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High expectations of character for our children

January 20th, 2011

In further reflection of Amy Chua’s controversial article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, I don’t disagree with her premise that parents should have high expectations for their children. I would consider myself a “Chinese” mother who has high expectations for my children and want them to reach their potential. Who can argue with that?

But I think Chua’s high expectations of academic and musical achievements are misplaced.

What is the definition of “success” for our children? What is the most important accomplishment I want to see in my children? Is my highest goal for them merely to play in Carnegie Hall?

Chua’s high expectations for her children are rather superficial.

I have high expectations of my children, but it’s not for straight A’s or excel in piano or violin. My children’s display of strong moral character is my expectation. I want my children to be “good” – to have compassion, character, and integrity.

Here are my high expectations of my children’s character:

1. Zero-tolerance on lying and cheating. If you fail, it’s not a sin. But it is a sin if you lie about it. If I ever catch you lying and cheating, you will be on every restriction there is. This is because if you tell one lie, I can never trust if any of your words are true, and I will have to watch everything you do.

2. Zero-tolerance on accessing inappropriate sites on the computer. If I see any history on the computer of porn, gambling, violent games, foul language, inappropriate chatting, etc., all your technology toys will be taken away. You may know more about technology and think you can hide things from me, but I am an adult with more savvy and eyes than you know. Do not think I am stupid.

3. Zero-tolerance on arrogance. We live in a privileged time and place in history, with access to education, resources, technology, etc. These are gifts given to us to use to serve our fellow man, not to taunt and brag. If  I see you looking down on others or being too prideful to help people,  you will not receive my help next time you ask – I will not give money, I will not drive you anywhere, I will not cook you dinner. Then you will know that what you have does not come from your efforts alone. You will see that you should help others as you are helped.

What are some zero tolerance values do you hold in your family?

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  1. […] has sparked controversy. According to Chua, the “Chinese” parenting method of exerting high expectations and control of your children is not only good for children, but she criticizes the […]


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