The Wall Street Journal Online published a
ridiculous, arrogant and pompous article entitled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” by Amy Chua.
Personally, I’m not going to get into the poo throwing drama that always ensues when things of this nature occur online.
Because, you see, I’m a Jewish mother. And, in all honesty, Chinese mothers have NOTHING on us.
Unlike Ms. Chua who informs us that Chinese mothers don’t let their children do anything except school work and practicing their instruments while being belittled by their Mommy dearest who is standing over them, arms and brows crossed…
We Jewish mothers encourage our children to soar and expand their horizons, on the most part, while maintaining some sort of control.
Where Ms Chua writes that Chinese mothers don’t allow their children to:
attend sleepovers at friends houses NOR have playdates, participate in school plays and the aren’t allowed to complain about it, watch TV or play video games (weird), choose their own extracurricular activities, no grade less than an A and they must maintain top student status at all times, play an instrument except piano or violin…
Jewish mothers are, from my experience, opposite. Yes, we expect a lot from our children too. After all, we want to be able to brag about our child the doctor or lawyer.
But, you see, we can allow them their freedom to express themselves, play whatever instrument they want (within reason, I draw the line at drums), watch TV and play video games for an alloted period of time, be kids and do what kids like to do. We want our children to have happy and successful lives but we need to have a life too.
We Jewish moms have a little secret weapon though. One which, when the Jewish mother was born, had it instilled into her from their Jewish mother and so on down the line.
We have the ever cocked and loaded Jewish guilt.
No amount of standing over our children 24 hours a day, giving up our own lives and sanity, will even accomplish what the “g” word can and we mix it with praise and kisses.
Jewish (I’m using Jewish as lightly as she used Chinese, because parents of this hemisphere come in all sorts of backgrounds) parents believe, without any doubt, that their children are the best and therefore will do the best and achieve the best…that they are capable of. And they don’t need to name call or belittle to achieve this.
The kids of Jewish families have to sit at kitchen tables, desks, wherever…until their homework is complete and their studying is done.
I don’t know, I don’t need to stand over them. I can actually leave the house and grocery shop for the ingredients for dinner and trust that they aren’t on their laptops, instant messaging on Facebook…oh, wait, hmm…
If we are met with resistance or belligerence…
We do the same thing any mother except, of course, the Chinese mother, would do…
We send them to their rooms and expect them to marinate in their bad behavior.
Not without dinner though because the thought of our child going hungry is almost as horrible as the thought of our child going without a warm coat in the winter.
I could go on. But I won’t. Because my point, which probably isn’t being pointed out is…
Chinese moms aren’t any better than any of the moms that I know personally.
And really? Jewish people are probably as successful as the Chinese only there aren’t as many of us…thanks to certain historical events.
I have to agree with Ms. Chua’s husband when he says, to paraphrase, kids don’t choose their parents nor do they choose to be born. Therefore, why do the kids “owe” their parents anything?
Right on, Mr. MsChua.
Chinese parents believe their kids owe them everything? Well, so do Jewish parents. And we expect payback in the form of really posh nursing homes, thankyouverymuch.
It’s not just Chinese parents that believe they know what’s best for their children. We do too. It’s part of our guilt and control.
Parents of every walk of life, except those who neglect or abuse their children (and I’ll bet there are some that are Chinese, too) want to be able to give to their children the resources to fly from the nest and have fabulous and productive lives.
It ain’t just the Chinese.
A good parent is a good parent. Period. End of story.
I dunno. I thought the whole article was so incredibly laughable and, quite frankly, was shocked to see that it was in a publication as big as the Wall Street Journal. I mean, I realize that the freedom of speech exists and I love that about our country. But sometimes people need to be told to shut the fuck up.
HAHAHA I KNEW where you were going when you said Jewish mothers have a secret weapon! My Mom is the master at it and I just realized the other week while talking to my husband I have become a semi master at it myself. I love reading your perspective on things.
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Love this and could not agree more.
Now I HAVE to go read the article to see. Great response. I’m not Chinese and I’m not Jewish but I try my best to be a great mom. That’s all any of us can do in this life, try our best. Motherhood is all a trial and error anyways but I’d personally lose my sanity if I was hoovering over my kids’ every move.
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I must have read an abbreviated version of that article because Mr. Chua was apparent nowhere, and a couple of people commented on that.
What I found most telling was the comment from an adult child of the typical Chinese parents who was raised that way along with two siblings. They grew up “successful” in the parentally-chosen professions, but without self-esteem and prone to depression because they all have careers they hate. They all hate their parents and are raising their children differently, with as little contact with the hypercritical grandparents as possible. The parents continue to be critical and yet wonder why their kids don’t want contact.
I think your way is infinitely better.
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Tara R. says
I cringed the entire time I read Ms. Chua’s article. It was made all the more tragic when even her husband voiced disapproval of her hardline, humiliating parenting practices. Not once in her entire tirade did she mention the word ‘love’ in regards to her children. I truly feel sorry for them.
And “love’…. is one more thing Jewish moms are very good at giving to their kids.
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I keep hoping that her article was some elaborate hoax. I mean… really? I’m pretty sure the next “Chinese” kid I see is going to get a big hug from me.
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Candice @ Fashionably Organized says
Can I get a Baruch Atah Adonai Melech Ha’Olam? Yeah baby you got it I’m a Jewish mom/granddaughter of 4 grandparents who survived said atrocity that brought our numbers down. Yeah that’s right! Oh and my kids have to do their homework, be good, eat their vegetables and be nice. So there!
Candice @ Fashionably Organized´s last blog post ..Heart of Haiti
LOL…I’m offended all over the place and yet, can’t quite figure out why! First of all, it almost sounds like the article was written to emphasize stereotyping. I know many Chinese mothers and their daughters attend sleepovers, perform in plays and do homework on the run, like the rest of us. Now, being the Jewish mother of a Chinese daughter–I’m thinking WTF!!! LOL..the article is dumb and it is laughable and as my funny, smart, messy, Gleek loving daughter would say…”Mama, that is so crazy.” 🙂
and another thing..why is my avatar a sheep? LOL…I’ll have to fix that!
Maricris of Zensible Mama says
I’m NOT surprise, a chinese writer is writing the article he he. Hmmm…Maybe I should write why a Filipina mother is better than her Chinese mother and see what she thinks! lol
Gena Morris says
Wow honestly, I don’t see what your nationality has to do with the type of mother you are. We are all different and unique. We should embrace who we are instead of saying “I’m better than you because I am chinese.”
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I am a Jewish father who sends his Jewish kids to a Jewish day school- not that any of this really matters. I still haven’t decided whether I take that article seriously or not. It was over the top in a lot of places.
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I haven’t read the article (and to be honest probably won’t) but will throw this in – not one of us (never mind the ethnicity) is a better mother than another. We all try to be the best mom to our children that we can. Period.
And as to the guilt? Have you met a Catholic mother? They can throw the guilt card pretty darn well too. 😉 Just kidding. Actually, just about *every* mother I know has figured out how to play that card to the hilt.
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Sarah Pinnix says
We “half-Irish, half-Italian” moms just yell at them, then stuff their faces with pasta. That usually does the trick.
The thing that strikes me about the article is that it’s all about the outward behavior. It’s forcing one’s kids to put on a mask of perfection, which can be equally damaging.
Where is the character development, love, compassion, values? My goal is not to have well-behaved children. but to have children who love God and love others, love themselves enough to do their best and follow their dreams.
Lolli @ Better in Bulk says
Awesome response!! My best friend growing up was Chinese, and I can relate with the points that were mentioned in the article. I can also disagree with the wisdom of just about all of the points, too!
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Mommy Shorts says
Amen on the posh nursing home. I will add bragging rights to the pot. Jewish moms may lay on the guilt around their children but they won’t stop talking about their list of accomplishments to everybody else. At least that’s what I have seen from MY mom.
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I heard that Amy Chua is an oriental Jew.
A good parent IS a good parent. Well done, PH!
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PJ Lincoln says
I say yeah for all mothers (and dad’s). It’s the hardest job in the world, but also the best.
PJ Lincoln´s last blog post ..I am a Believer in Detroit
Different culture. Totally different culture. I’ve read up some on this because my daughter is Chinese-born and I’ve talked with a few Chinese mothers. Some of it is true, in my observation. Traditional Chinese families look at children, specifically sons, as their social security. There is a lot of weight and pressure placed on children in China to be successful. That being said, I also witnessed aspects of culture in China that promoted health, fitness, family unity and respect, etc. In conclusion I realized that our cultures are as far apart as the distance between our homelands. I can just imagine the dressing down I’d get from a Chinese mother or a Jewish mother!
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A) obviously this woman is writing incendiary articles to drum up interest in her book. Duh. once again the best retaliation is to say nothing and ignore her. Done.
B) the only reason her husband allowed her to parent “the chinese way” is because she promised their kids would be raised Jewish. Thought you’d like that.
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Dr. Michael D. Evans says
It’s really unfair to compare the moms. Each mom has her own way of raising and loving her children.
F. Gav K says
Chinese moms are the best! My mom is Chinese. Do you think that she lets me marinate in my room for bad behavior? NaW , get a B and get hit with the cane or the flying shoe. Must get an A. That probably explains why I am pain resistant and doing a PhD. Failure is not an option.
Joey P. says
“Not without dinner though because the thought of our child going hungry is almost as horrible as the thought of our child going without a warm coat in the winter. ”
LOL that’s hilarious. My old school Jewish mom like many was very big on withholding food, clothing, love and anything else her kids were dependent on her for, to solidify her insane level of dominance over her familiy. Jewish mothers are abusive, manipulative and emasculate and humiliate their sons. That’s why you see so many wimpy neurotic Jewish males out there. Jewish culture in general is full of abusive narcissistic women. I think Jews have confused material success with well-adjusted children.
The power of Jewish mothers isn’t guilt like many people claim, it’s going on little mini-strikes against her children and husband until she gets her way. Jewish people in general have little self-awareness and use humor and money to downplay the total dysfunction of most Jewish families.
The best parents out there are Indians in my opinion, they are as successful as Jews if not more, and are a lot more stable and happy than Jews or Chinese.