Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Being the modern Asian parent

Read this very insightful article in the New Yorker - it's not about parenting at all; but about the science of the mind. Coincidentally, in the same week I read a lot of articles on the superiority of the tiger mom - how a disciplinarian Asian mom raised two very accomplished girls.

Being a modern Asian parent is a tough balancing act, I would imagine. On one hand, we Asians are conditioned to believe - in varying degrees - that softness in parenting is not good. There is the argument that "we had strict parents & we turned out just fine". On the other hand, we have this growing exposure to the western thought of "the parents' job is to instill confidence & love in their child" and their style of treating kids like little adults doesn't come intutively to most Asians - to be honest, I am not entirely convinced it works. Asian parents today don't intend to be the sort who order their child to get A+; but they're also unable to be the sort who sit back and say, 'at least you gave it your best shot' when the child gets a C.

Going back to that article from the New Yorker though, this is probably what really counts:
"He’d been taught to think vertically, moving ever upward, whereas maybe the most productive connections were horizontal. He’d been taught that intelligence was the most important trait. But there weren’t even words for the traits that matter most."

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