A Brief History of Parenting – Part 2/3

June 12, 2011

Amy Chua’s so-called Chinese parenting style, identified as mostly Authoritarian, is the “CLASSIC” no nonsense do as I say, not as I do parenting style that first developed during Victorian England in the 18th century. The other parenting methods did not materialize until the 20th century, so how Amy Chua raised her two daughters had been in practice for more than two centuries.

Amy Chua says, “I believed that raising my two daughters the same way my Chinese immigrant parents raised me was the right way and that I had nothing to learn from the laxer parenting I saw all around me.” Source: USA Today

Positive Parenting Ally.com (PPA) says, “I think we can see the early seeds of the authoritarian parenting style in the 18th century. At that point in time, parents in the Western world (particularly the British) began taking the first steps toward a mind shift and become more involved in their children’s upbringing.”

PPA also says, “The mind of an authoritarian parent likes order, neatness, routine and predictability.… Children of authoritarian parents tend to do well in school and are said to generally not engage in drinking or drug use. They know the consensus rules and follow them.”

Instead of calling this method of parenting authoritarian or Chinese, I’ve used the term Old-World, which fits and is an acceptable choice of parenting

Authoritarian parenting was a vast improvement over how children had been raised (or not raised) before the 18th century. Prior to the authoritarian parent, children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishments such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death. In fact, the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History

It was in the 18th century that Western parents stopped seeing their child as a potential representation of dark and evil forces that had to be kept in check physically (harsh beatings etc.) and instead attempted controlling their minds, their feelings, and their needs.

Continued on June 13, 2011 in A Brief History of Parenting – Part 3 or return to Part One

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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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A Brief History of Parenting – Part 1/3

June 11, 2011

The Chinese did not develop the parenting style Amy Chua described in her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In fact, the Chinese may have learned this method of parenting from the British, French, Germans, Russians, Portuguese and Americans since this method of parenting was first developed in the West in the 18th century.

The 19th century invasion of China by Western powers during The Opium Wars explains what happened, and it was a British citizen from Northern Ireland that may have introduced this style of parenting to the Chinese.

This man was Sir Robert Hart, known as the godfather of China’s modernization. It was Hart, the main character in The Concubine Saga that guided the Qing Dynasty to restructure China’s educational system to compete with the superior, Western style of education of the time.

If you recall, the  West was going through the Industrial Revolution then.

Recently, I discovered that the one-star critic’s reviews of Amy Chua memoir of raising children the Chinese way had gone too far when another anonymous reviewer calling itself Tiger Indeed left this one-star review, “There once was a nation that fully endorsed these principals (referring to Amy Chua’s parenting methods). It was called the Soviet Union. Enough said.”

This wasn’t a book review. It was an ignorant, opinionated condemnation of the way Amy Chua raised her children.

Digging further, I discovered that Tiger Indeed has only reviewed one book. I’m sure you guessed the title: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Then I discovered Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist who’s pioneering work in the 1940s – 1960s identified the different methods of parenting.

Baumrind described Amy Chua’s parenting method but the way Chua raised her daughters wasn’t from one method as there is some crossover between Authoritarian and Authoritative.

Continued on June 12, 2011 in A Brief History of Parenting – Part 2

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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.

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.


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

View as Single Page

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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Earth to Earth, Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes

March 31, 2010

It may take more than a few decades to change China’s culture to value girls equal to boys. China’s government is working to make that happen—that journey started in 1949, when Mao said, “Women hold up half the sky.” It isn’t easy overcoming several thousand years of culture.

Faith’s journey started at the age of two from rural China where poverty and a life of hard labor can be crushing. To encourage poor parents, who want a boy instead of a girl, not to throw a female infant in the closest river, government run orphanages have a no-punishment policy toward parents that abandon girls. Orphanages are surrounded by a wall with a drawer in that wall where parents may leave the child. The parent rings a bell, then hurries away.

Michelle Dremmer traveled from Chicago to China  more than fifteen years ago to rescue one of those orphans. She fell in love with the two-year-old, who was past the desired age of many adoptive parents, and she gave Faith a life of “happiness, opportunity and love” that few orphans in China experience.

Faith Dremmer

Another journey of five-hundred miles started on bikes and ended in tragedy for Faith, who was 17. I first wrote about this in Saying Goodbye, soon after hearing about the accident that claimed Faith’s life. Two of the girls survived. One spent eleven hours in surgery.

The driver of the van, who hit the girls, was an 86-year-old man. He was not injured. A friend of the driver said he was a good Christian who never drank and was close to his family—three children, six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. I cannot imagine the burden of guilt he will carry for what life he has left.

I cry easily watching movies. It doesn’t take much to turn on the tears. My wife and daughter know this and when one of those scenes appears on the screen, they always look.

Doesn’t make sense. I shouldn’t cry that easily. After all, I’m a former United States Marine. I fought in Vietnam and taught in tough, barrio schools for thirty years where you had to be “mean” (what I call tough love without physical violence) to survive. It embarrasses me when those tears appear in public against my will.

The tears let lose this morning when I was alone. I went on-line and read about Faith’s funeral in the Chicago Tribune. Nearly 1,300 mourners attended. Actually, I read six pieces that started with the accident and Faith’s death to the one where a photo with my  daughter and three of Faith’s friends were walking back into the temple with their arms around each other. They had just carried Faith’s coffin to the hearse.

In another Chicago Tribune piece, there’s a picture showing the four girls carrying the coffin from the temple. The pain is etched on their faces. Maybe I cry easily when others suffer because I saw so much brutality and death in the war, or it’s something in my DNA that I inherited from my mother. She was the weepy sort—not my father.

I’m looking at the “goodbye” photo in the Chicago Tribune as I write this. I see one girl’s head bent in agony.

Although I can’t see her face and eyes, my daughter is holding a tissue in one white gloved hand. I think she is crying.

Every since I drove my wife and daughter to the airport, I’ve been alone with my thoughts—my emotions.

I didn’t know Faith as well as my wife and daughter did. My wife was with Michelle when they went to China to get Faith. My daughter spent six early years of her life in the same house with Faith and Michelle. As children, they grew up closest friends. As teens, they were separated by more than two thousand miles.

I read some of Faith’s words in the Chicago Tribune and heard her voice. “You ask me who my mother is, and I say Michelle Dremmer. She is my mother and will always be.” And Michelle says, “I didn’t save Faith. She saved me.”

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