Different children require different parenting. CFP
It’s believed by many Chinese parents that hard work leads to success. Indeed, a number of parents in China adopt a strict parenting style to motivate their children to excel in their studies.
The idea of strict parents is certainly familiar to Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, who posted 26 study tips on her personal blog in September. The 25-year-old had recently finished her postgraduate studies at Yale University in the United States. Her post raised discussions about the parenting skills of her mother, Amy Chua, a Chinese-American professor at Yale Law School.
Chua was given the nickname “Tiger Mom” for her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, published in 2011, which includes the details of her strict parenting methods of raising her daughters.
Because of the book, she became a household name overnight and was even listed in Time Magazine’s Top 100 most influential people in 2011.
Chua set strict standards for her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu. For example, in school, they weren’t allowed to make grades lower than A’s. They had to play the piano or violin and practice for several hours a day. There were no sleepovers, play dates or TV.
Chua’s parenting received wide criticism.
“Children need their parents’ love and acceptance in order to develop real self-esteem. Belittling children sends the message that they are not worthy of love and support,” Lac Su, vice president of marketing for TalentSmart, a global think tank, wrote in CNN.
Some even predicted that the two girls “couldn’t possibly be happy or truly creative. They’ll grow up skilled and compliant but without the audacity to be great,” according to The New York Times.
However, seven years have passed and the girls have grown up. Both of them seem to lead a good life and are thankful about their mother. “People assume that tiger parenting would [lead to] low self-esteem because there isn’t that constant praise, but I think I [have got] a lot more confidence than some others, because my confidence is earned,” Lulu told New York Post. “[My mom] gave me the tools to drive my own confidence.”
Still, not everyone agrees with this. “Instead of motivating my children to achieve high grades, my dream is that, in the future, we can just sit together after dinner and have a family concert and enjoy the music,” Mike Wang, a Chinese parent with a 14-year-old daughter who lives in London, told China Daily.
Each child may just fit different parenting. As Gu Jun, a professor from Shanghai University put it, “No child is perfect, and parents don’t have to make their parenting perfect.”