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Are the good-old Politically Correct Parent Wars heating up?

23 Jan

When Amy Chua came out with her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2011, thanks to The Wall Street Journal’s headline Why Chinese Mothers Are Superiora headline that Chua didn’t write—a firestorm of criticism was unleashed. Chua even received death threats and because I defended her parenting methods in the Amazon forum for her memoir, my own published work was attacked for the first time in more than three years by a small rash of 1-star reviews.

Get ready for the next Parenting Wars, because Chua has another book coming out this February called The Triple Package, and it’s already been attacked by critics who hate her parenting methods. In this nonfiction book, Amy Chua is not alone. Her husband Jed Rubenfeld is the co-author; Rubenfeld is an author in his own right with several novels under his belt—his The Interpretation of Murder, an international bestseller that’s sold more than one-million copies worldwide has enough 1 and 2-star reviews of his book on Amazon to lower its average to 3.7 out of 5 stars. Is it possible that his wife’s politically-correct critics punished him for just being her husband? If so, these are despicable people; they are bullies—proof that there are many Americans who hate anything that goes against what they believe regardless of the facts, and the message is strong: “If you prove what I think is wrong, I’ll gang up on you and see that you pay for it!”

Information for The Triple Package on Amazon says, “Americans are taught that everyone is equal, that no group is superior to another. But remarkably, all of America’s most successful groups believe (even if they don’t say so aloud) that they’re exceptional, chosen, and superior in some way. Americans are taught that self-esteem—feeling good about yourself—is the key to a successful life. But in all of America’s most successful groups, people tend to feel insecure, inadequate, that they have to prove themselves. America today spreads a message of immediate gratification, living for the moment. But all of America’s most successful groups cultivate heightened discipline and impulse control.”

If you watch the following embedded video (with more than 90,000 views), you will hear The (two) Young Turks crucify Chua and Rubenfeld as racists and elitists. But how can this be true when the authors are only pointing out cultural traits that offer advantages that may lead to success later in life—cultural traits found among Nigerians who are black; Chinese and Indians who are Asian; Iranians who are Middle Eastern and Muslims; Lebanese-Americans; Mormons—a minority among religions—who are not Christians; Cubans who are Latino, and Jews who may be found all over the world representing people of all races and ethnic groups. For instance, there are Chinese Jews, Egyptian Jews, Moroccan Jews, Indian Jews; etc.  It’s even estimated that there are more than 200,000 African-American Jews.

In fact, a piece on The Triple Package that appeared at the NationalPost.org concluded: “sociologists and anthropologists said that despite its merits, the discussion of cultural difference inevitably becomes a minefield of assumptions, stereotypes and political correctness, especially when considered in the Western context.”

Are the critics who hate Chua and Rubenfeld’s message denialists who refuse to accept facts that prove we’re not all born—and raised—equally, and does that make the critics a different type of elitist—one who is more dangerous?

I’m convinced that what the Young Turks say in the first video reveals more about how political correctness guides the average American’s thinking, because I was attacked on Diane Ravitch’s Blog by another commenter when I dared to point out that every racial group has a different average IQ. Such talk was called racist—even though studies show this fact is true.

In addition, my wife and I watched a documentary called First Position. It was excellent and even though it wasn’t about parenting and the focus was on youth ballet, the underlying theme had everything to do with parenting.

One blurb on Amazon said: “Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected.”

In the film, we see parents supporting, encouraging; even pressuring [I’m sure that Chua’s critics will claim this is another example of bullying] their kids not to give up. Does that make those parents wrong too? I don’t think so.

There is no instant gratification in youth ballet. To stand a chance at success means spending long hours practicing ballet moves even when in severe crippling pain—and only a few can succeed and reach the top while many fail and every child is aware of the odds. There are no false assumptions. These kids live in a world that is not pumped up with hollow promises that their dreams will come true just because they dream it.

Chua and Rubenfeld’s Triple Package and the film First Position make a strong case against the self-esteem driven, politically-correct method for parenting in the United States.

The truth is that we are not all born equal, and there are no guaranteesnone—that what a child dreams will come true.

But the law and other people should treat us as equals; no one should be denied the opportunity to at least attempt to achieve their goals and dreams. Like a lottery, we should at least be allowed to buy a ticket.

That means some of us will have to work harder at the chance to succeed at what we want out of life, and it helps to have tough parents pushing, encouraging—maybe even using a few bully tactics through tough love—to push a child/teen to go that extra mile. Dreaming is not enough.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning 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.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

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21 responses to “Are the good-old Politically Correct Parent Wars heating up?

  1. Lloyd Lofthouse

    January 27, 2014 at 07:34

    Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse.

     
  2. Marilyn Armstrong

    January 27, 2014 at 07:52

    The trolls are ever busy seeking targets. I reviewed a book that I thought was rather unsubtly racist and I got so slammed — for having an opinion — I took the review down. The trolls got banished (eventually) by Amazon, but they are slow on the uptake. I think they don’t mind a little ugliness, as long as it keeps people coming by to read reviews and buy books. Controversy sells books … or as so many people in the public eye have noted, “As long as they spell your name right …”

    But authors … we are sensitive, no matter how long we’ve been at it. Every piece is our baby. I have learned as a reviewer that no author EVER forgives or forgets a bad review. Many won’t even forgive a mediocre review. I try hard to find redeeming features in anything I review … sometimes not possible, but I try. It’s easiest when I’m reviewing dead authors and worst when I’m friends with the author. I find myself praying I love the book. Friendships have foundered on less.

    The trolls, on the other hand, absolutely LOVE causing pain, the more, the better. They can smell blood from far out in cyberspace. You can’t fight them, not really. After all, we live in a “free” society and everyone is “entitled” to his/her opinion.

    Thing is, these aren’t really opinions. They aren’t a genuine point of view. These are TROLLS and they will say whatever it takes to cause hurt and/or stir up the water. I really hate those people … and I don’t usually hate anyone. But they ruin the internet for everyone.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      January 27, 2014 at 15:59

      This is true.

      I’ve had some negative reviews of my work sprinkled in with the others, and I know they are there but I would have to go back and read them again to remember what they said, because they are usually short and say nothing about the actual story, plot or theme. They are snarky and just mean spirited—a sure sign of a troll.

      And even if I was angry at the reviewers, there’s no way to know who they are because they all used anonymous names.

      I’ve also had some mixed reviews that I don’t disagree with. For instance, I had one reviewer several years ago writing under her real name who was honest that she didn’t like the sex scenes and she gave “My Splendid Concubine” 2-stars. She was honest with how she felt but she did go into detail about what she liked in the story—a mixed review that sounded more like 3-stars than two. But that’s just my opinion.

      In fact, I pulled a quote from her review and tweeted it for awhile with a link to her review because the only complaint she had was the sex. My reasoning was that if someone read her review who didn’t mind the sex, the rest of what she wrote might convince them to read the book.

      My latest book, Running with the Enemy, is very violent with lots of profanity and mature sexual themes that I’m sure will offend some readers. But that’s the way it really was. In the Marines almost every other word is profanity. Marines are inventive when it comes to colorful language. You should have heard the songs we sang when we were running thirty miles with a backpack filled with sand. I recall something like “she had her boobs in a bucket”.

      As for Trolls, they should be drafted to fight in Afghanistan after a full year of training as a Navy Seal without the option of quitting. They either graduate from that year long training or spend the rest of their life trying.

      Lloyd

       
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 16:44

        My husband was a marine, but after all these years — more than 60 (egads!!) — he has (mostly) cleaned up his act. He kind of had to, being on TV and all. He couldn’t afford to have bad verbal habits that might slip up on him when he was on the air. I, on the other hand … well … I’m better than I used to be, anyhow.

        Got your book a few minutes ago, so I’m expecting at the very least, an great adventure 🙂 And it can’t be any more violent than Phoenix Island. That was actually gruesome. I could have used some profanity and sex to break up the violence.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 27, 2014 at 16:55

        I know what your husband went through cleaning up his act. My first year teaching was in a fifth grade classroom. That’s where I had to censor my language. But at home I sometimes let go and the result is that our daughter can cuss like a Marine when she wants to. When she was seven, that got me in trouble with my wife.

        She acts all prim and proper most of the time but when some of her friends at Stanford made the mistake of thinking she was a girly girl, she let go and roasted some ears and they weren’t corn.

        Hopefully the profanity and sex will be enough to break up the violence.

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 16:59

        I’ll let you know.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 27, 2014 at 17:01

        Thank you.

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 16:45

        I love the idea of someone spending an entire life trying to graduate from SEAL training. Talk about the punishment fitting the crime. It wouldn’t make a bad plot for a book, either … reality-based sci fi, you know?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 27, 2014 at 16:50

        Now if I only had the time to write it. Imagine an opening where the FBI is breaking into a house to arrest a Troll who is then sentenced to Navy Seal training followed by combat somewhere in the world fighting al Qaeda. A minimum of six years of active duty. The troll either spends one year in Navy Seal training and then is sent off to fight or they spend six years in training until they are released.

        What happens if the Troll is twelve or eighty?

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 16:52

        Tough luck?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 27, 2014 at 17:00

        I think most adolescents (girls and boys) who are physically fit should go through Marine Corps boot camp and then serve for a year in the Marines before being given a choice to start high school (for grades 10, 11 and 12) or stay in the Marines those three years.

        And if they left the Marines and let their academic GPA drop below 2.5, they automatically go back in the Marines for another semester before being given another chance at high school.

        Then we wouldn’t need all this reform and testing because about 99% of the kids would be reading at grade level and teachers could teach all the time instead of part of the time.

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 17:02

        I TOTALLY agree with you! We’re turning out a generation of weenies.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 27, 2014 at 20:44

        There’s still strict parents who know how to say no, but I think they’re keeping a low profile because the largest block of parents in the country—the average parent—jumped on this self-esteem bandwagon and think it’s important for the kids to never face failure and be happy all the time. Look at what happened to Amy Chua when her memoir came out—death threats and predictions her kids would be unhappy adults.

        What the permissive, self-esteem obsessed parents do every time a strict parent—known as a tiger parent—becomes visible is start calling them child abusers and then claiming the children will grow up unhappy with serious mental problems.

        But the facts show that kids raised with a false sense of self esteem are having more serious psychological problems as adults—-higher rates of suicide; higher divorce rates; higher rates of drug use—then the kids raised by tiger parents. I’ve written about this topic on this Blog with links to the primary sources.

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 27, 2014 at 20:47

        This hits too close to home. Watching my granddaughter absolutely kills me. But it’s not a battle I can fight. Not my kid, just a grandchild. It hurts.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 28, 2014 at 07:57

        Are you talking about the parental obsession over boosting self-esteem?

        If so, you may want to check out how many videos there are for “Boosting self-esteem in children” on You-Tube to understand this monster.

        http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=boosting%20a%20child%27s%20self%20esteem&sm=12

        This fad (a certified politically correct popular movement) has a long history going back to the end of the 19th century. It started as a topic of debate among professionals leading to a few books on the subject that started more discussions. This talk would last for decades.

        Then Robert H. Schuller preached its importance on his “Hour of Power” TV show that reached an English speaking Global audience of 1.3 million in 156 countries. In 1982, he published his book “Self-Esteem: The New Reformation” and that’s when the movement—like the snowball rolling downhill until it’s an avalanche sweeping a mountainside clean— went viral and spread to the public schools through parents. The pressure was intense for teachers to water down the curriculum, inflate grades and remove any teaching methods that might upset children and bruise their self-esteem. For assistance, rote learning became bad. Phonics was attacked because it required boring drills. Teaching grammar was assaulted because it might confuse and frustrate children, and I still remember when the English teachers were told to throw out the grammar books and rely on the untested and unproven theory of the Whole Language approach to teaching reading that only required kids to read outside of school at home thirty or more minutes a day—–the theory preached that by just reading, kids would learn how to spell, write complete sentences and punctuate them correctly.

        The thinking was to take all the pain out of learning so everything would be fun and contribute to the growth of a child’s self-esteem. Even listing GPA lists was criticized. Many high schools stopped academically ranking kids by GPA when they graduated.

        And many universities dropped all classes that taught teachers in training how to teach grammar. For a decade, new teachers would enter the profession thinking that teaching proper spelling and mechanics was bad for kids because it would hurt their self-esteem.

        Ten years later, California’s public schools slid from close to first place in the nation to almost dead last and grammar was revived. The new teachers had to go back and take classes to learn grammar for themselves but phonics and rote learning didn’t come along with the return of grammar because parents still didn’t like to hear their children complain about how boring those two were.

        Boosting a false sense of self-esteem in children is an industry worth millions—maybe hundreds of millions—and like the defense industry it isn’t’ going to go away. It’s an established industry and too much money is involved.

        Are you talking about the parental obsession over boosting self-esteem?

        If so, you may want to check out how many videos there are for “Boosting self-esteem in children” on You-Tube to understand this monster.

        http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=boosting%20a%20child%27s%20self%20esteem&sm=12

        This fad (a certified politically correct popular movement) has a long history going back to the end of the 19th century. It started as a topic of debate among professionals leading to a few books on the subject that started more discussions. This talk would last for decades.

        Then Robert H. Schuller preached its importance on his “Hour of Power” TV show that reached an English speaking Global audience of 1.3 million in 156 countries. In 1982, he published his book “Self-Esteem: The New Reformation” and that’s when the movement—like the snowball rolling downhill until it’s an avalanche sweeping a mountainside clean— went viral and spread to the public schools through parents. The pressure was intense for teachers to water down the curriculum, inflate grades and remove any teaching methods that might upset children and bruise their self-esteem. For assistance, rote learning became bad. Phonics was attacked because it required boring drills. Teacher grammar was assaulted because it might confuse and frustrate children, and I still remember when the English teachers were told to throw out the grammar books and rely on the untested and unproven theory of Whole Language approach to teaching reading that only required kids to read outside of school at home thirty or more minutes a day—the theory preached that by just reading, kids would learn how to spell, write complete sentences and punctuate them correctly. And many universities dropped all classes that taught teachers in training how to teach grammar. For a decade, new teachers would enter the profession thinking that teaching proper spelling and mechanics was bad for kids.

        Ten years later, California’s public schools slid from close to first place in the nation to almost dead last and grammar was revived. The new teachers had to go back and take classes to learn grammar for themselves but phonics and rote learning didn’t come along with the return of grammar because parents still didn’t like to hear their children complain about how boring those two were.

        Boosting a false sense of self-esteem in children is an industry worth millions—maybe hundreds of millions—and like the defense industry it isn’t’ going to go away. It’s an established industry and too much money is involved.

        Can we blame younger parents when they grew up in this world surrounded by the cult of self-esteemism? It’s a religion with its own god. And anyone who dares to disagree or stand in the way will be flattened by the army of self-esteem crusaders.

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 28, 2014 at 08:11

        I’m talking about protecting a kid from having to cope with reality until she is convinced she can’t. It’s a tragedy — a painful process to watch, especially when it’s one of your own. It’s political correctness, bad psychology, and wrong-headed parenting in one evil ball of good intentions gone horribly awry.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 28, 2014 at 15:13

        I agree, and protecting kids from coping with reality started when the self-esteem movement among parents went viral back in the 1980s and then like a malignant cancer spread from the pulpit to the home to the schools until it took on a life of its own. Is it stage four already?

        Parents need to be parents who say no; limit play time—TV, video games, listening to music, social networking, texting—and let kids learn what failure means even if it does bruise their precious self-esteem.

        Studies and surveys in the advertising industry show that the average kid in America spends more than 10 hours a day dividing their time up watching TV, playing video games, sending text messages that are mostly nonsense, listening to music, hanging out with friends at the local mall, or social networking on sites like Facebook.

        Meanwhile, the average American parent spends 3.5 minutes of meaningful conversation a week with their children.

        And since the average kids are spending more time watching TV and hanging out with their same age peers at the mall or on-line, the parents aren’t raising those kids.

        Parental influence comes from being involved in the child’s life. If we compare 3.5 minutes a week to 70 hours spent watching TV, social networking, texting, hanging out, playing video games, etc., it’s obvious that the parents are not parents.

        This Monday I walked downtown to see a movie. At the box office, the person taking the money told the couple in front of me that the local schools were out because teachers were having a student-free training day. Before and after the movie, I noticed the streets were filled with kids hanging out with few if any adults with them.

        Why weren’t those kids home reading, doing homework, studying? Where were the parents? Did they turn the babysitting over to the local shopping centers and to the other kids?

         
      • Marilyn Armstrong

        January 28, 2014 at 15:38

        I was no great disciplinarian … but compared to my son and DIL, I was a Marine drill instructor. It’s horrible to sit on the sidelines and watch. But anything I do will just make it worse. It’s good to know when to back off, like it or not … and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        January 28, 2014 at 15:48

        My parents weren’t all that great at disciplining me and at times as a teenager I was a rowdy jerk. But then I joined the Marines right out of high school, and they taught me a few things about what discipline meant. It changed my life. I’m sure of that. Because I survived the war and kept my legs and arms, I think joining the Marines may have been one of the to five decisions I’ve made in life.

        I’m not talking about when my mother taught me to read. That’s when she was tough as nails. But once she succeeded teaching me to read, she pretty much stopped with the discipline and let me do pretty much whatever I wanted to do.

        I shudder at the thought of what my life would have been if I hadn’t joined the Marines.

        For instance my older brother who was illiterate all his life and lived most of it in poverty; spent fifteen years of his 64 years on this earth in prison; was into drugs; was a smoker and was an alcoholic most of his life.

         
  3. Katharine Joyner

    February 1, 2014 at 05:09

    When I read Amy Chua’s article on the WSJ a few days ago, I was appalled that the public’s response was so divided. Many people seemed to actually acknowledge her style of parenting as superior, admiring her for all the effort she has put into raising her children and for their accomplishments at such a young age. As I mulled over the article and the various responses to it on my Facebook wall and other online news sources and blogs, I decided to write a response from a different perspective.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      February 1, 2014 at 08:37

      Do you have a link to your response? I’m interesting in your opinion, your perspective on this parenting issue.

       

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