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Tag Archives: parenting methods

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

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.

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Parenting 101 — the Amy Chua Controversy

I’m sure that Amy Chua had no idea she was about to light a Baby Boomer fuse that would explode when she wrote her essay published in The Wall Street Journal about Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

In 2000, Paul Begala, a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”

Begala was right.

Starting in the 1960s, the Boomers also gave birth to the narcissistic, self-esteem generation.

When Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother went on sale, my wife and I went to the local Barnes and Noble and bought a copy. It took us more than a week to read the book. My wife went first.

However, the morning that Chua’s memoir went on sale, dozens of one-star reviews appeared on Amazon.com condemning the book before anyone had time to read it.

Later, Amazon.com deleted many of these critical reviews that were bitter, caustic, personal attacks on Chua’s parenting methods and had nothing to say of the memoir. It was obvious that most if not all of those early one-star reviews were based on the essay in The Wall Street Journal.

Nancy (not her real name), who works for Barnes and Noble (where we bought a copy of the memoir), told us of an experience she had substitute teaching in a girls P.E. Class. She said there were about 150 girls. Half were Asian and half were Caucasian. When Nancy told them to sit and read or do what they wanted, the Asians took out books and studied. The Caucasians started to text, do makeup and gossip.

Studies show that the “average” American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attend a parent-teacher conference. Boomer parents are so self-absorbed with other interests that TV, the Internet, video games and other teens become substitute parents to their children.

However, when most Chinese mothers (or Asian American) come together, their conversations focus on their children and education, which explains why studies show Asian-American students have the lowest incidence of STDs, teen pregnancy, illegal drug and alcohol use and the highest GPAs, graduation rates from high school and highest ratio of college attendance.

What do you think the “average” Caucasian Boomer mothers talk about when they get together?

A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it is obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

Discover Recognizing Good Parenting

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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