Throughout your life, you may have closely watched your family members, relatives, or friends welcome a new addition to their families. It’s an exciting and beautiful experience to witness them tackle this role as new Mothers and Fathers, You may have found yourself forming judgements and taking down mental notes while analyzing their parenting strategies. You’d think to yourself, “I want to raise my future children like them” or “Never in a million years would I treat my child like that”.
Many of us create our own images of what is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to parenting. Perhaps you are expecting to have children in the future or perhaps you already do. The undeniable truth is: Parenting is tough With the amount of differing advices from parenting “experts“, finding the “perfect” how»to guide is almost impossible The challenge comes from discerning facts from myths between ‘experts‘; and truth from lies to help you answer the question: What makes the perfect parent?
The controversial excerpt, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior published in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, from Yale law professor Amy Chua’s best-selling book demonstrated Chua‘s advocacy for strict, “Chinese” parenting strategies over permissive, “Western” strategies According to Chua, Chinese mothers’ accentuation on academic excellence- even to the detriment of their children‘s self esteem and individuality by “ [overriding] their preferences,” (8) – is the reason why they are superior to Western Parentsi Chua claims that she can attest to this since she, a Chinese mother, has raised two academically and musically accomplished daughters, Sophia and Lului To prove her assertion, she informs the result of one study consisted of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers; the result shows that “almost 70% of the Western mothers said that ‘stressing academic success is not good for children (7) while 0% Chinese mothers agreed.
Although this study help contrast the two parenting styles, it is ineffective in explaining whether Chinese parent’s beliefs would actually result in academically successful children. Moreover, her failure to cite the source of this study eliminates its legitimacyt Amy Chua’s inability to provide well founded research isn’t the only fault in her argument that makes it inapplicable. Within this excerpt, Chua shares an anecdote of her encounter at a dinner party fraught with criticisms after revealing her parenting style to her Western friendsi Chua was “…immediately ostracized [and] one guest became so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early” (10) Her experience evidently provided her with a reason to antagonize Western parents since they had made her feel inadequate and alienated, Furthermore, her husband Jed, whom parenting style resonates with her description of a “western parent“, was a confounding variable within the household.
During an altercation where Chua was insulting Lulu for failing to play “The Little White Donkey” , Jed intervened and dissuaded Chua from acting in such demeanors, Through their interaction, it is apparent that Jed played a role in raising their daughters and often interfered with Chua‘s “Chinese” parenting with his “Western“ parenting, Thus, Amy Chua’s claim that her parenting strategies were responsible for her two daughter‘s success was proven to be false. Amy Chua‘s notion that “Chinese parenting is the best” was met with numerous opposing forces- one of which being David Brooks, In his article Amy Chua is a Wimp published in the New York Times on January 2017. Brooks criticized Chua for coddling her children and “protecting them from the most mentally challenging activities? Brooks believes that when children develop friendships through sleepovers, their social and emotional intelligence flourishes, Brooks brought up a research performed by M.LT and Carnegie Mellon that found that“ groups have a high intelligence together when members of a group are good at reading each others’ emotions“(10).
From this research, Brooks claim that social intelligence is the key indicator of a child’s success. However, his claim is weak because he did not cite the name of the actual research and the procedures, He is drawing a conclusion from a source he has yet to prove credible. He then argues that interpersonal skill is cultivated through real life experiences and “is not taught in school’i He claims that Chua is obstructing her children from learning these essential skills by “making them rush home to hit the homework table”. Nevertheless, Brooks did not provide any research or evidence to disprove schools‘ ability to teach students social skills. While making these claims, he failed to provide evidence to support his point of view Likewise to Chua, Brooks‘s argument is frail and lack sufficient evidence to support.
Every parents want to be the best parent they could be for their children, but there are just so many conflicting advice and guides on how to raise a child from “experts” like Chua and Brooks At that point, how can one find a legitimate source to guide them to become the ”perfect parent”? More imperatively, what variables can help a parent raise an overall well-rounded and successful child? The answer to this question lies within Stephen Leavitt and Steven Dobner’s book Freakonomics in the chapter What Makes a Perfect Parent? This chapter introduces a research project created by the U.S Department of Education called ECLS( Early Childhood Longitudinal Study) that refutes both Chua and Brooks’s claimi ECLS measured the academic performance progress of over twenty thousand children from Kindergarten through Fifth gradee all from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds.
The study was designed to provide comprehensive and reliable datas that can be utilized to depict and to comprehend children‘s development and experiences, as well as how children’s early experiences relates to their growth, Using regression analysis, the data discovered that by setting a control on the parents’ income, education, and mother’s age, the black-white test score gap would be Virtually eradicated. Evidently, the ethnicity of a child does not determine his or her success in school, but rather outside factors. Using datas collected by the ECLS, Leavitt and Dubner have narrowed down eight factors that strongly correlates with test performances. These eight factors include: the parent’s education level, socioeconomic status, involvement in PTA, and (4) ability to speak english at home; the mother’s age at first born; the child‘s birthweight and adoption status; as well as the amount of books in their home. Leavitt and Dubner explains, “Socioeconomic status is a strong indicator of success in general- It suggests a higher IQ and more education- and successful parents are more likely to have successful children’s.
Parents, especially mothers, who prioritize education and work have a high socioeconomic status and are more financially equipped to raise a child. Moreover, they hold stronger values for education and would want the same for their child, From this, it can be concluded that technique is overrated, because the factors that propel children into the direction of success are predetermined before his or her birth, What matters isn’t so much what the parents do, but who they are and the life they created for themselves. The ECLS have consolidated groundwork to what makes the perfect parent, which leads us to the next big question: What approach should parents take in raising their children? The organization, American Psychological Association, published an article on September 2013 titled, ” ‘Tiger Parenting’ Doesn‘t Create Child Prodigies, Find New Research” by Jamie Chamberlint The article explores an eight year longitudinal research done by Su Yeong Kim, a professor at the University of Texas, that will help resolve the big question.
The study was designed to determine the different type of parenting strategies as well as how these different types of parenting influence a child’s development over time. Likewise to ECLS, Kim‘s research consisted of a large sample size of four hundred and forty four Chinese-American mothers, Kim sorted the different styles of parenting through eight positive and negative attributes. The positive attributes include warmth; inductive reasoning, parents explaining their reasons for discipline; and monitoring their children’s whereabouts. Negatives attributes include shaming, hostility, and pushing without explanation. She has found that parenting in the Chinese culture is a mix of power-assertive type parenting and supportive parenting- 45% supportive, 28% tiger parents, 20% easygoing, and 7% harsh. Tiger parents scored high on both positive and negative, meaning “they’re warm, wmonitor their kids closely while also demonstrating hostility towards bad behavior, [punish] without an explanation, [and use] shame to mold behavior”.
On the other hand, supportive parents scored low on negative dimensions and high on positives, So which style of parenting is best for the children’s outcome? Despite what Amy Chua had claimed, the children of supportive parents actually scored the highest academically and socially while “tiger kids did worse academically and socially.” Psychologically, children of tiger parents have “higher rates of depressive symptoms… as well as high academic pressure and feeling alienation from parents. Children with supportive parents actually showed the best developmental outcomes while tiger parents were the worse next to harsh parents. Thus, showing warmth; using inductive reasoning to explain disciplinary actions; monitoring your children; giving your children autonomy in conversations and behaviours; and being overall supportive parents are highly encouraged. Truth is, perfect parenting has never existed nor will it ever. We should take the pressure off of trying to be perfect or trying to raise perfect kids. Instead, strive to be the best imperfect.