Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chinese child-rearing vs. other cultures

I'm not familiar with other parenting styles, but I am getting a good idea of how the Chinese do it based on watching our Chinese nanny and recalling what it was like growing up in a Chinese household...
For the Chinese, it's all about the competition. You have to be better than the other person. Doesn't matter who it is or what the task is, you should try to beat the other person. Also, they are big on "outward appearances"... I can't quite describe it but let me try to explain it to you.
This morning, when Nanny showed up ("N"), D was crying. She was crying because she didn't want to hang out with N (despite the fact that they seemed to have a great time together last Tuesday). As is customary, oftentimes when D is crying and I see no reason for her to be crying, I just put her down. So, she is crying her little eyes out and of course, N goes in to rescue her.
I hear N in the room saying, "Don't cry D...look at all your friends. They are all laughing at you. You don't want them laughing at you, do you?"
Thank GOODNESS D is not old enough to understand that!! I was really irritated at hearing that! But, there is a little bit of a language barrier so I didn't want to go in and reprimand the N. But I did not like that one bit. Had the N been able to speak English, I would kindly explain to her that in this household we don't speak to our child that way. If she is crying, we try to appease her and ask her what's wrong and we try to divert her attention. (Or as I mentioned above, we leave her on the floor) :o) We do NOT tell her all her dollies/stuffed animals are laughing at her. What is UP with that??
And whenever we are sitting down and eating, the N, who is tasked with feeding D, will undoubtedly remark, "Look who's eating the fastest. Let's compete with mommy and see who can finish faster."
I also hate that. I do not like to foster competition in my child. Doing well in life is not about how you measure up against others. It's about how you measure up against yourself.
I can't help but reflect back to my own childhood and how often my mother would say, "You got what grade?! So-and-so-got an A..." Yeah...that never worked on me. I didn't care what other people got. I got what I got and I'm not working any harder than I feel like it. But that was me. My sister, on the other hand worked her A** off to remain competitive in her/my mom's circle of friends. Sure, she was a straight A student but where did it get her in life? It got her an anal sense of being and an overly stressed personality. No thanks.
I might have to get rid of the Chinese N. D can learn Chinese at Chinese school.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, Bel. Cracking up & also very interesting...Very cool post...

    I so hear you on the Chinese child rearing thing! My family was semi-chill compared to a lot of Chinese families...I think...but looking sure explains a lot...I worked my ass off to be great...part of it was "for me," so I thought, but maybe it's just cuz I wanted my parents & grandma to be able to "show off" my accomplishments.
    Ergh. And now yes, I am also like Anita! :-D