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A Brief History of Parenting – Part 2/3

Amy Chua‘s so-called Chinese parenting style, identified as mostly Authoritarian, is the “CLASSIC” no nonsense do as I say, not as I do parenting style that first came about during Victorian England in the 18th century. The other parenting methods did not materialize until the 20th century, so how Amy Chua raised her two daughters had been in practice for more than two hundred years.

Amy Chua says, “I believed that raising my two daughters the same way my Chinese immigrant parents raised me was the right way and that I had nothing to learn from the laxer parenting I saw all around me.” Source: USA Today

Positive Parenting Ally.com (PPA) says, “I think we can see the early seeds of the authoritarian parenting style in the 18th century. At that point in time, parents in the Western world (particularly the British) began taking the first steps toward a mind shift and become more involved in their children’s upbringing.

PPA also says, “The mind of an authoritarian parent likes order, neatness, routine and predictability.… Children of authoritarian parents tend to do well in school and are said to generally not engage in drinking or drug use. They know the consensus rules and follow them.”

Instead of calling this method of parenting authoritarian or Chinese, I’ve used the term Old-World, which fits and is an acceptable choice of parenting

Authoritarian parenting was a vast improvement over how children had been raised (or not raised) before the 18th century. Prior to the authoritarian parent, children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishments such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death. In fact, the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History

It was in the 18th century that Western parents stopped seeing their children as a potential representation of dark and evil forces that had to be kept in check physically (harsh beatings etc.) and instead attempted controlling their minds, their feelings, and their needs.

Continued on May 24, 2011 in A Brief History of Parenting – Part Three or return to Part 1

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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A Brief History of Parenting – Part 1/3

The Chinese did not invent the parenting style Amy Chua described in her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In fact, the Chinese may have learned this method of parenting from the British, French, Germans, Russians, Portuguese and Americans since this method of parenting first developed in the West in the 18th century.

The 19th century invasion of China by Western powers during The Opium Wars explains what happened, and it was a British citizen from Northern Ireland that may have introduced this style of parenting to the Chinese.

This man was Sir Robert Hart, known as the godfather of China’s modernization. It was Hart, the main character in The Concubine Saga that guided the Qing Dynasty to restructure China’s educational system to compete with the superior, Western style of education of that time.

Recently, I discovered that the one-star critics’ reviews of Amy Chua memoir of raising children the Chinese way had gone too far when another anonymous reviewer calling itself Tiger Indeed left this one-star review, “There once was a nation that fully endorsed these principals (referring to Amy Chua’s parenting methods). It was called the Soviet Union. Enough said.”

This wasn’t a book review. It was an opinionated condemnation of the way Amy Chua raised her children.

Digging further, I discovered that Tiger Indeed had reviewed one book. I’m sure you guessed the title: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Then I discovered Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist, who in the 1960s was the first to identify the different methods of parenting.

Baumrind described Amy Chua’s parenting method but the way Chua raised her daughters wasn’t the same as there is some crossover between Authoritarian and Authoritative.

Continued on May 23, 2011 in A Brief History of Parenting – Part Two

_______________________

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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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Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 8/9

In Part 4 of Recognizing Good Parenting, I focused on another method of parenting—the average Asian-American parent. The results provided in Parts 5 through 8 in that series are impressive.

Well before Amy Chua and her essay in The Wall Street Journal then her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Asiance Magazine reported December 2009, “How (average) Asian-American parents raise successful children.

“What Chinese (Asian-American) parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.

“This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.”

The author wrote, “Western friends (parents) who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most.


Kindergarten children – Is this the result of parents using old-world methods of parenting?

“For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.

“Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best.”

Many of Amy Chua’s critics claim this description of the average Asian-American from Asiance Magazine is a stereotype and is wrong

However, Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. writing in Psychology Today explains Why Chinese Mothers Really are Superior (on average). “It’s not stereotyping when it’s right.… Asian Americans have the lowest self-esteem of any ethnic group in the U.S., but achieve the best academic performance (and, among adults, the lowest unemployment rate)…

“On average,” Dr. Twenge says, “Asian parents use more discipline and insist upon hard work more than Western parents. And on average, their kids do better….”

In Part 9, take a test to discover how much of an “average” American parent you might be.

Continued on May 12, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 9 or return to Part 7

_______________________

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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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in family values, Parenting

 

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The Un-Civil War Between Old-World Values and New Age Parenting – Part 1/2

One definition of the word “SAP” means “a foolish gullible person”. I copied that from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, and Larry Summers sounds as if he were a member of the “SAP” generation.

A friend forwarded a link to Larry Summers vs. Tiger Mom, which was published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on January 27, 2011.

Larry Summers, who has billed himself as a “hard ass”, was President Barack Obama’s top economic advisor for the last few years.

Summers recently left the White House to return to Harvard as a professor then had a debate with Chinese-American “Tiger Mom,” Amy Chua, who wrote an essay that appeared in the WSJ with a headline (she didn’t write), which said, Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

Summers said why go through all the trouble to earn a university education when computers are eventually going to do the work that requires discipline.

He also said, “People on average live a quarter of their lives as children. That’s a lot. It’s important that they be as happy as possible during those 18 years. That counts too.”

Summers isn’t alone in his belief that children should focus on being happy instead of academic excellence.

The average American parent belonging to the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness (more SAPs) spends less than five minutes a day encouraging his or her child to be happy, which explains why the average American child enjoys watching TV (4:29 hours daily); socializing on sites such as Facebook (1:29 hours); playing video games (1:13 hours); listening to music (2:31 hours) while managing to send an average of 50 text messages daily. Source: A Kaiser Generation M2 – Youth Media Survey in January 2010 (other studies support these numbers).

The War Between Old-World Values and New-Age Parenting will continue on April 25, 2011 in Part 2

Discover Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

This revised and edited post first appeared on iLook China January 31, 2011 as Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Education, Parenting, politics

 

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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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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).

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

 

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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Viewed as Single Page

More than twenty years ago, I attended a lecture at one of the Claremont Colleges. I do not recall the speaker’s name but he was a successful journalist that wrote for major publications such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

He had published a memoir of raising his normal, above average daughter and a younger son with an IQ of eighty. The lecture was about how his wife and he raised the son to graduate with honors from high school and be accepted to Harvard where he earned a degree in engineering.

I wish I could remember this journalist’s name and the title of his memoir, but it has been too long. However, I have not forgotten his story. If anyone reading this post knows the title of the memoir, please tell me in a comment.

When this journalist’s son was old enough to start school at age six, the parents agonized over how to raise him so he could live a normal life and compete for jobs in the marketplace as an adult.

Job hunting and earning a living is not without its challenges and competition (on July 6, 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 12.7 million Americans were unemployed, while the number of Americans living in poverty was more than 47 million and many go hungry daily).

For the journalist’s family, to achieve their goals as responsible parents, it was decided to retire the family television to the garage and read books every night with a family hour before bedtime to discuss what each family member read.

Twelve years later, the son with the eighty IQ earned a perfect score on the SAT and the high school principal claimed he had to have cheated. The father argued that his son had not cheated, so the school made the son take the SAT again in a room without any other students, and he was monitored by three staff members. The son earned a second perfect SAT score. Soon after that, the son was accepted to Harvard

This brings me to a post I read at clotildajamcracker (a Blog) called What’s the Matter with Kids these Days?

The post is worth reading—specially the comments. However, the problem is not kids—it’s parents.

In fact, I read one comment from the Headless Coffee Guy that said, “Hey, I hope my daughter will grow up to be a super genius who will find the unified theory in physics, solve world hunger, save the whales, and write her first symphony at 4. … But alas, I think ultimately, it’s really not up to the parent to decide what their child wants to be. We can only nurture and suggest, but it’s really up to the child to make up their own minds. All I really want for my daughter is to be happy.”

Is there anything wrong with Headless Coffee Guy’s concept of parenting as expressed in that previous quote?

When I read, “All I really want for my daughter is to be happy“—that was, in my opinion, a possible excuse to shirk responsibility.

There so much more to parenting than a parent wanting his or her child to only be happy.

What does happiness mean? I’m sure that most everyone would have a different answer. I have several answers depending on the circumstances. I’m happy when my monthly CalSTRS retirement payment is deposited in my bank account, watch a good movie, read a good book, eat a tasty meal, finish daily exercising, have no pain and especially when my wife is happy since that makes life better for me.

However, many today seem to think “happy” means you have to avoid being bored even if that includes not doing homework, classwork, reading or drinking water.


“Teenagers and young adults consume more sugar drinks than other age groups (ages 2-19 years).”
Source:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.org

You might say, “What, drinking water?” Dr. Michael Dedekian, a pediatric endocrinologist at Maine Medical Center, says, “I have children who come to me, and they are being absolutely honest when they say, ‘I can’t drink water. It tastes disgusting to me.’ (They say) that water has become unpalatable.” Source: Minnesota Public Radio.org

Why?

The answer comes from Track Mom.com, who said, “Surveys have found that parents are major role models for their kids’ eating habits, even more so than their peers. … Almost one-third of the children surveyed drank soft drinks daily, and most drank ‘regular,’ not ‘diet,’ drinks. … Virtually all of the respondents liked or ‘strongly liked’ the taste of soft drinks.”

Like most parents, my wife and me wanted our daughter to be happy too. However, we felt it was more important that she be happier as an adult than a child and that meant making sacrifices.

Yes, my wife and me felt it was more important that our daughter be happier as an adult than during her childhood, which is why we left the TV off, no video games, no social networking (at least until her second year in high school), limited the number of school dances she attended, no mobile phone for personal use and focused on her reading books, doing homework, learning ballet, piano, how to change a flat tire, install a toilet, change a lock, install drywall, tile a floor, etc.

And last but not least, we never bought or drank any brand of soda. There was water and then there was water (sometimes there was fruit juice such as apple or orange juice).

Needless to say, many of our daughter’s peers in middle and high school felt sorry for her, because she wasn’t having as much fun as they were. However, our daughter graduated from high school with a 4.65 GPA and was accepted to Stanford University (the only student from her high school that year) where she is starting her third year majoring in biology with goals to pursue a medical degree.

Contrary to popular opinion, she’s happy and loves to dance and play the piano and enjoys reading books. She has a boyfriend at Stanford she loves too and the two share many similar interests. She might want to be happy every waking moment and have loads of fun but she learned as a child that there is a difference between work, happiness, entertainment, bring bored and depression.

To achieve a better chance at adult happiness, her mother and me had to say no to many things leading to boring hours doing homework and studying in addition to reading books to fill the empty hours.

After all, according to the law in California (it varies by state ranging from age 14 to 18), one is a child until his or her eighteenth birthday. Then the child becomes an adult with a life expectancy of at least 84.9 years (on average) if he or she has a college education and earns an above average income. You see, education and income has a significant impact on health and a higher life expectancy and the average college graduate earns much more than a high-school dropout or high-school graduate.

Science Daily reported, “New findings from Harvard Medical School and Harvard University demonstrate that individuals with more than 12 years of education have significantly longer life expectancy than those who never went beyond high school. … Overall in the groups studied, as of 2000, better educated at age 25 could expect to live to age 82; for less educated, 75.”

In addition, The Economic Policy Institute discovered “While life expectancy has grown across the United States between 1980 and 2000, the degree to which people live longer has become increasingly connected to their socio-economic status.” The average life expectancy of the least well-off in 2000 was 74.7 years while it was 79.2 years for those that were most well off—meaning they had more money and usually a better education.

However, if left up to most children in the average family that does not live in poverty, happiness means not exercising, eating lots of sugary foods swallowed with gallons of sugary sodas, watching TV, listening to music, social networking, playing video games, hanging out with friends after school and on weekends, sending daily text messages by the dozens—and according to surveys and studies that is what the average child in America is doing ten hours a day.

Where are the parents?

Then there is this thing about parents blindly encouraging kids to follow their dreams without a realistic backup plan.

Kids are immature, lack knowledge and a sense of reality—at least those American children that are sheltered from the harsh realities of life and competition.

Therefore, many childish dreams are totally unrealistic, such as becoming President of the United States. My wife and me know a family where the oldest son, now a graduate student at Stanford University, dreams of becoming the governor of California one day, yet he hasn’t joined a political party yet.

Anyway, for children dreaming of becoming president of the United States, the odds are almost impossible. After all, there is only one position for that job and since April 30, 1789, when George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States, there have only been forty-four presidents counting President Obama.

Then there is the requirement that one be at least 35 years of age to qualify. With 310 million Americans and two major political parties, competing to become the president of the United States is a long shot with a tough road to follow.

How about professional sports (another popular dream job)? Over the years, while I was still teaching, many of my high school students, mostly boys, told me that it was a waste of time for them to study because they were going to be pro athletes and did not need an education.

However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are only 16,500 jobs in competitive sports and the median pay is $43,740. Most professional athletes do not earn tens of millions of dollars. Only a few earn that kind of money, but those few are all we hear about in the media. From 2010 – 2020, only 3,600 new positions will open up in pro sports or 360 a year (on average). The competition to land one of these positions in pro sports is fierce but not as fierce as president of the US.

How many plumbers are there in the United States? According to the BLS, in 2010, there were 419,000 plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters working in the US with medium annual pay of $46,660 per year. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases to and in businesses, homes, and factories.

Using the BLS Website, we may quickly discover that the number of jobs held by accountants in 2010 was 1,216,900 and there would be 190,700 new jobs coming available between 2010-20 or about 19,000 a year, while the average medium pay for actors (another popular dream job) is $17.44 per hour with new openings numbering 260 per year (on average)—a ratio of 73 accountants to each actor.

I read once that about 40,000 aspiring actors flood into Hollywood each year to compete for those 260 potential positions that pay $17.44 per hour (on average).

Another popular dream job, mostly for girls, is to become a fashion model. According to the BLS, the annual medium pay in 2010 was $32,920 with about 200 openings per year (on average). On the other hand , median pay for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists (beauticians) is $22,500 per year and there are 10,000 new positions opening annually (on average)—a ratio of 50 barbers or hairdressers for each fashion model.

My son, who is currently in his thirties, refused to have a backup plan. Last I heard he was a waiter/bartender. The median pay for waiters/bartenders is $18,130/18,680 annually. He wanted to be an actor/singer.

I was a public school teacher for thirty years and the median pay in 2010 was $53,230. In 2004-2005, my last year in the classroom, I earned more than $80,000. There are 3,380,000 teachers working in the US public schools. Teaching was my back up plan. My dream was to become an author and there are about 145,900 working writers and authors in the United States and the median pay in 2010 was $55,420—a ratio of 23 teachers for each writer/author.

The odds favored teaching.

Just because you can dream, that does not guarantee that the dream will come true. I never gave up on my dream and after I retired from teaching in 2005, my dream became reality in 2008 with the first of three novels of “The Concubine Saga”. My dream was born in 1968 and became reality in 2008—it took forty years.

I’m glad I had a backup plan.

However, I can still hear the average American parent telling his or her child how proud they are that he or she is going to be president of the United States or a famous pro athlete, or actor, or fashion model one day, and then the TV is turned on to watch a popular reality show such as American Idol where the odds of winning are sixty-thousand to one but no one tells us that.

Discover Brainwashing American Style or Avoid the Mainstream Parenting Trap

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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