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The Mommy War

In: English and Literature

Submitted By trayyc
Words 1054
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The Mommy War
When I was a kid, I was obedient and quiet. I automatically knew that being disrespectful, making a fuss, or being assertive would make me the black sheep of my family. I did what I was told. I am a Chinese girl.
I adhered to my parents’ whishes that I get top grades and perform well in the activities they had chosen for me—I did homework for hours after school to get straight As, practiced piano to perfection, and spend grueling weekends learning Chinese calligraphy and painting with brushes and ink. I once felt like I was a bird being captured in a cage by my parents and decided to be myself, but after years of wasting time to enjoy freedom, I realized that although my Chinese tiger mom could be overwhelming sometimes, but her restrictive parenting method really pushed me to grow from an ignorant kid into a more mature and self-disciplined adult.
Unlike most American undergraduates who think to play in college may be more important than schoolwork, Chinese students have already been taught the idea of “no cross, no crown” in rigorous education. I remember the first thing I learned before going to elementary school was that “hardship” is a necessary way toward success, while pleasure has almost nothing to do with it until you succeed. My parents would always say “How could you expect to do better than others if you don’t spend time study while your friends are playing?” In addition, Chinese, who has been under the influence of the philosopher Confucius for thousands of years, believes that the only reason why some people seems smarter than others is because they don’t waste time hanging out with friends, watching TV or playing computer games, they devote all their spare time reading books over and over again until the books are torn.
Some people think that Asian Americans’ dedication into academics is partly related to the relatively difficult living conditions of immigrants. The SAT scores of Asian students are so high that some colleges set special limits for Asians in order to balance the proportion of ethnic groups on campus. Therefore, Chinese parents need to make sure their children are not lacking behind Koreans, Indians and Japanese in order to be admitted. “Always set your goal to NO.1 so that even if you fail, you’ll still be at the top”, that is how my traditional Chinese parents made sure that I got admitted into an “okay” college—University of Pittsburgh—even though I did not take the SAT test. As David Brooks said in “Amy Chua Is A Wimp”, “She does everything over-pressuring upper-middle-class parents are doing. She’s just hard core.” (Page 269), both Chinese and Western parents want their children to be prominent. Western parents are just struggling about how to balance out letting their children be who they are, and hoping they can achievement at the same time, while Chinese parents are persistent purser of their children’s success because of their cultural background and social pressure.
Another reason why Chinese moms are hardcore about their children’s success is because how their children turn out affects their own prestige. Teachers at school in China will always say, “Who’s your mother? Didn’t she teach how to behave at school?” or “You should thank your mother for giving birth to you so you have this opportunity to win the competition”. Moreover, Chinese moms also like to show off their children during potlucks, “My daughter just got accepted into NYU and is offered a full scholarship”; “My son presented his school to attend the International Mathematics Olympiad” or “My daughter is on the local newspaper”. And it also seems like it is the children’s responsibility to make their parents proud in order to repay what they owe their parents—life. What’s more, parents, who claim that they don’t want to push their children too hard and don’t care how their children do at school, would usually be backbitten by other parents: they are just trying to find an excuse to cover up their disappointment on their children.
Maybe it is because Chinese tiger moms think their children owe them everything, they could be careless about what they say and how their children feel sometimes. However, when some people are criticizing the way Amy Chua, the author of “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”, motivating her daughter—by calling them “lazy” and “self-indulgent”, she responded in one of her interviews saying that, “I regret what I did, but I believe it is the same for everyone that there are some moments in a person’s life that you want to take it back.” She admitted that those are the worst moment of her being as a mom, but that is not what a tiger mom parenting about. It is about not giving up on your children and teaching them that they are capable of so much more than they think they are.
On the flip side, there are definitely some negative impacts on the children under the Chinese parenting method. As mentioned in “Mother Inferior”, “privilege does not shield a child from being painfully shy or awkward around peers or generally ostracized” (Page 267). The fact that I spent all my childhood studying math, piano and painting, did bring me glory and pride, but not the ability to talk to strangers and make friends confidently. My Chinese parents would never know how much I want to calm my nerve down when I speak in front of the class, and how much I want to talk like old friends with people I just met.
However, even though there were a hundred moments I hated my tiger mom for isolating me to do things I did not even know when I first began learning it, I am incredibly proud of whom I am today. I am smart enough to balance my time between study and social, I feel happy when I get an A in my class after working hard for a whole semester, and I am glad that I always keep myself away from stupid and dangerous things that many college students are doing. And guess whom I should be thankful for? I think you already knew the answer—my strict, but great tiger mom.

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