Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, by Amy Chua (a parody)

By Amy Chua (original horrifying content can be found here)

Lot of people want know why Chinese parents do such good job raising children.  Stupid white people wonder “Why my kid not math whiz or music prodigy?”  It not difficult to answer.  Stupid white people let their children do stupid white things.  Here some things my kids never allowed to do:

  • Sleep over at stupid white friend’s house
  • Play with stupid white kids
  • Perform in play written by dead white people
  • Watch television, except for Fox News
  • Get any grades less than A, especially not F or G.  Do they have G?  I don’t know because my kid NOT ALLOWED!

When I talk about Chinese parent, I don’t mean just Chinese.  I pretty much mean anything but white.  Or black, because they lazy.  Chinese parents produce children who make parents proud.  They always successful, except for girls who disappoint us for not being boys.  Nice thing about being Chinese parent is that if kid not successful, it ancient Chinese secret to ignore that child and pretend she (it never he) is no longer part of family!

My friends who stupid white parents think that being strict means making children practice instruments for thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes!  That nothing.  My children must practice for three hours minimum while I whip them with coathanger.  Now that discipline.

What my stupid white friends not understand is that nothing is fun unless you expert at it.  You cannot be expert at something unless you practice many, many hours and work so hard until hands bleed.  Then, fun!

Sometimes children do not want to study or work hard because apparently they not like fun at all.  Chinese parent call children “garbage” or “terrible human being” in order to motivate and shame.  Motivate and shame mean same thing in Chinese.  If I tell my fat bitch daughter “Hey fatty, lose weight” it because I am motivating her to do better and shaming her because she big fat embarrassment to family.  Win win.

Here are three major differences I notice between Chinese parent and stupid white parent:

1.  Stupid white parent care about self-esteem.  So stupid! Self esteem for weak people – Chinese parent assume child has strength and beat down strength with insult and belittling.

2.  Chinese parent know that child owe parent everything.  In fact, Chinese daughter better be happy that she not killed in womb or after birth! Chinese child know that for rest of parent’s life, child must care for parent. And Chinese parent live long time!

3.  Chinese parent know what best for child.  Remember, child stupid!  Child not aware that child needs feet to be bound painfully until fit in tiny shoe or have clitoris removed to avoid any sexual pleasure.  Chinese parent always know best.

In conclusion, only way that stupid white children ever going to succeed in life is not by being child or playing or having fun.  Only by working and being berated and insulted and forced to meet high expectations of parent can any stupid white child measure up to the worst Chinese child.  And no matter what, my kid better than your kid.

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73 Replies to “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, by Amy Chua (a parody)”

  1. Suebob

    You KNOW her book is gonna sell a zillion copies, right? Because Americans LOVE to be told how fucked up we are. We love the idea of freedom, hamburgers, and being told how fucked up we are. Not in that order, of course.

  2. Megan

    At the risk of attracting ire, she does have a point: Expecting that your child can do something, even something challenging, is really the only way they will push themselves to do it. I have to do this all the time with Mack because everyday things are difficult for him, but he will eventually have to make his bed, hang up his clothes and generally navigate the world all by himself. I expect it from him and make him do things he’d usually cop out of because if I don’t, I’m not doing my job. I express my disappointment when he doesn’t perform up to his potential, but I draw the line at berating him. And kids need to be kids. Life is short and achievement isn’t everything.

    All that being said – you funny white man.

    • Avitable

      @Megan, oh, it’s good to push your children and encourage them to meet their potential. The agenda she’s discussing is more than that, though, and according to her content, is the only proper way to raise a child.

      • cagey

        @Avitable, Oh I agree – my husband and I have a lot of fun with stereotypes, particularly considering we can dip into two cultures. It is a tricky line to navigate, though. Sometimes, I think we ought to be more careful lest our kids grow up thinking that surely all Patels must own gas stations and motels or that all Sikhs are stern, hard-working folks. And god forbid, they grow up thinking all Kansans are Republicans.

  3. Lloyd Lofthouse

    I’m sure that Amy Chua had no idea she was about to light a fuse that would explode when her essay was published in The Wall Street Journal about Why Chinese Mothers are Superior, which they are.
    However, I am not surprised at the response.
    I suspect that most of Chua’s critics are either of the US Baby Boomer generation, the Narcissistic, Self-esteem generation (NSG) raised by the Boomers or children that resent mothers that sets strict rules and use the word “NO” often.
    In 2000, Paul Beagle, who was a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”
    He was right.
    Studies show that the average American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attended a parent-teacher conference for their children kindergarten through twelfth grade.
    NSG parents are worse.
    In fact, according to data at the Media Literacy Clearinghouse, in 2009, the average hours:minutes spent with each medium in a typical day among eight to eighteen year olds in the US was 4:29 watching TV; 2:31 listening to music/audio; 1:29 on the computer; and 1:13 playing video games.
    When do these children and teens have time to study? Where are the parents? Do these parents know how to say “NO” as most Chinese mothers do?
    A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese but was a US public school teacher once as I was for thirty years, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it’s obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.

    • Avitable

      @Lloyd Lofthouse, you’re right, because a campaign of insulting and belittling is definitely the way to love a child. Sorry, let my eyes stop rolling.

      You can encourage your child to succeed and even make them practice at something so they’ll be good without tearing them down. There’ s a happy medium between the super-lax parenting and the super-restrictive militant parenting. Neither is correct.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse


        Your response to my comment is an example of ignorance of Chinese culture and history.

        In 2009, students in Shanghai China scored higher than any country on the planet that took the International PISA test, while the US ranked 23rd (on the same test) of 65 countries. That is the result of the soft approach of parenting that you are defending.

        Amy Chua’s mothering style is not unique. In China, it is quite common and has been for centuries.

        Often the difference between a life at the bottom of the economic ladder in China and a Western middle-class lifestyle is through an education. Since only 15% of students in China’s public schools will earn high enough scores on the national exams in China to go onto to earn a university degree in China, Chinese mothers are tough.

        Granted, not all are as tough as the picture Amy Chua paints in her Wall Street Journal essay, but most come very close. To the Chinese mother, being nice and telling her children lies that they can do it, they are smart, and their dreams will come true is being cruel when 85% of the children do not get into a university and must stay in lower paying jobs.

        Amy Chua is a product of a very competitive collective culture and in that type of culture, how she raises her children is acceptable and common.

        It’s all about competition and if most of China’s mothers are being tough as Amy Chua is with her children and you aren’t, the chances are your child will not get into a university or be able to compete.

        In fact, my wife (who was born and raised in Shanghai China) was pleased that 80% of our daughter’s public high school was Caucasians and there weren’t many Chinese students for our daughter to compete against.

        The more Chinese students attending a US school, the higher its score will be compared to other schools that do not have as many Chinese students. Most US schools have this data on the Internet and you may check for yourself.

        The average score for Chinese students on standardized tests in the US are usually higher than all the other racial groups.

        Amy Chua is being tough on her kids not because she is competing against the children of other American parents but only other American-Chinese parents.

        In fact, most if not all of the universities in the US discriminate against Chinese students and give other ethnic groups handicaps like in the game of bowling so Caucasians, African-Americans and Latinos have a better chance to be accepted or those top universities would be full of Chinese students.

        However, your response is not a surprise since you are probably the product of an individualist culture that tells their children to have fun and if you can dream what you want to be you can make it happen, which in reality seldom does happen after 18.

        • Avitable

          @Lloyd Lofthouse, actually, I have a BA in East Asian Studies and a doctorate, so I’m not ignorant in any fashion.

          Did you know that 90% of people can make up statistics on the spot?

          So, what you’re saying is that because China has such levels of poverty and illiteracy that parents have to be absolute tyrants to their children in order to get them to qualify for a Chinese education? That seems healthy.

          You haven’t mentioned the rates of suicide among Chinese women or what happens to the children who aren’t mentally capable of being subject to such torture and rebel or quit.

          I never said anything about being told to have fun. Yes, I believe that children should have fun, and I believe that dreams are important, but I also think that discipline and perseverance are important. I don’t think that belittling and insulting is the way to do that, though. In fact, I think it’s borderline child abuse.

          • Lloyd Lofthouse

            You wrote, “So, what you’re saying is that because China has such levels of poverty and illiteracy that parents have to be absolute tyrants to their children in order to get them to qualify for a Chinese education? That seems healthy.”

            When Mao died, the literacy rate in China was about 20% and what schools there had been before Mao was pretty much shut down during the Cultural Revolution.

            After Mao died, Deng Xiaoping and the Party members that supported him repudiated Revolutionary Maoism and started China down a path of change for the better.

            In thirty years, China took that 20% literacy rate and boosted it higher than 90% with a goal to go higher. To do that, they had to build school systems from scratch and they focused on urban China first then started to build schools in rural China so education rural China isn’t as good as in the cities.

            Many remote regions of rural China never had much of an education system let alone roads or electricity. That is also changing as China adds new roads each year, expressways to connect all the cities they have rebuilt and more rail along with an all-new system of high-speed rail and bullet trains. China also has plans to build about a hundred new airports.

            Regarding poverty in China: I don’t recall the exact number who lived in poverty in 1980 but it was north of 80%. You may check the CIA Fact Book on the Internet and that agency reports that extreme poverty in China is about 2 1/2 percent today and most of those people live in remote locations. Although most economic gains have been in urban China, even rural China has seen improvements in income and lifestyles.

            In fact, the information is out there not from Bloggers but from organizations that are part of the UN and the World Bank and other international organization that report that most reductions in global poverty in the last 30 years took place in China and little has changed outside China.

            In fact, poverty in the US has increased in recent years.

            However, you don’t rebuild a nation overnight. Yet, those same agencies I mentioned above have reported that the improvements and changes taking place in China have taken place at a pace that has never been seen in recorded history.

            In 1980 when China started the capitalist revolution, the education system was a mess, the infrastructure was outdated and most of the country lived as if it were the middle ages.

            That isn’t so today. From no market economy and no middle class, China has a thriving market economy with millions of private businesses and a growing middle class of about 300 million today. That still leaves a billion people that haven’t joined the middle class but do not live in the kind of poverty you may imagine, and the Chinese mothers will continue to raise their children the way they learned from their mothers who learned from their mothers, etc.

            Those Chinese mothers don’t care what you may think or anyone in the West and I’m sure they will stay tough on their kids. That isn’t going to change any time soon just because the West has decided to take a positive language self-esteem approach to help kids have fun and feel good all the time.

          • Lloyd Lofthouse


            Weak response.

            These facts have also been reported by the CIA Factbook and the US State Department. I’m sure they don’t get their information from the Communist Party.

            And if you haven’t noticed, China’s borders aren’t as closed as you claim. I suggest you start reading some of the 1,000 + posts on my Blog that cover China in depth with many links to reputable sources. Just click on my name and you will go there.

          • phil

            @Lloyd Lofthouse,

            Yeah, China’s great! Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where 85% of children are ground under the heel, then tossed by the wayside in the merciless competition that is their childhood? Who wouldn’t want to live on land that is being rapidly poisoned by manufacturing runoff, and e-waste “recycling” centers, breathing air so full of smog that it actually regularly manages to blow across the entire Pacific Ocean, and spoil the air on the west coast? Who wouldn’t want to live in rural areas so impoverished that the bulk of their youth populations are forced to “illegally immigrate” within their own country to shanty towns surrounding the major urban centers, where there are no schools or running water? Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where you can face time in a forced labor camp, working under reportedly terrible and inhumane conditions, merely for speaking out against the communist party?

            Sounds like a fine place to grow up! Chinese mothers sure are doing their kids a service by stripping their children of individualism, and encouraging blind conformity to an oppressive and callous regime. Why don’t we start raising our kids the way Chinese mothers do, so the US can be more China?

          • Lloyd Lofthouse


            It’s clear that you don’t know today’s China or its people. The forced labor camps went out with Mao who died in 1976.

            China’s prison population is half of the US and China has about five times the people.

            In 1982, China wrote a new Constitution to guide the Party in how to rule at a time when most of China lived in poverty. Even the CIA Fact Book shows that today less than 2 1/2 % of Chinese now live at that level of poverty while almost half of India’s population has had no improvements in poverty levels in more than sixty years. And India calls itself a democracy.

            In 1980, China did not have a middle class. It was pretty much a country that resembled Europe in the Middle Ages. Most of China didn’t have electricity or roads. All of that has changed.

            Today, China’s middle class numbers more than 300 million and 400 million are linked to the Internet while literacy is more than 90%. Books that are banned often end up for sale on the black market. Internet sites manage to download just about anything that appears on TV in the US and offers it free on the Internet in China effectively bypassing the censors.

            There was a TV show banned in China. I think it’s called “Prison Break”. The star of the show arrived in China on vacation to see the country and found thousands of screaming Chinese fans going crazy to see him as he exited the airport. He couldn’t’ believe he was a black market super star in China.

            As much as we hear about the censors in China, to the Chinese they are a big laugh. Censorship in China is a very leaky bucket and a practice in futility.

            I have a friend in China, an American citizen that lives there as an expatriate, and he bypasses the censors all the time to read my blog and leave comments or send me e-mails. He says it’s just a nuisance like a fly or mosquito.

            The public schools in China did away with Mao’s Little Red Book and propaganda slogans in the 1980 when the schools were reorganized. In 2009, for the first time Chinese students took the international PISA tests and ranked first in all three categories. The PISA test ranks the schools of the 65 wealthiest nations on earth.

            This is the test score we hear about in the media that compares the richest nation’s schools. China beat out the two countries that had been first and second place since the test was first used.

            The PISA test is administered by a Western non-profit that says there is no way anyone can cheat on the test and the ability to think for yourself and work with others to solve problems using critical thinking methods taught in American schools is an important element of the test. Students are selected at random and security for the test is considered very tight. In contrast, the US average score for all three categories was 17th place.

            The World Bank has reported that most of the reductions in poverty in the world in the last thirty years took place in China while the rest of the third world countries, including India, haven’t changed the numbers. Even the US has more people living in poverty today than China.

            In addition, more Chinese students come to the US for college educations than any other foreign country. There was a time when many stayed and became US citizens. Today, because the middle class lifestyle in China is similar to that in the US, most of those students go back to China and take what they learned of American’s culture with them. Many of China’s top leaders have children attending universities the US. I know of one by the name of Bo Xilai and he has an 18-year-old daughter attending Harvard.

            In the last twenty years, the Chinese middle class have become global tourists. I recall reading that 60 million Chinese tourists visited Europe and the United States in 2009.

            It would be sad to stereotype all Chinese mothers due to Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal. She isn’t Chinese. Her mother was Chinese. Chua is Chinese-American. It’s safe to say the average Chinese mother practices tougher methods of parenting than the average American mother, but even among Chinese mothers, Amy Chua’s methods may be harsh

            If we compared all Tiger Mothers on a scale of 1 to 10 with Chua being a 10, there would be ones, twos, threes, fives, etc. My wife would probably rank as a six or seven compared to Chua.

            In fact, I’ve been reading that many of China’s urban middle class have been adopting softer Western style parenting methods to raise their children, which may explain why in the 1990s, China went through a sexual revolution. Teens are dating whom they want and defying their parents. Young couples are marrying whom they love instead of who the parents want them to marry. In recent years, it became legal to divorce without government permission and the divorce rate is up—not as high as the US but it is climbing.

            What will really sound like fiction is the fact that American businessmen are going to China to start businesses instead of doing business in the US because the business climate in China is booming. I read that in 2007, private owned businesses in China make up about two thirds of the economly and state-owned businesses must be profitable or go out of business as the US Post Office in America.

            In recent years for the first time, people from other countries are immigrating to China to live because the atmosphere of growing freedoms is better than the oppressive countries they came from.

          • Lloyd Lofthouse


            The stats I quoted are close.

            When did you earn that BA in East Asian Studies?

            China is changing fast, very fast. Even a few years would seem like a gulf. A degree in East Asian Studies earned a few years ago would already be out of date. In fact, most of the Western textbooks are biased even today when it comes to China and may be wrong anyway. In addition, many Western authors that write of China are also biased and don’t have the correct facts. They are usually driven by a bad case of Sinophobia.

            Oh, I watched your YouTube video of the 50 things you’ve done. Interesting.

            At one time children in the US could be sold into a form of slavery and work in factories and coal mines. At the time, Children as young as five were just considered smaller people.

            Then the laws changed to protect children and they became a different subclass until turning 18 almost as if they were another species.

            The concept of child abuse from a Western perspective doesn’t hold in China, which is another culture and country with its own values. Moreover, for the record, I do not consider how Amy Chua has raised her kids to be even close to child abuse. Taking away luxuries like sleep over’s and TV and demanding that a child accomplish something like playing a piano was once a practice in America until the Self-esteem movement got moving.

            I’m a white guy born in Pasadena, California and my parents made me take accordion lessons for seven years and I hated it but what I felt didn’t count before the Self-esteem movement got rolling. My mother also taught me to read using a coat hanger. If she hadn’t done that, I’d be illiterate today as my older brother was on the day he died at 64.

  4. Morgan

    LOVE THIS. I don’t mind the original either. I am a highschool teacher and the kids who seem to understand the concepts of TRYING and ACCOUNTABILITY are children whose parents raised them with this ‘Chinese’ mindset. And when I have kids, I plan to do the same.

    I’ll admit that the insults can be a little much (but still hilarious to read, hahaha) but as for the idea that one should expect their children to meet incredibly high standards–that’s what fosters children who achieve highly. And kids CAN achieve highly (the vast majority, anyway). But they are children, and children don’t generally like to work at things. That’s what good, STRICT parenting is for.

    • Avitable

      @Morgan, that’s the issue – you can encourage kids to try hard and you can prevent them from giving up without resorting to destroying their self-esteem and emotionally abusing them. Kids should be pushed to achieve and to work. They shouldn’t be destroyed to do so.

  5. Sybil Law

    I’m currently reading, “The Bonesetter’s Daughter”, and holy hell – it sounds just like her mom in the book (and Adam, I mean your parody as well as the article)!
    Parents in this country cannot even agree to disagree on who/how to raise children best. I think we’re all pretty sick of the whole working vs. stay at home mom arguments, and for good reason – it all comes down to opinion. There is no fact, because no matter what, we’re all fucking our kids up in some sense, even though most of us, anyway, have the very best intentions.
    I don’t know – her article didn’t horrify me. Granted, I feel bad at the extreme measures she takes with her kids, but hell – I’m sure, sometimes, it works.
    I think the most interesting part to me is that apparently Chinese mothers equate success with material success – good grades, good jobs, nice things, etc. I don’t measure success in those terms; I view success as someone well rounded and caring who can navigate the world without someone holding their hand. (And even there, she and I seem to have the same opinion – just different tactics.) The whole self esteem part, well – that’s alarming, but part of me agrees, too. I’ve long felt that “we” (whoever the hell that is) build up our kids’ self esteem (“You’re the greatest kid ever!”) without any real substance behind it (i.e, saying, “You’re very good at math- that’s a talent! Not everyone takes to math so easily”). In other words, telling your kid they’re the best all the time but for no real reason does not give your kid instant self esteem.
    Gah. I’ll shut up, now.

  6. Muskrat

    This is a great way to raise your kids if your idea of their reaching “success” is your kids’ getting into a good school and then working for the government or a large corporation. For most people, that is succeeding.

    Regardless of how you view “success” for your kids (if you as a parent even contemplate it at all), our country is too lazy or too lax, and the test scores (since that’s how we seem to measure success in children) certainly reflect as much, as do the drop out rates and prevalence of a “boomerang” generation who moves back in with Mommy/Daddy after school.

    We’re closer to being “Chinese” parents than we are “Western” ones as the two roles are defined the article above. However, I don’t want my kids to think they have to go through life busting their asses to make someone else happy, such that they’re afraid of risk or working for themselves. I’m guessing that’s the usual outcome of this method: kids who make good grades, go to a good school, and then gravitate toward structure (so they spend their adulthood working for someone else).

  7. fabuls

    Although I don’t agree with Amy Chua’s parenting tactics, I found your take on a “chinese accent” extremely offensive. None of the Asians I know (and I am Asian American) speak like that, and your reference to female genital mutations is inaccurate- that has never been a Chinese practice.

    • Avitable

      @fabuls, I’m pretty sure Maggie Cho’s mother sounds just like that. And there are certain small groups within China which did indeed practice genital mutilation.

      The point of my post was to bring all the stereotypes to light, even the voice, but comedy isn’t funny if you have to explain it.

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