Tiger-mums and gifted children
Methods of upbringing differ depending on the parents, whose methods depend on their values, which again depend on their cultural background. It makes sense that two different continents like the Western and Asian continents have completely different cultures. The Asian children are said to be overperforming themselves in terms of knowledge and education, since they achieve extremely high grades in Western schools. This is the cause for great debates in the Western continent concerning the Asian children and their parent’s methods.
Amy Chua provides her opinion as to “Why Chinese mothers are superior”, how a misunderstanding between the two continents exists and how Western parents are on the wrong path. But who is really superior? And can we all have gifted children? Amy Chua is a person with a great amount of ethos; she is a professor at Yale Law School in USA, which is of course marked in her article. This gives Amy Chua, also known as tiger-mum, a lot of credibility. Her clear observations balance perfectly well with this fact, but they are risky, since her intention is to clear all misunderstandings and thereby argue for the methods of the tiger-mums.
As she explains herself, the typical Western parent expects a child to be fragile, which is why the methods of the tiger-mums can seem to be inhumane and abusive. The tiger-mum believes that a person does not think something is fun, until the person gets to be good at it. The parent must therefore make certain that the child is focused on important things, until the child finds it interesting. In resemblance to this, the Western parent would consider a child to be an individual being, who needs to follow his/her own desires.
So when the Western parent reads tiger-mum’s article, the person must distance himself from a tendency to think of tiger-mum’s methods as inhumane. Tiger-mum helps the western mum on the way with her ethos and use of logos. She involves statistics and her own experiences, so we are given the opportunity to see things through both a micro and macro lens. This feature has a good function and under the circumstances with her high ethos, but the challenge concerning the subject, she fulfils her intention, which is to argue, so she can clear up all misunderstandings.
The tiger-mum engages the reader just by the well-known theme of her article. Since the Western parent thinks the Asian methods are unethical, the parent is interested enough to read about a tiger-mum who is defending her methods. The purpose of this is for the Western mother to feel more connected (and not dissociate herself) from the tiger-mums she will meet herself. The tiger-mum also narrows down boring logos information in form of numbers, so that she can involve more interesting personal stories (pathos) from her everyday life.
Tiger-mum’s methods surely seem tempting and promising, but the future is hard to foresee if we were all to become tiger-mums. The increase in the number of intelligent and cultured children would mean more competition, since the intelligence and working standard would rise and therefore more would be demanded, so only few can achieve excellence. This would increase the pressure upon the children, who in theory continuously would be paced forward. This would obviously demand more of the children’s time and probably result in an unhealthy physical and emotional circle.
If everyone wants to excel, even though everyone cannot excel, because then the point of excellence would just be average, children would really feel low self-esteem. This would naturally occur, since they cannot live up to their own expectations. This negative view shows that we cannot all become the best; we can only raise the standards. But is that something we want to do? This is a matter of personal values; do we treasure intelligence over personal desires such as a spare time hobby?
Do not misunderstand this, because the method of tiger-mums can exist in different areas and can also concern sport. The Western continent indulges individuals to find their own strengths and allows one to be “normal”, when it comes to intelligence. Because of the possible vision of the future just predicted, this now seems like the tempting raising method. But what if we were to combine the two strategies? If we took the individual view and a restricted harsh view upon the child, it would probably make much more sense.
This works in every other case where you combine the pros and elude the cons. The child would, because it is seen as an individual, be responsible for picking out things it would like to achieve excellence in. This should function in an interaction between the child and the parent, where the harsh Asian method is going to have the dominating control. In consciousness about important matters such as physical limitations, one should seek to help the child improve by using the Asian technique. This should be done in a way, where the child is to be seen as strong and not vulnerable.
If the child wants to give up, the parent should express disappointment because one should never give up on a personal goal. A personal goal would also make the child more interested in reaching it. It is not someone else’s goal, so we should be able to find the strongest character here. We can all become tiger-mums like Amy Chua, but we cannot all become the best, since it would just increase the average level and result in low self-esteem, since everyone now wants to be the best. So even though tiger-mum’s methods work for her, it would not work for all of us.
But tiger-mum fulfils her intention, which is to remove all misunderstandings and prejudice concerning tiger-mums and Western parenting methods (despite continental differences). She does this with a twist of logos and pathos, in which the latter mentioned, is the key to her success, since it makes people interested enough to care. But the superior raising method is not to be found in one of the continents, but by combining the two methods, like in every other case where you combine the merits.