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  1. #1
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    "Chinese Mothers" and figure skating

    This is a topic I wanted to discuss as a spin-off from the "Frank vs. Mirai" thread.

    MR-FAN mentioned this article and writer:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...LEFTTopStories

    I personally found the article fascinating, if a little appalling at the same time. There is an extremely strong case for instilling discipline, perseverance, and confidence in your child to teach them that they can work hard and achieve whatever they want. Now, I hate to be contrary to Ms. Chua, because I am almost certain that she is far more intelligent than I am. (My parents weren't particularly brilliant or educated, while Amy's father, according to Wikipedia, "is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley and is known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory, cellular neural networks, and discovered the memristor." ) The major points on which I agree with her are that things are most fun when you get good at them, and that children (well, young children) don't necessarily learn discipline on their own, so that it's up to the parent to take control at that stage. However, her LAST paragraph is what I feel is the best of the contrasting parenting philosophies she cites:

    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.
    I can't see why combining both isn't possible? It would seem to me that the combination is ideal.

    Also, I do not understand the obsession with either just the violin or piano. Why just those two for choices?

    Anyway, how would you categorize the successes or failures of the "Chinese Mothering" style of parents of figure skaters?

    For example, Tiffany Chin would count, to me, as one of the worst examples of how Chinese Mothering fails. Something was a little "off" about Mira Leung, as well.

    Would Yu-Na Kim count as an example of successful Chinese Mothering? (but then again, she was coached by Orser who taught her to take it easy, and Wilson may also be a moderating, confounding element.)

    Danny Kwan and Kristi's parents seem like moderates to me. Both Michelle and Kristi seemed to have a lot of discipline, but clearly truly enjoyed themselves out on the ice.

    Any insights into Asada's parents would be welcome. I imagine they weren't strict disciplinarians, but at the same time,they probably didn't need to discipline her much. She seems to be a naturally happy hard worker.

    And outside of skating, anyone hear of any good examples of Chinese Mothering, or Moderate Mothering? I really think the middle way is the best way. Discipline is important, but so is some freedom, choice, exploration and passion.

  2. #2

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    Kristi & Mirai are not Chinese, ethnically they are Japanese. Yu-na is Korean. I doubt they got Chinese mothering.
    Last edited by taf2002; 02-04-2011 at 03:50 PM. Reason: for clarity

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    Kristi & Mirai are not Chinese, they are Japanese. Yu-na is Korean. I doubt they got Chinese mothering.
    Hmmmm. I thought they were American.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmscfdcsu View Post
    Hmmmm. I thought they were American.
    Yu-Na isn't.

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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.
    I think my german/american parents from Minnesota are really Chinese.

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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    Yu-Na isn't.
    Yes, I didn't read it all. I'm tired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    Kristi & Mirai are not Chinese, they are Japanese. Yu-na is Korean. I doubt they got Chinese mothering.
    Interesting article indeed. What Amy Chua described applies loosely to the East Asian culture overall, Japanese and Korean parenting are much closer to Chinese than to US or Europe. Just look at the amount of after school tutoring efforts!

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    I think Danny Kwan would be considered a Chinese Mother (Father)

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    Kristi & Mirai are not Chinese, they are Japanese. Yu-na is Korean. I doubt they got Chinese mothering.
    Can you please read the article before replying?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amy Chua
    I'm using the term "Chinese mother" loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I'm also using the term "Western parents" loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

  10. #10
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    This article has been discussed in depth on the board. Perhaps you could read that thread before getting snippy with people pointing out that you were lumping several Asian skaters (and noticeably only Asian skaters) together as if they were all Chinese.
    Q: Why can't I read the competition threads?
    A: Competition forums on the board are available to those with a Season Pass or a premium membership How to View Kiss & Cry

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    This article has been discussed in depth on the board. Perhaps you could read that thread before getting snippy with people pointing out that you were lumping several Asian skaters (and noticeably only Asian skaters) together as if they were all Chinese.
    Anyone who interpreted my first post in that manner is stupid. Else I might as well have said Chinese mothers and not put it into quotes ("Chinese Mothers.") And clearly Danny Kwan isn't a mother. Basic reading comprehension.

    No one in that other thread (which isn't primarily geared towards figure skating discussion anyway) mentioned non-Asian "Chinese Mothers", either.

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    I'm not sure how many people here have seen this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h9lIq8ErBs

    quote: "you get too fat they kick you out of show, you have to scrape ice to make snowcone to sell in stands"

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    If you read Amy's book she's supposed to realize how wrong she was for being so extreme in the 3rd part of the book. It's not a how to guide, just a memoir. Watch her interviews where she basically states that a mixture of parenting styles is ideal and that it was a learning process for her. Basically some of the more extreme passages from her book were used to publicize it for shock value. She actually comes across as a very nice lady in real life lol

    I do think you bring up a good point. One of the reasons surely for her daughters' success when dealing with her type of discipline is that both of their parents are upper middle class to begin with, both yale professors (with grandparents and aunts/uncles equally distinguished). they undoubtedly had special tutors and such...hardly typical of most children.

    Anyway there have been a lot of studies lumping many Asian-American immigrants together based on their success due to shared Confucian and other cultural ideals. Amy herself has addressed this in books past and present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    I'm not sure how many people here have seen this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h9lIq8ErBs

    quote: "you get too fat they kick you out of show, you have to scrape ice to make snowcone to sell in stands"
    I feel almost racist for laughing at that...except the ending is gold.

    Quote Originally Posted by iarispiralllyof View Post
    If you read Amy's book she's supposed to realize how wrong she was for being so extreme in the 3rd part of the book. It's not a how to guide, just a memoir. Watch her interviews where she basically states that a mixture of parenting styles is ideal and that it was a learning process for her. Basically some of the more extreme passages from her book were used to publicize it for shock value. She actually comes across as a very nice lady in real life lol

    I do think you bring up a good point. One of the reasons surely for her daughters' success when dealing with her type of discipline is that both of their parents are upper middle class to begin with, both yale professors (with grandparents and aunts/uncles equally distinguished). they undoubtedly had special tutors and such...hardly typical of most children.

    Anyway there have been a lot of studies lumping many Asian-American immigrants together based on their success due to shared Confucian and other cultural ideals. Amy herself has addressed this in books past and present.
    RE: Chua. Yes. I read most of the pages of the other thread and both the reply from Brooks and criticisms based on "not knowing how the article would be received" fall flat to me. It seems that Chua knew exactly how the article would be received: as a good talking piece! Brooks, you've been plaaaaaaaaayed. I will definitely be picking up her book sometime. I don't think that Chua's and her husband's family just have the advantages of distinguished educations and good finances. I think they've all made good choices as far as intelligent partners go. One can push someone who has the ability to do something; what happens when that child simply can't?

    And relatedly, I think that's why I find figure skating in particular so interesting. I don't know if dogged pursuit and practice practice practice make for the best and/or most successful skaters (cue Evan Lysacek, hard worker but I don't know if he's the most enjoyable for all to watch.) Certain physiques and body types may have certain advantages. Practice and discipline take care of technique for the most part, but mental is needed to compete well, and emotional/expressive skills in order to effectively make the performances soar. I'm obviously grossly simplifying things, as good emotional health also contributes to motivation and practice, etc. but errr...I guess my whole point is that I don't think the Chua model applies well to figure skating.

    I could be wrong. And thanks to iaris and jjane45 for pointing out the common Confucian/East Asian similarities across the different nationalities. I think one would have to be living under the figure skating rock to not realize that Mao and Yu-Na are not of the same (Chinese) nationality considering the fan wars. It does make me stop and think, however, if Yu-Na is an example of the Chua parenting model working. I still don't think Michelle is an example. The Kwan family seems to be very sports-oriented in general, and I've never heard of Michelle mentioning any piano or violin lessons. It just sounds like to me that she chose a sport she loved and went all-in, rather than Danny dictating all the terms and choices.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    :. It just sounds like to me that she chose a sport she loved and went all-in, rather than Danny dictating all the terms and choices.
    I think that you've been plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayed if you believe that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximillian View Post
    I think that you've been plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayed if you believe that!
    Hah, you think?

    If so, I've been played well.

    I guess I've made my choice: I shall be a Chinese Mother!

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    Kristi & Mirai are not Chinese, ethnically they are Japanese. Yu-na is Korean. I doubt they got Chinese mothering.
    Maybe I'm missing something, but Chua refers to "Chinese" as more of a "type" of parent, not as a nationality.

  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by Amy Chua
    I'm using the term "Chinese mother" loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I'm also using the term "Western parents" loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.
    It's quite shocking that somebody making a statement this racist and moronic, lumping together different kind of people into a group with a label that is very offensive (inverted commas or not) and generalising about them based on some anecdotal information can actually get printed.

    Disgusting.

    That's not to say that there aren't differences between the way children are brought up in individualist and collectivist societies. There obviously are. But that is way above Amy Chua's level of discourse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    It's quite shocking that somebody making a statement this racist and moronic, lumping together different kind of people into a group with a label that is very offensive (inverted commas or not) and generalising about them based on some anecdotal information can actually get printed.
    Really? I think she was taking the stereotype and declaring that parents of different nationalities and ethnicities participate in said stereotype. That's undoing the racism, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    Really? I think she was taking the stereotype and declaring that parents of different nationalities and ethnicities participate in said stereotype. That's undoing the racism, no?
    I'm not sure that her goal was racism. I think she was trying to say that the women she knows of these other nationalities are similar to her in parenting style, so she categorizes them as "Chinese mothers" like herself, not "Chinese."

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