The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 1/2

July 2, 2012

Jian Ping, the author of the Mulberry Child memoir, grew up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Her father was one of the victims. The reason she came to the US was to provide a better life for her daughter. However, her daughter grew up to become a member of “The Sex and the City” generation and resisted learning what life was like for her mother in China.

Ping could not express her feelings to her daughter, who was taking life for granted and feeling she was entitled to the lifestyle so many young Americas take for granted today.

What I learned while researching “Mulberry Child” was that many privileged young people in America may be cursed to repeat history because they are taking life for granted as if they were entitled to the world their parents worked so hard to create.

In fact, most children in America have no concept of what life was like in the US less than a hundred years ago when children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishment such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death—the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History

No matter what storm comes, you must be strong!

To understand Jian Ping’s struggle with her daughter Lisa, it helps to know what Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today, Why Chinese Mothers Really are Superior. “On average,” Dr. Twenge wrote, “Asian parents use more discipline and insist upon hard work more than Western parents. And on average, their kids do better…”

“Mulberry Child” (the documentary) takes an in-depth look at the relationship between a mother and daughter revealing the disconnect that often takes place between immigrant parents and their American raised/born children.

Do not underestimate the negative influence of children raised to have a strong sense of self esteem.

In America, the children of immigrants are often influenced by these peers, which prepares them to become members of the “Sex and the City” generation believing they are entitled to a privileged life and that happiness is guaranteed. Most American children have no concept of how unrealistic this attitude of entitlement is.

However, it is not easy for the older generation to teach their children and grandchildren how difficult it was to survive and reach America and how much hard work and sacrifice it took to succeed once they arrived.

To understand what happens when the children born/raised in the US are disconnected from their immigrant parents/grandparents, America’s children should take the same journey Lisa’s mother provided through her memoir and the documentary of “Mulberry Child”.

Continued on July 3, 2012 in The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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When it comes to Parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All – Part 5/5

April 11, 2011

There is a difference in values and education between urban and rural parents since many Chinese in rural China never went to school or had a school close to the village while larger towns and cities all had schools.

In the last thirty years that has been changing. After Mao died in 1976 and as late as 1980, twenty percent of Chinese were literate and 80% were not.  In the last thirty years, literacy has been raised to above 90%. If the average Chinese parent was a SAP, that wouldn’t have happened. 

In fact, I’ve heard that Amy Tan’s (the author of The Joy Luck Club) mother’s primary concern was that her daughter speak English without an accent.

Amy Tan writes that her mother wanted her to be a doctor and a concert pianist. Amy Tan’s mother was an immigrant from mainland China and she was not a SAP parent by any definition but she wasn’t as extreme as Amy Chua either.

China’s leaders in Beijing knew that for China to modernize and prosper, the people would have to be literate and educated so starting in the 1980s, the public schools spread into rural China for the first time in history to reach as much of the rural population as possible.

However, urban education is still better than rural education. It takes more than a generation to bring about changes this drastic.

Meanwhile, the opposite is happening in the United States where the average literate person reads at or below fifth-grade level and among younger Americans we find few serious readers.

While China promotes education and is supported by Tiger Parents of all stripes, in America for the last sixty years, the SAPs have waged a war on education to make learning more fun than educational, which has damaged America’s ability to maintain its economic status in the world.

To reverse this trend, what America needs is more Tiger Parents of all stripes and fewer SAPs.

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1


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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Many Roads to Raise a Child

March 27, 2011

My last post was about The Role of Religion, and I quoted Henry L. Carrigan Jr’s piece published in ForeWord magazine.

Following Carrigan’s piece was another excellent review of nine more books.  This review was also seamless but written by Diane Gardner. The theme was good parents rebel: atypical ways to raise a child.

Gardner says, “Grandparents, friends, and experts all suggest the ‘right’ way to parent, and there are countless books intended to help, but many only add to the pressure.”

She writes, “while providing thoughtful guidance, they (the nine books) explore nonconforming options for parents. From suggestions on how to give birth to discipline advice…”

Gardner’s review couldn’t come at a better time as the debate rages between the SAPs (the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) and Tiger Parents such as Chinese-American Amy Chua, the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, although Chua hasn’t put up much resistance.

If you do not believe a debate is raging, visit and read the four and five star reviews along with the following comments. Some of these people are obsessive and mentally disturbed.

Gardner writes of The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood (University of California Press), “mixed or even negative emotions about motherhood are neither evil nor uncommon…. Some parents claim societal pressures go so far as to tell them how to feel and what to do.”

In Trucking’ with Sam: A Father and Son, the Mick and the Dyl, Rockin’ and Rollin’, on the Road (State University of New York Press), Gardner says, “sometimes the more unconventional ways to bond prove more effective than the traditional family dinners and game nights,” and of First the Broccoli Then the Ice Cream: A Parent’s Guide to Deliberate Discipline (Two Fish, Inc) Gardner quotes psychologist Tim Riley and why time-outs often don’t work and suggests using more meaningful penalties instead, such as loss of TV privileges (great idea).

In fact, the emotional debate that Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal and her memoir caused arrives at the right time as the US ponders how to improve educational outcomes in the public schools.

The key to a child’s success in school is often the parent and while most children and teens only have one or two parent/s, those same students may have as many as fifty teachers kindergarten to the end of high school.

Just reading Diane Gardner’s good parents rebel: atypical ways to raise a child will provide more fuel for the American parenting debate that is long overdue. The average American SAP parenting model is the real reason for the failure of public education in the US.

It is time for the average American parent to change course.

Discover how Amy Chua invaded China and ignited a parenting debate in the Middle Kingdom.


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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It Started on a Sunday Hike (the home taught child) – Part 3/3

March 10, 2011

Those that read my work regularly may know that I was a public school teacher in Southern California for thirty years.

During that time, some of the toughest parents I met were Christian fundamentalist evangelicals and none was SAP parents (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness).

One Caucasian student was home taught by his parents because they feared exposure to children raised by SAP parents and taught by teachers pressured to dumb down the work while inflating grades by the same SAPs.

However, when he was old enough to go to high school, he managed to convince his parents to allow him to be among teens his own age.  It was obvious from the start that this tall, pale skinned Caucasian teen had been raised by Tough Love parents (probably not as demanding as Amy Chua) to be a disciplined, polite young man that earned excellent grades in high school.

When his parents enrolled him in the high school where I taught, they requested the counselor put him in the toughest teachers’ classes.

As a ninth grade student, he ended in my English class where I recruited him into my journalism class.

Most high school journalism students are disciplined and work hard.

Then, in his senior year, he became editor-in-chief of the high school student newspaper, and I was the faculty advisor. He never missed a deadline. He even managed to intern at a local newspaper his last semester in high school.

Last time we shared e-mails a few years ago, he was the news anchor for a network TV station in Palm Desert, California. He’d even spent a tour in the US Navy.

The fact is that there are great Tough Love parents in America but the average US parent according to many studies is a SAP that allows the child to spend an average of 10 hours a day watching TV, on the Internet probably on Facebook, playing video games or sending out hundreds of text messages while eating unhealthy food.

The SAP crowd is noisy and nosey.  For example, I just searched Amazon for books with topics on Self Esteem and discovered 3,358 books with those words in the title or description.

When I searched Tough Love, the results came back with eighteen titles.

I also discovered that there’s a Website that talks about Self Esteem Magazines for Children. I didn’t find any magazines about Tough Love, but Chinese parents don’t need magazines to know how to be a better parent than a SAP.

Return to It Started on a Sunday Hike -Part 2


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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

It started on a Sunday Hike (the Lunar New Year dinner) – Part 2/3

March 9, 2011

At a recent Chinese-American Lunar New Year dinner, all Asians were talking about Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal, Why Chinese mothers are superior, and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

They were angry with Chua. They said Chua was going to make their job as parents more difficult since most American Caucasian parents would stereotype them and disapprove.

Since most of the Chinese-Americans I know were born and raised in mainland China, I had to remind them that Amy Chua grew up in the US and was not Chinese but Chinese-American.

While her Middle Kingdom born and raised mother and overseas Chinese father raised her using perfectly acceptable, universal Tough Love parenting methods, she was also exposed to America’s evangelical atmosphere where far to many preach his or her brand of parenting, religion, politics and lifestyle as if it were the only acceptable way to live.

Among Chinese in America or China, I’ve seldom heard anyone preach what he or she believes is the best way to raise children, live and worship.

However, one of my closest Caucasian friends in the US does nothing but preach.

The consensus among the Asians I’ve heard was that it was wrong of Amy Chua to brand Tough Love parenting as a Chinese method.

In fact, it isn’t. All through history, Tough Love has been the way most parents raised children all over the globe. SAP (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) is the exception and is a recent, flawed belief. The SAP parenting model could be called the curse of a wealthy family or culture, which often leads to its downfall.

According to the reader reviews for Amy Chua’s memoir at, at 11:59 AM on Sunday, February 06, 2011, one-hundred-and-fifty-seven (157) people rated her memoir as a four or five star read.

Many of these four and five star reviews were thoughtful, long and well written.

In contrast, there were one-hundred-thirteen (113) one or two star reviews and most that I read were short with a few long-winded rants that seldom go into detail about the book itself.

The results show that more than 58% of reader reviews enjoyed her work or supported some level of Tough Love parenting leaving 42% opposed to her memoir/parenting style.

I didn’t count the three star reviews since they are somewhat neutral.

Then there is the on-line opinion poll the Wall Street Journal conducted to discover which style of parenting was considered best for raising children.

The Permissive Western parenting style most practiced by SAPs, earned 37.7% of the 35,201 votes, while 62.3% voted for Demanding Eastern parenting.

The results from Amazon reader reviews and the WSJ poll on the subject seem to indicate that SAPs make up about 40% the population, which may represent the “average” American parent and child.

To be Continued in Part 3

Return to It started on a Sunday Hike – Part 1


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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.