Oddly enough, I'm not a particularly judgmental person. I just don't have a lot of filtering when I'm in 'tiger mother' mode. I say what comes into my head.
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APAAmy Chua Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=oddly-enough-im-not-particularly-judgmental-person-i-just-dont-have-lot-filtering-when-im-in-tiger-mother-mode-i-say-what-comes-into-my-head
ChicagoAmy Chua Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=oddly-enough-im-not-particularly-judgmental-person-i-just-dont-have-lot-filtering-when-im-in-tiger-mother-mode-i-say-what-comes-into-my-head, accessed .
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The most successful hyperpowers are the ones where there was actual intermixing. Tang dynasty China was Chinas golden age, and contrary to what I was told when I was growing up, Tang China was founded by a man who by todays standards was no more than half Chinese. It was a mixed-blood dynasty that pulled in barbarians from the steppe.
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There are many things the Chinese do differently from Westerners. There's the question of extra credit, for example. One time, Lulu came home and told me about a math test she'd just taken. She said she thought it had gone extremely well, which is why she didn't feel the need to do the extra-credit problems. I was speechless for a second, uncomprehending. 'Why not?' I asked. 'Why didn't you do them?' 'I didn't want to miss recess.' A fundamental tenet of being Chinese is that you always do all of the extra credit all of the time. 'Why?' asked Lulu, when I explained this to her. For me this was like asking why I should breathe. 'None of my friends do it, ' Lulu added. 'That's not true, ' I said. 'I'm 100% sure that Amy and Junno did the extra credit.' Amy and Junno were the Asian kids in Lulu's class. And I was right about them; Lulu admitted it. 'But Rashad and Ian did the extra credit too, and they're not Asian, ' she added. 'Aha! So many of your friends did do the extra credit! And I didn't say only Asians do extra credit. Anyone with good parents knows you have to do the extra credit. I'm in shock, Lulu. What will the teacher think of you? You went to recess instead of doing extra credit?' I was almost in tears. 'Extra credit is not extra. It's just credit. It's what separates the good students from the bad students." "Aww - recess is so fun, " Lulu offered as her final sally. But after that, Lulu, like Sophia. always did the extra credit. Sometimes the girls got more points on extra credit than on the test itself - an absurdity that would never happen in China. Extra credit is one reason that Asian kids get such notoriously good grades in the United States. Rote drilling is another. Once Sophia came in second on a multiplication speed test, which her fifth grade teacher administered every Friday. She lost to a Korean boy named Yoon-seok. Over the next week, I made Sophia do twenty practice tests (of 100 problems each) every night, with me clocking her with a stopwatch. After that, she came in first every time. Poor Yoon-seok. He went back to Korea with his family, but probably not because of the speed test.
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Once when I was young-maybe more than once-when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me "garbage" in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn't damage my self esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn't actually think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage. As an adult, I once did the same thing to Sophie, calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectful toward me. When I mentioned I had done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests. "Oh dear, it's just a misunderstanding. Amy was speaking metaphorically-right, Amy? you didn't actually call Sophie 'garbage.'" "Um, yes I did. But it's all in the context, " I tried to explain. "It's a Chinese immigrant thing.
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The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable-even legally actionable-to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty-lose some weight." By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "health" and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self image.
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Happiness is not always through success. Equally, the constant pursuit of success is sure unhappiness. But we have to find the balance. My own thoughts are that parenting is very personal. And we all feel enormous insecurity about parenting. What are they going to think of us 20 years down the line?
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When I'm not the Tiger Mom, I'm a professor at Yale Law School, and if one thing is clear to me from years of teaching, it's that there are many ways to produce fabulous kids. I have amazing students; some of them have strict parents, others have lenient parents, and many come from family situations that defy easy description.
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Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. I tried to find the balance between the strict, traditional Chinese way I was raised, which I think can be too harsh, and what I see as a tendency in the West to be too permissive and indulgent. If I could do it all again, I would, with some adjustments.
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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.
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My youngest sister, Cindy, has Down syndrome, and I remember my mother spending hours and hours with her, teaching her to tie her shoelaces on her own, drilling multiplication tables with Cindy, practicing piano every day with her. No one expected Cindy to get a Ph.D.! But my mom wanted her to be the best she could be, within her limits.
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