Amy Chua on Superior Chinese Mothers

I’m sure that Amy Chua had no idea she was about to light a Baby Boomer fuse that would explode when she wrote her essay published in The Wall Street Journal about Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

In 2000, Paul Begala, a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”

Begala was right.

The Boomers also gave birth to the narcissistic, self-esteem generation.

Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother went on sale today (January 11, 2011), and my wife and I went to the local Barnes and Noble and bought a copy.

Nancy (not her real name), who works for Barnes and Noble, told us of an experience she had substitute teaching in a girls P.E. Class. She said there were about 150 girls. Half were Asian and half were Caucasian.  When Nancy told them to sit and read or do what they wanted, the Asians took out books and studied. The Caucasians started to text, do makeup and gossip.

Studies show that the average American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attend a parent-teacher conference. Boomer parents are so self-absorbed with other interests that TV, the Internet, video games and other teens raised many of their children.

However, when Chinese mothers come together, their conversations focus on their children and education, which explains why studies show Asian students have the lowest incidence of STDs, teen pregnancy, illegal drug use and the highest GPAs, graduation rates from high school and highest ratio of college attendance.

What do you think Boomer mothers talk about when they get together?

A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it is obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

The vicious responses I have been reading on Blogs and in some book reviews are obviously a guilt reaction for not being good parents. The truth hurts.

Learn about Education Chinese Style


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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3 Responses to Amy Chua on Superior Chinese Mothers

  1. […] to become stronger, disciplined, adults with a better chance to survive and succeed, comes from Amy Chua, who wrote an infamous essay for The Wall Street Journal then with the release of her memoir, […]

  2. Rob says:

    I have an issue with this statement- the Boomers aren’t parents anymore. Your average boomer is now in their 60’s, it’s the children of the Boomers (Gen X) that are the parents right now. That said, Gen X are indeed extremely self-absorbed as a whole, and learned their parenting styles from the Boomers.

    • What you say is true about most Boomers not being the parents anymore. However, the Boomer parenting style was the role model for the children of the Boomers, as you said, and those children learned their parenting style from the Boomers and each generation is usually worse than the last that sets a bad example.

      Imagine what the children of Gen X are going to be like and the children of that generation and so on. If the quality of parenting in the US continues to slide into the slime, what will this country be like in a century?

      As I was nearing the end of thirty years of teaching in a US public school in 2005, less than 5% of the studients I taught did the homework, studied for tests or read books. When I started teaching in 1975 well over half of the students I taught turned in homework and studied and the average GPA among my students was much higher than it was at the end. No matter how many phone calls or letters to parents I made, nothing changed and I was told by the high school administration that I made more phone calls than any other teacher of a staff of about a 100. I also wrote more referrals for poor student behavior than any other teacher.

      Nothing I did could get most of the students I struggled to teach to take their education seriously and most of the kids expected to be given good grades on their report cards. They did not expect to earn those grades.

      As it is, most of these parents (Boomers, Gen X and so on) take little to no responsibility for the academic performance of their children and blame the teachers when those same children don’t do well in school or on standardized tests. Yet, it is the parents responsibility to make sure homework is done and encourage a love of reading while saying “NO” to such distractions as TV, the Internet, texting, social networking, listening to music, playing video games, etc. The same slide into the slime is happening to Chinese-American parents that were born in Chinese-American families living in the US for several generations. However, the slide of Chinese-American parents is a bit slower than the rest, which explains why Asian-America, which includes Chinese-American, students perform better on standardized test scores, earn higher grades in the public schools, graduate at higher numbers compared to the other racial groups, enter college in higher numbers, have lower numbers of STDs, teen pregnancies, and drug use.

      The statistics that I’ve been tracking for years all support the fact that the parenting style of most Chinese mothers is superior than that of all other ethnic groups in America except one—the Jews and possibly the Mormons but I have no data to support this statement about the Jews and Mormons just personal observations from the few I’ve known that their perspective and values of education are different than most the nation.

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