What parenting method works best?

11 May
  1. The self-esteem boosting, follow your dreams and be happy all the time parenting method that many white parents in America practice.
  2. The practice known as tiger parenting as seen in Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and/or Anchee Min’s The Cooked Seed—both memoirs.

Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor of Yahoo! Shine reported on May 9 about “a recently released decade-long study of 444 Chinese-American families shows that the effect tiger parents have on their kids is almost exactly the opposite,” and that a controlling Chinese-style parent does not drive his or her child to success.

The conclusion was that “Tiger parenting doesn’t produce superior outcomes in kids.”

I disagree, and here’s why:

Studying 444 Chinese-American families does not provide enough information.

Instead, the study should expand in its scope and include all Asian Americans in addition to Pacific Islanders, because these cultures encourage stricter parenting methods and place a higher value on education compared to the wishy-washy style of the average White American parent who talks to his/her child less than five minutes a day and allows the child to divide his/her daily time watching about 10 hours of TV, listing to music, hanging out with friends, playing video games, spending time on sites such as Facebook, sending text messages, etc.

The results:

  • Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity, 1990-2010 (all ages):

In twenty years, the suicide rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders never cracked 7% and even improved from 6.63% in 1990 to 6.24% by 2010.

For American Whites, the suicide rate was 13.3% in 1990 and climbed to 14.13% by 2010—more than twice the suicide rate of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

  • Unemployment rate by race for March 2013 (all ages):

The White American unemployment was 6.9%.

The Asian-American was 5% (the lowest employment rate among all racial groups)

Source: United States Department of Labor

  • Divorce rate by race:

Whites had the highest divorce rate in America at 27%.  African American’s were a distant second at 22% and Hispanics at 20%.

The Asian-American divorce rate was 8%—less than a third of the White divorce rate.

Source: Assisted

  • Drug use by race (all ages):

“Of the major racial/ethnic groups, the rate of drug use is highest among the American Indian/Native American population (10.6%) and those reporting mixed race (11.2%), followed by African Americans (7.7%), Hispanics (6.8%), and whites at (6.6%).

The lowest rates were found among the Asian population at 3.2%—less than half that of whites.


  • Money Income of Households—Percent Distribution by Income Level, Race, in Constant (2009) Dollars: 1990 to 2009:

1990 White = $49,686 (Medium income in dollars)
2009 white = $51,861

1990 Asian = $61,170
2009 Asian = $65,469

Source: US Census, Table 690

  • STD Health Equity – Rates by Race or Ethnicity:

In 2011, Whites had 1.7 times the reported gonorrhea rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders

In 2011, Whites had 1.4 times the reported chlamydia rates of Asians/Pacific Islanders

In 2011, whites had 1.4 times the reported syphilis rates of Asian/Pacific Islanders

Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Life Expectancy by Race:

The average life expectancy of an Asian-America in the United States is 84.56 years, but for White Americans it is only 78.74 years.

Source: World Life

  • Birth Rates (Live Births) per 1,000 Females Aged 15–19 Years, by Race … 2000–2011:

White = 22 per 1,000

Asian/Pacific Islander = 10 per 1,000—less than half that of white females aged 15-19.


  • Education:

50 percent of Asian Americans in comparison to 31 percent of the total U.S. population had earned at least a bachelor’s degree, and about 48 percent of Asian Americans were employed in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 40 percent of the white population

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

In Conclusion: “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.”

In addition, the Pew Research Center says, “Their living arrangements align with these values. They are more likely than all American adults to be married (59% vs. 51%); their newborns are less likely than all U.S. newborns to have an unmarried mother (16% vs. 41%); and their children are more likely than all U.S. children to be raised in a household with two married parents (80% vs. 63%).”

The average White parent is obsessed with his/her child’s self-esteem and happiness, while the average Asian-American parent practices a parenting philosophy known as tiger parenting that most whites detest.

Considering the information in this post, what parenting method has the best long-term results for a longer, healthier better quality of life? Please leave a comment with your answer.

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

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8 responses to “What parenting method works best?

  1. Lloyd Lofthouse

    May 11, 2013 at 07:58

    Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse.

  2. Kristen Caven

    May 13, 2013 at 10:08

    Lloyd, I think you are talking about two opposite styles – one permissive and one autocratic – and unfairly and inaccurately categorizing all “whites” in the former category. (Borders on racism, actually.) The Self-Esteem movement (starting in 1960s) was a backlash against the autocratic and punitive parenting from the 1950s and before.

    There is also a huge difference in first-generation immigrants vs. naturalized American families in terms of achievment and entitlement. There is a middle ground that is actually the best way to parent, where you set clear limits but also show love – it’s typically called a democratic parenting style.

    I think the stronger factor in the success of Asians as you show in your research is due to their close-knit communities and strong socializing, NOT the critical “tiger-mothering” that was looked at in the initial study you quoted.

    But what good parenting has in all situations is the authority to set limits AND nurture self-esteem. And these days, like never before, to counter mainstream culture as Beck and his guests discuss, and create a strong family culture by giving responsibility to kids.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      May 13, 2013 at 12:27


      I didn’t say that “all whites” were permissive parents. I said “average”. “Average” does not mean the same as “all”.

      To clarify: the definition of average means the result obtained by adding several quantities together and then dividing this total by the number of quantities; the mean. And “mean” (or “average”) is the most popular and well known measure of central tendency. In this case, “average” means the largest single measurable group of parents from more than one study from more than one source over a long period of time measured in years/decades.

      For example, I’m white, and I have never practiced a permissive style of parenting. In fact, I’m sure that critics of tiger parenting would say I was a tiger parent once they examined my parenting methods.

      For another example, all we have to do is look at the number of reviews of Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” to discover that 39% of the reviews rated her book with 1, 2 or 3 star reviews and most of those reviews criticized her parenting method—sometimes viciously. This number is close to the 40% that numerous studies say represent the percentage of permissive parents in North America that raise narcissistic children. Yet 79.96% of the population is White.

      As for this post being “racist”, I don’t think so – the results of many studies on this topic do not support popular White political correctness when it comes to parenting. When I say “political correctness” as it relates to parenting, I’m talking about the very popular self-esteem movement that is mostly found among White parents.

      The average White parent inflates the self-esteem of his or her child, but there are three types of self esteem:

      1. High self-esteem (normal): The person loves themselves and accepts who they are
      2. Low self-esteem: The person doesn’t love themselves, doesn’t accept who they are and doesn’t value their qualities.
      3. Inflated self-esteem: The person loves themselves more than others and they exaggerate their qualities.

      Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately and still be accepting of who we are. This means being able to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses (we all have them!) and at the same time recognize that we are worthy and worthwhile.

      Inflated self-esteem is not healthy and the average White parent has been dedicated to inflating the self-esteem in his or her child since the 1970s giving rise to the “ME ME ME Generation”.

      For example, there is this study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that compares Black parents to White.

      “Still, if higher levels of negativity and detachment are truly harmful for a developing child, some may still be concerned for African American male children. This conclusion is less warranted, however, when parenting behaviors are taken as whole.”

      One would think if the average Black parent is negative toward his or her child, then the suicide rate should be higher among Blacks but it isn’t. In fact, the rate of suicides among Blacks is less than half that of Whites.

      Click to access Parenting%20Styles.pdf

      And suicides among Asian-Americans is even lower than Blacks.

      There’s a great piece in the most recent “Time” magazine that indicates how many mostly white parents may have raised children that grew up to be members of the “ME, ME, ME Generation”. If I recall correctly, the “Time” piece says there are about 80 million Americans that were born into this generation, but only 40% demonstrate that they are narcissists and feel that they are entitled. That’s about 32 million Americans or close to 10% of the US population.

      But that is the largest block for that generation and they have an influence that goes far beyond their numbers. I recommend the “Time” magazine piece. It’s well written and refers to a lot of research that has been coming out on this topic in recent years.

      I should make it clear that I read this piece after I published the post we are talking about.

      The issue of “Time” I’m talking about is the May 20, 2013 one. The cover of the magazine says, “The ME ME ME Generation – Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents …” Joel Stein wrote the piece.

      For example, here are a few pull quotes from Stein’s piece:

      “They got this way partly because, in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids’ chances of success by instilling self esteem. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship.”

      “The problem is that when people try to boost self-esteem, they accidentally boost narcissism instead.”

      “All that self-esteem leads them to be disappointed when the world refused to affirm how great they know they are.”

      In addition, studies reveal that Asian-Americans have the lowest sense of self-esteem in America as a racial/ethnic group compared to the other racial/ethnic groups. And most whites born and growing up after the 1970s have the highest sense of self-esteem—also the highest suicide rate and lowest marriage rate, etc.

      It seems that being raised believing that one is perfect in almost every way and hearing that all dreams will come true leads to many very depressed adults later in life.

      And I agree with you. I think there is a middle ground between permissive and authoritarian that is the best way to raise a child. Although some might claim my wife and I are tiger parents, we were not total authoritarians and our daughter did have a voice to express herself and say no. But we turned off the TV six days a week and only watched it for two or three hours on the weekend usually 60 Minutes and a DVD movie. She did not get a cell phone until she was in high school and then only to be used in an emergency or to call us—not for texting and socializing with friends. She never had her own Internet connection, video games, etc. She did date in high school, went to school dances and had a few sleepovers but there was a strict curfew. We had family discussions. We ate dinner together and talked as a family. No electronic devices were allowed at the dinner table or during family discussions. We also spent a lot of time together. Our daughter worked with her mother at the apartment complex she bought and also worked with me at home in the yard. We took long hikes as a family spending much quality time together as families should but many today don’t.

      Because the TV was off six days a week, our daughter turned to books for entertainment and read a lot of books over the years. She loves “The Lord of the Rings” (read it three times) and that vampire series that was made into film—I can’t recall the name right now.

  3. blended purple (@blendedpurple)

    November 1, 2013 at 22:54

    OK, then why do so many Asian women marry outside their culture ? Because of the obscene amount of pressure and conformity within their culture, especially from the elders. Since we are ‘openly’ dealing with stereotypes.

    By the way, Asian immigrants tend to be middle class or more (on average). I surely hope you realize that 99% of Indians are not able to immigrate here (and buy a hotel franchise or the like) or qualify to do so with our self-sufficiency clauses. It’s well known in Asia, where I lived for years, that only ‘rich’ people can immigrate or get a visa to America.

    Therefore you are dealing with what is called a skewed sample in mathematics (I realize you taught English).

    If you want to deal with national or ethnic incomes without the skewed sample biases of immigration, understand that the per capita income of Mexico is about twice as high a China. Get’s a little more complicated then, doesn’t it ?

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      November 2, 2013 at 09:25

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say.

      For example, there are always exceptions to any claim like the claims you are making in your comment. My wife is Chinese. She came from China in the 1980s on a student Visa with only $500 [borrowed from an Aunt who lived in Singapore and eventually that loan was paid back] to her name. Back then, my wife was in her 20s; didn’t speak any English and grew up in poverty knowing hunger during the Mao era in China. To succeed in the United States, once she was here, she had to work more than one job for very low pay while living with fear that she would be deported one day.

      Yet, because of the work ethic she brought with her from China and a high value for education, she succeeded and married this white guy, me. She also learned English, earned an MFA in film at the Chicago Art Institute and raised a daughter who is now in her fourth year at Stanford.

      If you doubt what I say, then I suggest you read my wife’s memoirs: “Red Azalea” and “The Cooked Seed” by Anchee Min. In the 1990s, “Red Azalea” was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Carl Sandburg Award. “The Cooked Seed” has been named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon’s editors.

      You have no argument from me that 99% of Indians [or Chinese] can’t immigrate to the Untied States. Poverty and illiteracy of course play a major role in that fact but also the U.S. has strict regulations for legal immigration and most Indians and Chinese do not qualify and cannot sneak across one of America’s land borders easily. Several thousand miles of ocean make that difficult to impossible and very dangerous. It’s dangerous enough for Latins who live south of the United States who risk death crossing America’s brutal southern deserts as illegal aliens—hundreds and maybe thousands die annually in those deserts.

      My wife being accepted for a student Visa was a fluke, an exception and not the norm.

      The Untied States doesn’t want the world’s poor and illiterate as immigrants. Today, it wants immigrants who are highly educated and have enough money to support themselves.

      If you want to learn more about what it takes to be eligible to apply for US citizenship, here’s one site that explains the process:

  4. SB

    February 23, 2014 at 11:19

    I think the best parenting method is a balance. You know, moderation in all things. Too strict or too permissive is not good.


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