Author: Amy Chua
Sarah P’s pick
This is the account of Amy Chua, a Professor of Law at Yale University and the mother to two girls. Chua follows what she calls the Chinese way of bringing up children rather than the Western way (although she does acknowledge the term Chinese mother or Western parents does not apply to everyone from these cultures).
The children had a strict upbringing- no TV, no play dates, no sleepovers and high expectations- no grades less than an A, hours of music practice daily, extra Maths drills and Mandarin lessons.
I was curious to see how she enforces this – I struggle to get one of my daughters to complete her homework and practice her music a couple of times a week for 10-15 minutes!
Chua goes a lot into the philosophy of why she brings up her children this way and the different beliefs between the cultures. For example “For Chinese people, when it comes to parents, nothing is negotiable. Your parents are your parents, you owe everything to them (even if you don’t), and you have to do everything for them (even if it destroys your life).” She expects obedience from her children and believes (as Western parents do) that she is dong the best for them. Chua puts a lot of time, effort and money into her children but admits it is a struggle and at times you feel hated by your children.
Her older daughter is the model child- good student, helpful at home, played at Carnegie Hall at the age of fourteen. However the younger daughter resists and fights back. After reading this book I was left wondering if the results are worth the effort and the lost childhood of these children (and undoubtedly many others). But then I definitely fall into the camp of Western parent and I am still struggling to get my daughter to do her homework!