Thursday, January 13, 2011


What makes Chinese students so successful academically? The answer may lie in strict discipline aka traditional Chinese upbringing. But just how strict is strict? Where does one draw the line?

In her new book 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother', Yale professor Amy Chua shares how she raised her two daughters to be academically brilliant and musically-talented. Western mothers are horrified by her methods of parenting. By western parenting standards, Chua is considered a Monster Mom.

Click here to read the extract taken from Chua's book.

Our own parenting days have long passed, but with our adult children so busy with work, we are often called upon to babysit our grandchildren. We become stand-in parents. How do we fare in the 'nurturing and upbringing' department? How do we make our young ones do their homework, or practise the piano? When they don't do well in their exams, do we call them "Retards! Worthless!"? Do we threaten them when they refuse to sleep early or spend too much time watching TV? Do we spank them if they are rude?

Or do we spoil them and excuse every display of mischief, rebelliousness and disrespect with "Oh, they are just kids"?

If you are a Chinese in your 60s and 70s, you will probably recall the strict rules of discipline that Chinese parents enforced upon their children back in the 1940s and 50s. Those were the days of the rod. Remember the awful name-calling? It's a wonder that most of us survived our childhood physically and emotionally unscathed.

On a related note - how do parents plant the seed of financial brilliance in their children? For instance, what did Mark Zuckerberg's parents do right to produce a son who, at only 26, has a fortune that Forbes estimates is worth USD6.9billion? Or the parents of India's Suhas Gopinath, the world's youngest CEO? Now 24 and a multi-millionaire, he started his company when he was only 14.

If the secrets of bringing up future billionaires were published in a book, parents the world over would be queuing up to grab a copy.

Has anyone done an in-depth study of parents of gifted kids? It would be interesting to know whether these parents share similar child-raising methods. Food for thought.

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