Parenting Tactics Amy Chua Got Right

Introduction:

While I definitely disagree with many of Amy Chua's parenting tactics--and while I have another list of five parenting mistakes she made--I do feel that she has emphasized a few values and ideals that are beneficial to her children. I think that many Western parents are quick to label all of her strategies as abusive and ineffective, but they are missing out on some valuable advice. Here are the five parenting tactics that Amy Chua got right in my opinion.

Viewing Children As Strong Rather Than Weak

This is the idea from Amy Chua's parenting style that I feel most strongly about. Children should be treated as though they have the power to influence their own grades through their own hard work. They should feel strong, competent, and empowered. While I think that name calling, shaming, and threatening are all too extreme, the fundamental attitude that children are strong--not fragile--can greatly help children. It encourages them to view themselves as strong and capable instead of weak and helpless.

Encouraging Effort Over Excuse

Too often, parents in the US will run straight to the teacher or principle when their child gets a bad grade. "The class is too hard," "the grading is unfair," "the teacher is biased." The first impulse is never, "maybe my child needs to work harder or learn better study skills." What does this teach our kids? That their mistakes are never their own fault. They're trained to make excuses for poor work, rather than looking inwardly and developing better study habits.

Valuing Respect For the Family

"Kids these days have no sense of respect for their elders." I've heard this statement so much it's making my ears hurt. I doubt anyone in Amy Chua's family is whining that their children aren't respecting them. Maybe the way that Chua gained respect was too harsh, but at least it was effective. When parents whine and act like victims because they don't have respect from their children, they are setting a bad example, and they are even less likely to gain that respect. I think that respect for elders is something that children need to be taught, and if children lack that respect, it's a sign that their parents didn't teach them properly.

Not Indulging Impulse

I do think that kids should be allowed to pursue their own interests, go to summer camp, and pick their own instruments to play. However, this freedom has gone overboard in the West. People leave their kids in front of the TV for hours each day, let them eat junk food all the time, and never discipline them to do their homework when they don't "feel like it." Chua's strict, scheduled regimen might have gone overboard, but she taught her children the value of self-control and hard work even when they don't feel like it.

Setting Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Inconsistent parenting can create a huge amount of confusion in young children. In her parenting, Amy Chua was very clear about her expectations, consequences, and discipline. I don't agree with the boundaries and expectations that she set, but I agree that clear boundaries should exist for children. In the West, many parents will set rules, then forget about them.... Let their kids watch TV for hours and then suddenly turn it off in a fit of anger... Let them run wild with friends and then spontaneously ground them for being too rowdy. Consistent rules and discipline will teach children their limits.




Final Thoughts

The things I think Amy Chua "got right" with her parenting are mostly ideas and mindsets, rather than concrete rules or disciplining strategies (which I strongly disagree with). My other list on Amy Chua's parenting mistakes is linked below.


Supporting Links






Comments

  • tahoemom 1/20/2011

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    Good job picking out the concepts that she got right. Hopefully, parents can find constructive and non-damaging ways to implement the good strategies.

  • StoicSentry 1/19/2011

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    Personally, I only respect my elders if they are respectable. I expect treatment likewise. Like race or gender, your age (young or old) does not say anything about you as a person. :)

  • gerrielynn 1/16/2011

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    This is a new name to me, but then I'm from a couple of generations removed from Amy Chua I guess. From what you have written here though, I tend to agree with her. But...on to your next article. Let's see what she's written that other might think she got wrong. Good article...and educational for this grandma. High 5

  • PriscillaBenfield 1/16/2011

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    Hmmm. so Amy Chua got a few things right. Not sure if it makes up for all that she got wrong (citing your other list as example). Good job evaluating her "advice".

  • ChristinaFernando 1/16/2011

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    Great list. This is very helpful to parents.

  • hummingbirdee 1/15/2011

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    You are wise in your evaluation. Well thought out.


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