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The Controversy Between Parenting Styles: Chinese and Western Parents

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All people who have children do not have the exact same parenting styles as each other. Every household raises their child differently from other households and has different expectations for them. In Amy Chua’s novel “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” she argues the contrasts of parenting between Chinese mothers and Western parents. Are the Chinese mothers too harsh on their children or are the Western parents just too lenient? Chua describes herself as the Chinese mother in her novel and talks about how she raises her two daughters to be perfect Chinese children which is very different from being raised as a Western child.

To begin with, Chua lists all of the things her daughters Sophia and Louisa were forbidden from doing. She did not let her daughters “Attend any sleepovers, go to playdates, get a grade lower than an A, or never not be the number one student in her class.” Growing up having more Western parents I highly disagree with Chua’s list of things her daughters were not allowed to do. I believe that a child should never feel pressured to be perfect from their parents, they should have some say in what they want to do as well. Western parents do a good job of letting children be more independent and having some individuality, as for the Chinese mother that Chua is she pushes too many limits and overrides her daughters preferences. Traditional Chinese parents gravitate towards being more strict and precise in what they want for their kids, they overburden their children with large amounts of school work and music but they do not let them be in any sports. “Once, she threatened to burn all of one of her daughter’s stuffed animals unless she played a piece of music perfectly” Brooks stated this in his article “Amy Chua is Wimp” This shows that Chinese mothers definitely take things to an extreme level when it comes to their parenting style. They threaten their children with things that Western Parents would never do. It just shows the uttermost of what being a Chinese mother is like. Eventually the children of Chinese mothers are going to get frustrated and realize that they are rarely going to be able to have any real excitement because they aren’t able to do the same things as the other kids in their class they also continue to get threatened with things from their parents, which can really bring them down.

In addition, Chua quotes “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.” I do agree with the fact that children never want to work on their own because I as a child did not want to either. I would beg for my mother to let me do my homework after dinner so that I had a ton of time to play before doing it. I do understand that it is sometimes a good thing to hover over your children so that they get their work done and get decent grades in their classes. Doing this shows your child that yes they can have fun but should focus on their academics as well and to balance school and fun. Chua believes “Chinese parents can get away with things Western parents can’t.” She uses an example about how her father had called her a rude name because of something she had done when she was younger. She quotes that “I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that.” She mentions that “Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue.” Chua believes that the verbal and emotional abuse she gives her daughters motivates them. This is because Chinese parents can be completely honest with their children about how they feel and tell them how it is even if it’s not always the nicest thing to say. Although for the Western parents they think of their children’s self esteem as such a sensitive topic and don’t want to say anything to trigger their feelings or hurt them. They make their child feel good even if they should speak up and say something, but they are too scared to.

Apart from this, Western parents are the parents who let you go out and do basically whatever you want most of the time, they allow you to have boyfriends and do things the Chinese mother would never let their children even think of doing. Chinese mothers would never allow this to happen because they are more so worried about your academics and music than your dating life or other matters that don’t involve getting work done. I somewhat agree with the fact that the Chinese mothers would think a relationship would get in the way of your intellectual level or even distract you from anything school related. Being in a relationship does cause some distractions in your life but it is possible to balance your academics and a relationship, I don’t think parents should prevent you from dating anyone, if anything they should be supportive of your happiness.

Alternatively, no matter what Chua stated in her book, her daughters take her side on all situations. In a video “Child of Tiger Mom Speaks Out” her daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld came to her defense to say “I really do feel like your approach was more about giving me the confidence and just kind of the work habits from an early age to be able to do what I want to do later.” This meaning that Chua did not do all of the things she did from the verbal abuse to the threatening of burning of toys for nothing. She did this so that one day her daughter’s can be just as successful as she is and to thank her for the confidence they have gained from having a Chinese mother.

In conclusion, all parents have their differences in the way that they parent their child. Western Parents are much more reasonable and compatible in letting you choose for yourself and giving you some freedom. Chua as the Chinese mother is more strict and does not let you have much fun other than academics or piano. What I can say is that it does show that the Chinese mother does slightly care more than the Western parents because of how hard they push them to success. Teaching your child that life is not always fun unless you try hard at it and have the skills you need to exceed is a great way of preparing them for the future, but as parents you should be more willing to listen to your child and their needs. No matter if your a Chinese parent or a Western parent you should always make sure your child is happy even if it means they don’t want to do everything you make them do. You should let them live a little because your only a child once in your life.                                    

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The Controversy Between Parenting Styles: Chinese And Western Parents. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“The Controversy Between Parenting Styles: Chinese And Western Parents.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
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