If you’ve ever wondered where you went wrong in parenting, this Chinese mother may have some answers for you. Just remember, there’s more than one right way to raise children. Enjoy.

6 thoughts to “Good Read

  • Janie

    Wow, what an unnerving but inspiring article. It really made me want to rethink how I parent my children!

  • Beth

    Ms.Chua’s memoir was reviewed in the Washington Post 1/9/2011. All I can say is, I’m glad I wasn’t raised by a mother like that. And my (adult) children feel the same way! Personally, I’m always leery of extremes–and extremism.

  • The gold digger

    And many wrong ways! I suspect most people would consider forcing a seven year old to practice the piano for hours and hours without a bathroom or meal break to be a little extreme. And cruel.

  • Blanc2

    My wife forwarded the same article to me because it resonates with the many very similar things we do with our own kids. The high school senior son of some friends of ours was notified a month or so ago that he was accepted at Stanford, early admission. We asked them the secret to their success, how had they gotten their son to perform at such a high level: “We pushed him mercilessly.” What we have learned is that it is amazing how much children can acheive if you simply expect them to do so. “The soft bigotry of low expectations” and all that. We send our kids to a school that is famous for its very rigorous and challenging acadmeics. Yet the kids walking around the school don’t seem stressed. They are happy and well adjusted. My son, 9th grade, is doing pre-calc, which for most Americans is 12th grade math. Assuming he stays on track, he will exhaust all available levels of AP by the end of his junior year and will work at the university his senior year. He performs beautiful classical music on the piano — real stuff, the pieces that performing professional concern pianists would play. Etc. Left to his own devices, though, he would be wasting his life in front of a video game console or sending endless numbers of banal text messages to his buddies.

  • Blanc2

    Anybody with young kids and a concern for their futures needs to watch the movie “Two Million Minutes.” The title refers to the approximate duration of a typical child’s high school career. The film explores how many of that 2 million minutes are spent studying. It compares a cross section of students from China, India and the US. “Studying” is defined broadly to include being in class, doing homework or other school projects, studying for tests, tutoring, etc.

    The upshot is that the average Chinese teen spends more than 400,000 of those minutes studying. In India it’s between 350,000 and 400,000. In the US it’s closer to 280,000. One of the points to all of this is that for anybody with young children today, your child’s competition for admission to elite universities is probably not attending your child’s school, nor any other school in your town, your state or your country. That competition lives on the other side of the globe and is working hard, burning the candle at both ends, to be the winner.


  • Blanc2

    There is quite a stir over this story all over the internet. See below for a bit more analysis. As I said to a friend, that line between compromisiing on low expectations and pushing too hard is elusive, ephemeral, ever-moving. It’s something that my wife and I are constantly trying to limn.


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