Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 3/3

May 31, 2011

Guest post from Hannah in China

In fact, in China, children should not argue with their parents and the child must do what the parents say.

When the child is good at studying, it means “Guang Zong Yao Zu”, (bring honor to your ancestors).

When you get the low score (100% score is best. 60% means you barely passed the exam. 90% is good. However, even just 1% lower and the child gets the “cold face”).

This not only means teachers calling parents endless times for meetings and punishment from the parents but it embarrasses your ancestors too.

This means when children are doing the homework, parents watch them until they finish to insure no mistakes.

Another recent review from Amazon.US points out an interesting thought. “The (Amy Chua) book raises an important question: Is America’s assumed educational mediocrity really the fault of our public schools (as some believe) or is it the fault of an epidemic of indulgent parenting (as others believe)? Asian kids seem to do remarkably well in the public schools… and raising little complaint about the quality of the schools.”

As for myself, Hanna writes, I think I’m the lucky one born in a family offering more freedom. Luckily I was a good student so my parents didn’t have to pay as much attention to me.

Did they spoil me? Sure. Did they care about my feelings? Yes, because they allowed me talk and argue with them.

If your child is no good at school, you must still love them. However, being strict so they have a good future is not worth it if they hate you later. No matter what kind of family you live in – strict or spoiled – the important thing is to love. Then the world can be better place.

(From the Blog’s host) Amy Chua was heard from again recently when she wrote for USA Today, Tiger Mom: Here’s how to reshape U.S. education.

Chua says, “My memoir — seen in the West as a story about “extreme” parenting — is being marketed the opposite way in China, as a story about the importance of giving kids more freedom. Amusingly, the book’s title in China is Parenting by a Yale Professor: Raising Kids in America, and I was asked by one Chinese women’s magazine to give its readers tips on “how to be friends with your kids.”

Return to Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Discover Hannah’s review of Red Mansion, a Chinese TV series, or visit her Blogs at Hannah Travel Adventure (Chinese) or Hannah China Backpacker (English)


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Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 2/3

May 30, 2011

Guest post from Hannah in China

In addition, modern Chinese are also having many new chances but this still won’t change the way most Chinese parents raise children, because China now has the “Gaokao”, which is the high school examination to get into a university or college.

Because of the competition, parents can’t afford or wouldn’t dare to let the child just play and have fun. Children don’t know what is best for them.

Parents must force them to study but spoil them at the same time. When the child gets the great score, that means everything to parents. The kids don’t have to do anything else in life but study. Therefore, the story is the boy went into a famous college but didn’t know how to peal the eggshell.

Note from Blog host: Another review from Amazon.UK supports what Hanna is saying. The reviewer wrote, “I know how appalling some of those things sound to many. Not me, since I am Chinese myself and I have been brought up that same way, if not more strict.…. However when I grow up (now 40), I see the vast difference of parenting among other people in different countries (I live in UK now with my English husband), and what repercussions it has on the kids when they grow up. I am glad I was brought up the way I was.”

Hanna says, “Chinese parenting is not about ‘feelings’, but it’s not to say that the parents do not care.”

The child has to finish the school homework to 10 pm at night five days a week. Then after school, the child goes to the special training to develop other skills such as piano. This is not about what the the child is interested but it’s what the parents decided based on what they believe is necessary. What we learn in China is that the children have to attend eight different hobbies classes. There’s no free time.

Continued on May 31, 2011 with Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Discover Hannah’s review of Red Mansion, a Chinese TV series, or visit her Blogs at Hannah Travel Adventure (Chinese) or Hannah China Backpacker (English)


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Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 1/3

May 29, 2011

A Guest post from Hannah in China

Before I start to talking about Chinese parents and children, first let us have a look of the currently pretty hot arguing book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is a Chinese-American Yale law professor mom that wrote about how she was strict with her two daughters by making a lot of can’t doing rules, and she was acting like a wicked witch to push them to study.

I will not comment on which parenting method is better, Chinese or Western.

What I want to say is the book’s author Amy Chua’s way of parenting is typically Chinese though she is 4th-generation American.

Note from Blog host: Evidence of this may be found among reviews and comments on Amazon.UK. Rosie in the UK wrote, “I am Chinese now living in the UK and I admit I was outraged when I first read the WSJ excerpt of her (Amy Chua’s) book. My first thoughts were I can’t believe anyone would do something like that to their children. However, as I thought more about it and I guess living out here in the UK I’ve been so used to the numbing and dummying of our children’s perceived fragile self esteem and always making sure that their feelings and wants are met for fear of damaging them emotionally, I forgot that, hey, I was brought up pretty much the same way.”

Hanna says, “We Chinese have a long history of parents being strict with their children. From old days, the Ke Ju Kaoshi (official examination) was the only chance for people to change their fate and life.

“To achieve this, they must study really hard. We have an old saying about this “Shi Nian Han Chuang Ku Du Ri, Jin Chao Jin Bang Ti Ming Shi”, which means “Ten years of study at a cold window only for the day of passing the examination.”

“To study, students must be pushed even by using the stick.”

Continued on May 30, 2011 with Modern Chinese Parents and Children – Part 2

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Discover Hannah’s review of Red Mansion, a Chinese TV series, or visit her Blogs at Hannah Travel Adventure (Chinese) or Hannah China Backpacker (English)


To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

Mean Chinese Supermoms are Right while Positive Self-Esteemism is Wrong

January 13, 2011

Thanks to an old friend, I recently read Amy Chua’s excellent January 8, Saturday Essay in The Wall Street Journal of Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.

That essay activated the dendrites in my dyslexic, PTSD challenged brain, which started to buzz with ideas for this post.

Then I thought of my mother, who defied the early tide of Positive Self-Esteemism that started to wash America clean of common sense as early as the 1950s. I shudder to think of what might have happened to me if she hadn’t done that.

Most “isms” have something to offer. Capitalism offers that a few get filthy rich. Socialism offers protection for the working class from greedy capitalists so the workers at least have food and shelter.

However, Positive Self-Esteemism has nothing to offer. It is a cancer eating the young minds of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Amy Chua, a professor at the Yale Law School and author of the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, may be on a crusade to save American education by pointing out why Chinese mothers do a better job raising children that go on to do better in school.

Don’t you find it interesting that bad American teachers are blamed for the academic failure of many American students, while most Chinese-American students learned from those same teachers and go on to academic success anyway? Our daughter, who is Chinese-American, had bad teachers too but she also had mean parents, and she was accepted to Stanford University after graduating from high school with a 4.65 GPA.

Horror of horrors, as a child, our daughter had no telephone or TV in her room and no video games. Instead of watching TV nightly as most American kids do, she had to read. The TV was on only two hours a week to watch 20/20 and 60 Minutes.

In her Wall Street Journal essay, Chua says, “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.”

Amy Chu talks of her book, Day of Empire.

I despise Positive Self-Esteemism as much as or more than America’s Founding Fathers despised democracy.

I learned the hard way years ago how wrong Positive Self-Esteemism was. I taught for thirty years as a classroom teacher in the public schools and was in the trenches being shot at on an annual basis by the politically correct troops spreading this cancer.

In fact, we teachers were told to stop using the word “work” to describe the assignments we had our students doing because studies pointed out that American kids don’t like work. It was also suggested that we correct student work with green ink instead of red because red makes kids feel bad.

However, back in 1952, I was fortunate. For a brief time my mother defied Positive Self-Esteemism and taught me to read when educational experts decided I would never learn to read or write. A decade earlier, the same verdict had been made of my brother and he died illiterate at 64.

At 17, my brother Richard had already been in jail and was drinking booze and doing drugs. He was cutting school too. Why go when you cannot read?

Without knowing it, due to my older brother’s behavior, our mother learned the hard way that Positive Self-Esteemism was wrong. She didn’t blame bad teachers or the schools as many American parents are doing today.

After mother heard the verdict that her youngest son would also be illiterate, she drove home in tears. Both my mother and dad [due to the Great Depression they both dropped out of school at fourteen to work and never graduated from high school] loved to read. The thought of me not sharing a passion for the written word was too much to bear.

By the time we reached home, mother decided to teach me behind closed doors where none of the early shock troops of Positive Self-Esteemism could accuse her of being an abusive parent.

To motivate me, mother used a wire coat hanger and mean language. If I complained, mother hit me with the coat hanger and accused me of being stupid.

I learned to read and write.

When mother was 89 and near death, she asked my forgiveness for being mean to motivate me to read.  Mother said she had lived with guilt for what she had done for more than five decades.

I replied, “Mom, I wished you had told me this before. There is no reason to feel guilty or ask me for forgiveness for teaching me to read by being mean. If you hadn’t done that, I would have followed in Richard’s footsteps. Without being able to read, I may have gone to jail as he did. Thank you for using that coat hanger. Thank you for being mean and forcing me to learn.”

A few weeks later my mother died.

My brother spent fifteen years in jail, was an alcoholic and dabbled seriously in drugs. All those flaws didn’t matter to me. I still loved my brother.

He died having never read a book. In fact, if he were alive today, he wouldn’t be able to read Amy Chua’s work.

Learn more of how the Self-Esteem Movement Helps Cripple US Education System


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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Education Chinese Style – Part 4

February 11, 2010

In America, liberal minded professors talk about ways to limit entrance to the qualified and allow the unqualified in. I witnessed this dumbing down of America many times during my thirty years as a public school teacher, and I refused to take part. I challenged my students and was always under attack from parents and administrators. Some parents demanded that their children be removed from my class so the child’s self-esteem wouldn’t suffer.

In China, students spend most of their school years intensely studying to take exams that will allow a few to get into college. The universities in China  have room for only a few eligible students. For that reason, after school, many students are tutored or take private classes to get ready for the next school day.

Chinese elementary students where the pressure starts.

My wife told me a story about a boy she knew when she was growing up in Shanghai. His grades were horrible. When his parents found out, they took off their shoes and started to beat their son to death. The teacher had to step in and save the boy. The parents did not blame the teacher for the boy’s lack of success. They blamed themselves and the child.

 See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.