That Asian Parent Thing

The Amy Chua article has caused something of a stir in the Asian American community. I’ve read a bunch of different viewpoints and don’t really have anything new to add. I think it is mostly true and captures a more extreme view what a lot of me and my Asian peers experienced. I would call my parents on the medium to low pressure scale compared to other Asian American parents but still more than the average white peer, and for that I’m thankful. Yes I had to take more violin than I would’ve volunteered for. Yes I got above average SAT scores(nowhere close to 1600).There was an emphasis on science and math, which eventually got me interested in computers and computer science. I won the math and science award at school. I played pretty good tennis.

I think it did breed in me a pretty strong competitive instinct. In some ways, I think that’s pretty important, because I compete at something all the time even today, though that could be just my male ego. By the time I got to college I was plenty prepared for the academic experience. Though I wasn’t as prepared for the social aspect. I coped and learned as most people do.

From a standpoint of making sure that kids are financially self-sufficient I think the Asian style parenting is very successful at what it does. The biggest thing a parent can provide kids is provide financial stability, and the best way to do that is with either an inheritance or an education, you know teach a man to fish and all.  Obviously some people take it to extremes, but clearly if you measure salaries the average outcome  for an Asian American is very good. It’s pretty rare that I hear about a poor destitute Asian.

On balance, I think there’s nothing wrong with being a little Asian style parenting and I hope to be as successful as my parents were. As a parent I’m going to probably going to split the middle of what my parents would do versus what a typical white parent would do. This article reminds me that it’s hard to be a good at anything if you never push yourself. And it’s important to test your limits every so often, whether it’s physically, mentally, or psychologically. So maybe I’ll push my kids a bit more than I have been. Anyone in the South Bay know a good piano school?

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