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You have likely come across the controversial Wall Street Journal article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” or one of the appalled or unapologetic responses to the “Tiger Mother”. In the article (which is an excerpt from her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother“) Amy Chua discusses parenting differences between Chinese and Westerners proudly describing her childrens’ high academic standards (A’s in all subjects outside of PE and drama) and philosophy on substandard performance (“to excoriate, punish, and shame the child”). Amy notes that she is using the terms Chinese and Western loosely and goes on to describe her interpretation of the cultural differences with this conclusion:
“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”
If it was a reaction that she was looking for, Amy Chua has succeeded in her efforts. The article has generated over 7,500 comments on the newspaper website and she has received thousands of personal emails. The responses range from outcries of disgust to praise and admiration but it is undeniable that she has stirred up quite a conversation around the topic of parenting.
Sports parents, in particular, often face situations where they want to be supportive but also encourage their child to be the best athlete that they can be. As with many things in life, the answer seems to be somewhere in the middle, a balance of kindness and unconditional love while upholding high standards and morals. The concept of yin-yang: two necessary and complementary forces, neither is better than the other, but rather the ideal is a balance — sounds pretty close right? What do you think?