A column in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has sparked a firestorm in parenting circles. Written by Amy Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, it asserts that the super-strict parenting style of Chinese mothers is superior because it produces much more successful children. The column, which you can read here, has already garnered more than 4,200 comments on the Journal’s Web site and more on its companion Facebook page. Here’s what Ms. Chua says, in part:
What Chinese 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.
Apparently, sleepovers, playdates, performances in school plays, watching TV and playing any instrument other than pianos or violins are evils to be avoided at all cost. That is “permissive” parenting, according to Chua, and wrong, although I doubt that my children (or yours) would label any of us as pushovers.
Still, a switch to Chinese-style parenting–or Ms. Chua’s version of it–might have some advantages in Verona. We would rack up fewer miles on our cars getting kids to sporting events and after-school enrichment programs; we might be able to switch to smaller cars since we’d be toting around less gear. We would have more free time as parents, since we would no longer be coaching, leading and chaperoning the dozens of activities that make up an average day in Verona.
By now, you can probably tell where I stand in the debate. Tell us what kind of parent you are in the poll below.