplish your objectives and exercise a lot of discretion about your day-to-day work. However, she doesn't let you just spin your wheels and not accomplish anything either. She provides just enough guidance to ensure that you're still moving forwards without dictating how you move forwards.
A good parent is very similar. He provides structure and direction, but lets the child discover his/her own interests and pursue them. It's only when the kid is at risk of stepping seriously off the rails that the parent steps in.
Kinda what I could say happened to me, my father being extremely authoritative(making me work at very young age for his business), but at the same time not being around to not set very much boundaries.
As used in the article, the distinction between "authoritarian" and "authoritative" is a cold versus warm distinction, not a "directed" versus "undirected" distinction.
I will also concede as true that not letting your kids run around is a specific case of not letting them "be kids" but requiring them to be "mini adults."
However, that does not mean that requiring your kids to be "mini adults" is a sign of authoritarian parenting rather than authoritative parenting, for the obvious reason that you can require your children to generally act like "mini adults" while also letting them play once in awhile.
One can be permissive and cold. Permissive and warm. Authoritative and cold and authoritative and warm.
Authoritative and warm sounds odd, but it think I kind of describes my parents. Some issues like respecting elders, saying thank you, making sure to help friends in needs, sharing were non-negotiable, others like what major to choose, or how late early and when to do homework or what extra curricular activities to take or not take was up to me. Otherwise I never lacked loved, attention or time spent with any of my parents. One of them even quit a much better paying job just to make spend more time with me after school and in the evening.
Forty plus years ago, high school friends of mine were busing tables before 16, and we mostly held down summer jobs once 16. I don't know that we were that much different from kids today.
So let's question the former:
>Kim decided that for her study, she would both parse further the different dimensions of the Eurocentric profiles and create new ones that better fit the styles of the East Asian families.
Oof. Two biases don't make a right.
>The responsiveness that’s considered an aspect of “authoritative” parenting, for example, was broadened to include both positive and negative attributes: warmth and hostility. Control, she would write, has “multiple facets … positive control is measured by parental monitoring and democratic parenting; negative control is measured by psychological control and punitive parenting.”
The Stasi were a form of positive control, apparently. Just kidding -- kind of. Suffice it to say none of the above are so mutually exclusive that they should be put in categories called "positive" and "negative."
From my time in academia, I can assure you spend most of your time and writing justifying your decisions, and a whole load of very critical people have to agree with your judgement before something gets published.
If you've got $11.95 to spare, I'll take you up on that. Unfortunately all that's available is the abstract. But if you want me to analyze that, I will. 232 words, not counting the copyright. 122 unique. 'Tiger' occurs 7 times -- 4th behind 'parenting' (15), 'the' (12), and 'and' (9). My analysis concludes that Kim doesn't just have something she wants to say, she has something she wants the public to hear. I.e., right or wrong, Kim has an agenda.
>Most likely, she based them on definitions that were defined and validated by multiple previous studies before her
I don't see how; she openly states in the quoted section of the parent comment that her delineation of categories was aimed at challenging the standard in the field.
>a whole load of very critical people have to agree with your judgement before something gets published.
In this case, it was the fine people over at the AAJP. The Asian American Journal of Psychology. Most def not a journal oriented toward "their version" of the truth, I'm sure.
Here you go! http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/85192141/2013-kim.pdf
By the way, there are many resources available for getting academic papers; you didn't mention Google Scholar, which is a great resource, but that wouldn't have helped here, but fortunately there are Russian sites and there are a number of groups dedicated to jailbreaking papers on request such as Reddit's /r/scholar or Wikipedia's Resource Request.
Wait. Amy Chua is US born, no, and of at least the educational attainment needed to teach at Yale Law--which I assume is paying her & her husband rather more than $45K between them. So how do she and her daughters relate to this, except as a hook to grab our attention.
I went to a high-achievement school with a lot of kids of tiger parent types, including an elite music school. That's not the whole picture. Maybe these kids ended up depressed (who knows), but worse grades? I don't think so.
The study notes "the vast majority" of parents it looked at had "relatively low educational attainment and a median income of between $30,001 and $45,000". Oddly it claims it also "controlled for socioeconomic status", but that seems suspect when the vast majority of the sample is in one particular income range.
So the study mostly looked at poorer households with low-educated parents. This is quite different from Chua, a Yale law professor, on the high end of both income and education.
There's a big difference between just yelling at someone and yelling at someone while putting them in elite schools, music lessons, explaining derivatives to them, critiquing their essays, etc. I don't doubt for a SECOND the psychological impacts of authoritarianism, high stress and poor socialization. For me the argument against tiger parenting is more than it's not worth the psychological damage it inflicts and that it kills creativity, both of which are really important in life, beyond just being a finely honed academic machine. But poorer grades, no way. This study is just using its own simplistic definition of the term.
- 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
- get any grade less than an “A”
- not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
- play any instrument other than the piano or violin
- not play the piano or violin.”
Drama? Sports? I was raised by quiet, somewhat anti-social Asian parents all my life, that was never a problem.
Computer games? If it's maths related then that was okay (and I put up with it because I was so intrigued with computers and the sums were easy enough after all those self-study maths books).
19/20 for a test? Why didn't you get 20/20? Your friend did. Begin silent treatment.
I started playing at 7 because there was a program in school and I wanted to be one of the kids who got to leave class for an hour. I loved it at first, and then was moved from the private class to a one-on-one with a specialised teacher. Again, it was something new and I liked it, but it increasingly became tedious and I hated it. I hated the boring music, I hated the scales, I couldn't even reach half the notes whilst playing broken chords. And then I began to despise it. It was only by a slim chance I found an amazing pianist and composer that I fell in love with the piano again.
Now that I'm in uni, life is better, and I've found something I love doing. My grades are better and I can work at the same time without it hindering uni work. My mum is definitely not a tiger mum, she's not that bad, but it does make me wonder if I would be excelling as much as I do now if I didn't have all that pressure growing up.
You're an adult, these things are now your choice.
If it means I'll be getting engaged a few years earlier than expected, then so be it. I'll drag out the pre-wedding phase until I'm ready.
This is horrifically unfair on you, in my opinion.
In your situation I would have to say "OK then goodbye, if you want a continuing relationship with me then I'm afraid it's going to have to be on my terms", because you only get one run through life.
Clearly my priorities are not yours though!
I am especially puzzled about the purpose of:
"- play any instrument other than the piano or violin
- not play the piano or violin."
I just don't understand the logic behind this two restrictions.
As for the no violin / piano. I think you have it wrong. It's "no musical instruments other than piano or violin." (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-06/news/ct-met-ti...)
you read it wrong.
Important to whom?
I am pretty sure kids know what is important to them and why. Sure, this may be different to what their parents think(e.g. their parents may find games, sleepovers and other stuff "unimportant").
BTW, you can use the very same logic as justification for controlling adults. [And frankly speaking, this logic is used by (almost?) all politicians]
Or perhaps they aren't so interested in music and would prefer to use the time for some other constructive activity (say programming).
Obviously you wouldn't take it to extremes and torture the kid but I have noticed a trend among Anglo parents to let their children make important decisions during their elementary years -- like what is and isn't a worthwhile pursuit. It then comes down to pure dumb luck whether the child is engaged in a worthwhile recreational activity or a dumb one.
This may sound irrelevant to the discussion, but it is not. What age is not early age? Parents always be more "grown"(their age number will always be bigger).
Coercion is killer of motivation: force kid to play violin, and he is likely to hate violin in the (near?) future.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't "expose" kids to music, math, programming and other great stuff, but I'm saying that you probably shouldn't force them.
I don't care that the same arguments could be applied to adults. Adults are grown individuals who by virtue of their age have earned their right to be bone-headed and make stupid choices. As a parent all you can do is try to instill in your children values that prevent them from turning into boneheads.
It's not like there is an objective way to choose a "better" instrument anyway since half of the fun is playing with others who use different instruments.
Why would it affect their development if they picked say a trumpet, guitar or flute instead? They can always pick up a different instrument later.
It would be like if a kid wanted to learn python and you said "no! you must learn Java instead".
EDIT: Setting aside the above argument for a second, there are practical considerations too that make the choice of musical instrument a non-arbitrary decision. For example: the cost of the instrument, its portability (important if the band decides to tour) and of course the availability of instruction.
Except that is his own decision.
> Why bother?
Because a kid is a separate person, not an extension of your personality.
The relationship between a parent and child is not a democratic one. As a parent you have a responsibility to make choices for your child until they can make them for themselves. I do not agree with letting kids decide which developmental activities they will or will not partake in or how they will do so. Is that clear enough for you, sunshine?
I did not grow up with Asian parents. I do however come from a Eastern European background. There were times when my parents forced me, kicking and screaming, into certain social and academic pursuits. They encouraged me to excel, whether I wanted to or not. I am a better human for it and I am thankful for their guidance.
I went to university and didn't do anything there, aside from sample the local herbalists' produce. I didn't do much of anything in school either. During all of that time, due to the fact that my schedule was my own (sans school-time), I managed to teach myself software development. Not because it was a good career move, or because I wanted to impress anyone but because it was interesting.
Fast forward a decade and I now earn more than pretty much all of the people I grew up with, lead software projects and have leverage and freedom up to my ears.
You might want to read about Stockholm Syndrome.
EDIT: To clarify, I do not understand your argument at all. In my experience, excellence and ambition are traits that need to be cultivated. Sure, you can find them in-the-wild, but this is not a reliable approach.
Personal anecdote: when I was young I resented my parents for making me do all this "pointless crap". I even told my dad I hated him. He very calmly told me back "That's OK. You can hate me for this now. You will not hate me however when you're 22". He was right.
"Tiger parenting doesn't produce superior outcomes in kids"
Not to point out the obvious, but correlation doesn't equal causation. It could very well be that the worse grades a child gets, the more reason the parents have to become "tiger".
all the kids that had super-strict parents were screwed up in some way by the age of 25.
dropouts, burnouts, social maladjusts, booksmart losers, drug addicts, delinquents, criminals, etc.
not all asian parents are like that, but a LOT are, i'd say probably 4-5x the rate you'd find in the general population. /anecdata
>“Whenever scholars compare European-American and Asian-American families,” she said, parents among the latter “almost always score higher on controlling and lower on warmth, which means they’re more likely to be classified as authoritarian.” Yet, their kids were outperforming whites in school. This gave rise to the “achievement/adjustment paradox”: kids doing well by external measures while feeling torn apart inside.
One thing that comes to mind; at least in the Bay Area, asian students often grow up in whole communities made up of other asians, so even if their parents are mucking things up a bit, they are still fully immersed in the culture of extreme focus on academics and achievement.
This seemed cautionary to me.
Class. All the "tiger moms" are of high economic condition. Lower-classed Asian immigrants do not follow the model.
Even something as simple as when I took the train for the first time by myself going to uni. I was petrified I would miss my stop or something equally stupid, when the solution would be to just get off and hop onto a train that would take me back.
Again, I don't think I have a tiger mum, but she's awfully close.
Just as children of many non-tiger moms DON'T learn decision making and time management skills: some do, and some do not. There are other factors at play. At a certain age, it's near impossible for a tiger mom to control 100% of someone's life.
It is of course a poem, not a historical figure, but it was written all the same.
The 'Tiger' category emerged from a clustering analysis of parenting styles, and was defined by high scores on both positive ("Warmth, reasoning, monitoring, and democratic parenting") and negative ("hostility, psychological control, shaming, and punitive measures") dimensions.
The claim is that even when they show lots of warmth and positive parenting, parents who are also hostile and shaming, have kids who do just as poorly as the kids of very harsh, unsupportive parents.