Sample Cultural Studies Paper on Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Chua (2011) states that she has never allowed her children to attend sleepovers, be in a school play, have a play date among other recreational and co-curriculum activities that their peers engaged in. Using the terms “Chinese mother” and “Western parents” loosely, research has shown marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese parenting styles and Western parenting styles. In addition to this, it has been observed that Chinese parents raise stereotypically successful kids (Chua, 2011). In a study conducted on 50 Western parents and 48 Chinese parents, while Western parents felt that parents needed to instill the idea that learning is fun, and that stressing academic success is not good for children, Chinese parents believe that academic success reflects positively on the parent and nonetheless, they believed that their children were the best (Chua, 2011).

Chinese parents understand that for something to be fun, a person has to get good at it and this requires work; children rarely want to work, on their own, and as a result, a parent has to override their child’s preferences (Chua, 2011). Children will rebel, it is upon the parent to be strong, especially in the beginning. Chinese parenting emphasizes tenacious practice which Chua (2011) notes is crucial for excellence, she observes rote repetition is underrated in America. A child begins to get admiration, praise and a sense of contentment when they start to excel in something, which in turn makes that activity fun for child, and easier for the parent to get the child to work on it more (Chua, 2011).

More often than not, Chinese parents can do or say things to their children that are not only out of the ordinary, but also legally actionable to Westerners (Chua, 2011). The author observes that while when her father called her a word equivalent to garbage in her mother tongue, while she felt terribly wrong for her actions, it did not damage her self-esteem because she knew how highly he thought of her and did not think that she was worthless. On the contrary, when the author called her daughter “garbage” after her daughter disrespected her and she divulged this information at a party, she was reprimanded and her friends even attempted to rehabilitate her. The fact that Chinese parents can get away with things show three big differences in the parent’s mind-sets (Chua, 2011).

First, Chua (2011) observes that extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem. Despite mediocre performance at a test or a recital, Western parents will constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are at it. While Western parents are concerned about their children’s esteem, Chinese parents strength not fragility and as a result behave differently (Chua, 2011). While Western parents would worry that they child is not good at a subject when they fail or that there is something wrong with the curriculum or school, Chinese parents on the other hand demand perfect grades because they believe that they child can get them (Chua, 2011). Chinese parents will therefore excoriate, punish and shame their child if they perform substantially with the belief that the child will be strong enough to take the punishment.

Second, it is understood that Chinese owe their parents everything and as a result, they should their lives obeying and making their parents proud as a way to repay them. On the contrary, Chua (2011) observes that Western parents do not believe that their children have any responsibility towards them and if anything, the inverse might be true. Third, Chinese parents do not believe that children know what’s good for them and instead believe that parents should override all of their children’s desires (Chua, 2011). This does not mean that Chinese parents do not care for their children, but rather only that they apply a completely different model of parenting (Chua, 2011).



Lulu, Chua’s youngest daughter, was working on an extremely difficult piano piece and she couldn’t do it despite working on it nonstop for a week and drilling each of her hands separately, repeatedly (Chua, 2011). The author threatened to donate her doll if she did not perfect the next day and when this failed, she forced her to learn the piece and did not allow how to get up for anything. When her husband showed concern over this and suggested that Lulu should be left to her means, the author pointed out that he did not believe in Lulu. Moments later, Lulu did it and presented it at a recital, to the marvel of many.

Chua (2011) observes that while Western parents worry a lot about their children’s self-esteem, the worst thing a parent can do for their child’s esteem is to let give up. Nothing builds your confidence better than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t (Chua, 2011). Despite several books and publications depicting Chinese parents as callous, overdriven people indifferent to the interests of their children, Chinese parents believe they sacrifice more for their children than Western parents who do not seem to mind if their kids turn out badly.

The author concludes by observing that Western parents support their children’s choices, encourage them to pursue their true passions, provide a nurturing environment in a bid to respect their children’s individuality. On the other hand, Chinese parents that by letting their kids see what they are capable of, they are preparing them for their future. Furthermore, they believe that they arm them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that cannot be stripped away (Chua, 2011).




Chua, A. (2011). Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. Retrieved from