Nature vs. Nurture: How Important Are Parents To A Kid’s Success?

Nature vs. nurture is an ancient debate about determining a child's future success. Success is often defined in terms of money, career, and status. Personally, I think there is an unhealthy desire for prestige and money that is ruining many people's lives.

I think it's much better to get rich and then get off the radar. Being famous is often a prison of your own making! But that's just my thoughts after working in finance for 13 years and leaving for good.

Let's rewind to 2011 when Amy Chua and her tiger mom ways was a big hit after her book came out. Her kids were still in grade school.

Nature vs. Nurture: How Important Are Parents To Our Success?

Yale law professor and mother of two Amy Chua penned an incredibly fascinating article entitled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” on the WSJ. 

Professor Chua is a first generation American who went to Harvard undergrad and then to Harvard Law School.  As a tenured professor teaching at one of the most prestigious law schools in the world, I feel for her kids! Think about all the expectations that are put on them since her husband, Jeb, is also a tenured law professor at Yale.

I mean, what if her kids attend Harvard and end up doing the same thing as the rest of us? Then what? At the very least, her kids should rise up to become tenured professors like their parents. But gaining tenure at any university, let alone Harvard, is an almost impossible task.

Setting proper expectations and beating them is the key to happiness.

Tough Love Nurture

Here's a biting excerpt from her article where she justifies calling kids names such as “lazy”, “fatty”, “worthless”, “stupid”, and “disgraces” when they aren't performing up to par:

“As a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child's self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there's nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn't.”  Amy Chua

I agree with her quote. Building up long-term determination and grit is important for getting ahead. But as a parent today, I definitely don't agree with calling kids names to shame them into conforming.

The main issue I have with Amy's view is that she pits Asian mothers against “Western Mothers” who are by default deemed inferior. 

If I was a “Western Mother,” I would be insulted. Amy also talks in stereotypes about how Asian children always seem to be gifted in math & sciences and music. Amy argues that it is in fact no coincidence since Asian mothers are such master motivators and disciplinarians.

These types of stereotypes bring about undue anxiety for all parents.

If you're curious, here's what happened to Amy Chua's kids.

The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

I've always wondered how I'd turn out if my parents hadn't been there for me. I got into a lot of trouble growing up because I had little regard for personal property or the law. As elementary school kids in Taipei, Taiwan, I remember my friends and I would trespass onto this farm in the mountains so we could play firecracker wars and smoke cigarettes. We were in the 5th grade.

In high school, my friends and I would sometimes skip school to go movie hopping or just hang out at the mall. One year, we'd go around town with our illegal mopeds. Another time I remember punching my friend in the face because he pushed me over while I tied my shoe. That was in the 9th grade and I got suspended for a couple days.

My parents weren't super strict. But they laid down the law when I didn't obey. With enough disciplinary action, I grew out of my rebellious teenage years and started hitting the books hard. They basically told me if I didn't do well in academics, I would severely lessen my chances of living a good life because no good college would accept me. They somehow instilled in me the fear of ending up on the streets.

I'm almost certain if my parents weren't there to set me straight, I would end up struggling financially. I would have likely ended up working a dead-end job I hated. Then again, I wonder if nature would have eventually kicked in to set me straight on my own. Perhaps it would have. However, if it kicked in at age 22 instead of 14, it may have been too late.

Nature vs. nurture certain isn't an all or nothing proposition.

Perhaps A Lot Of Nurture Is Required

I used to think I would always send my kids to public school because I experienced both and didn't feel private school was any better. I used to believe that my kids would be able to discern what's right from wrong and not hang out with the bad crowd. As a parent, now I have my doubts. Who you associate with can significantly influence you behavior.

Private school administrators know parent's insecurities and therefore skillfully market to their fears. “Why risk your child's future?“, is a favorite line to convince parents to spend $35,000 a year on private grade school tuition.

And you know what? I'm starting to get nurtured by the propaganda as well. If you've got the money, is it worth risking sending your kid to a less nurturing environment?

For example, the San Francisco Board Of Education (SFBU) was incapable of coming up with a plan to re-open schools in person for a full year. We're only talking about just a plan here. Only in April 2021, has the SFBU agreed for schools to open in person in Fall 2021.

Parental guidance, phenomenal teachers who inspire, and good peers are instrumental to the development of a child. Perhaps private K-12 really is worth the money. Not everyone can be a success, however you define the word. However, with the right environment, a child's potential will be maximized.

What's also worth noting is that you can always pull your child from a private school or public school if things are not working out. You can have your child reapply to another school or homeschool as well. If you have the time and patience, homeschooling might be the most nurturing environment of all!

The Percentage Split Between Nature vs. Nurture

In conclusion, I believe nature is the predominant factor in determining whether our children turn out OK or not. I assign a 65% weighting for Nature and a 35% weighting for Nurture.

We can do everything possible as parents to educate our children from right and wrong. We can send our kids to the best schools. But at the end of the day, Nature is going to win out.

A 35% weighting for Nurture is still huge. As parents, we should never give up on our children. We just need to recognize we can only do so much. And if we've tried our best to educate and spend time with our children, we should be at peace with the results.

I've come to this Nature vs. Nurture percentage split after speaking to dozens of parents since I started coaching high school tennis in 2016. I've also had this discussion with over a hundred parents since becoming a father in 2017.

Obviously, I'm no childhood expert. The percentage split is only my opinion after also doing a self-analysis. My personality hasn't changed much since I was a kid. However, I strongly feel my classmates had a strong affect on my behavior, both bad and good.

What Happened To Amy Chua's Kids?

Now that it's 10 years later, whatever happened to Amy Chua's kids? Are they great successes after so much nurturing? Let's take a look at their public LinkedIn profiles in 2021.

Sophia Chua-Rubenfield – Is now a JAG lawyer since August 2019 after graduating from Yale Law School in 2018 and Harvard University in in 2015.

Lulu Chua-Rubenfield – Graduated from Harvard University in 2018 and is currently at Harvard Law School (2022 graduating class).

To have both your kids go to Harvard is quite impressive! Supposedly ~57,000 people applied to Harvard in 2021 and less than 4% were accepted.

Therefore, let's give credit to Amy Chua for her tiger mom ways. Without extensive nurture, it seems improbably for one, let alone two children to get into Harvard. That said, as we learned from the Harvard lawsuit, children of alumni and faculty have preferential treatment.

Let's hope Sophia and Lulu go on to do great things and change the world!

What do you think readers? Nature vs. nurture? What do you think is the percentage split?

Related posts to nature versus nuture:

What Is The Best Age To Have Children?

How To Never Worry About Your Child's Future Again

How To Get Into A Great Preschool Or Private Grade School

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65 thoughts on “Nature vs. Nurture: How Important Are Parents To A Kid’s Success?”

  1. Steve Sheets

    I can see the tide shifting on Sam’s thinking on private school…I’m predicting a future article with the title:

    “What if you could have sent your kid to private school, but instead send them to public school, and they end up a nobody?”

  2. What do you think of Lowell High admissions being based on a lottery instead of merit?
    My first generation Chinese parents took a very hands-off approach to my and my sisters’ education (they never helped us with homework or told us which classes to take) but somehow instilled a competitive spirit in us so that we were self-motivated. They also worked behind the scenes and moved us into a top-notch public school district when the opportunity arose and made sure we could go to any college we could get into. We all did well financially and retired early, and both of my parents are still alive (dad is 100) to see how we all did.

  3. Considering that MS Amy is one of the one percent of Chinese children who graduates from college in China….That leaves her in the high 13.3 million of her county. 19 million of the US graduate college. That is the top 5% in our country. There is also a high rate of suicide for fourth and ninth graders in most of Asia- since that is when you take exams for the next step of education.
    I have lived in China. The children who show potential early are often taken from their families and nurtured in a school setting.
    As far as being a “new American”. Her experience for parental push is not an exception. Many immigrants in the past saw coming to the US as a way to help their children have a better life than what they left. My grandmother was from a German family- they worked their butts off to make sure she went to college. I’ve taught immigrant children from all over the world- there is a reason they moved to the states. Those children do well- not because they are berated- but because they had the support of their family.
    In the US we do not tend to do things out of shame any more. Isn’t success sweeter if it is because you desire it and make it possible for yourself?

  4. I think that there’s both nature and nurture involved here. With the nature side of it, I think that our core personalities and wiring won’t really change, and over the long run, our lives will be influenced by how we naturally are. We will to a degree gravitate a certain way.

    However, parents play the role in steering us in the right direction through their words, actions, and very importantly – the values they teach us.

    So, I think both are involved. Having said that, I am eternally thankful to have had amazing parents. They’re still around, though older now. I know that they instilled their views in me (though I have a few of my own new ones), and I’m sure I’m passing down much of that to my kids as well.

    Frankly, I’m in a mode now where I want to give back to them by being there for them as they get older. It’s the least I can do.

    As for one group’s mothers (or fathers) being better than another’s – I think that’s a generalization. We need to look at the individual to determine these things, not group affiliation.

  5. My parent were immigrants who were very successful. They had high expectations for me, educating at private schools. I learned later as an adult that they were proud of me, however I never heard that during my teenage years. I reacted by trying to exceed beyond anyone’s expectations. I could have gone the other way. I believe nurture and nature is somewhat 50/50, but that could be different with each child. My own children are successful according to them because what my wife and I model for them.

  6. Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter

    My parents pushed my brother and I pretty hard. I think it because they are overachievers by nature and in turn pushed their kids to overachieve. I think when we were younger they lacked confidence in themselves and this played out in how they raised my brother and I. Now that we are all adults and reflect on the past, my parents often say how they regret pushing us so hard and wish they weren’t so hard on us. I guess they feel more secure with life now and realized things worked out ok. I don’t really hold them accountable too much though because I think I am where I am today (successful) partly because of how they pushed me. It’s all about balance I guess.

  7. My parents were incredibly strict (nurture) and so, like a typical teen, I pushed back hard. I was terribly rebellious – climbing out my window in the middle of the night, skipping school, smoking, etc. However, as strict as they were, they really didn’t push me academically – in some ways I wish they would have. But again, having an independent streak (by nature) made me work harder in college to “show” them that I was college material and prove to them that I was smart (of course this could also be a result of their nurture). So I do believe that children are guided by a 50/50 rule of nurture and nature.

    As for putting kids in private school or public school, it really depends on the individual school. Some private schools are terrific and so are some public schools.

    1. Another female rebel to join Eemusings! Hmmm, maybe there is a correlation between female bloggers and rebellion? Whatcha think?

      I think nurture is 70% of it, and genetics 30%.

  8. Jane Sanders

    I’ve seen a lot of commentary around this article, and it’s an interesting debate. I don’t think there is any doubt that this type of mothering makes better students. I just wonder if it leads to well rounded and well adjusted adults. Banning your children from socializing has to have some social consequences and obsession with achievement can lead to a lot of unhappiness.

  9. Chinese may have the perception of being hard working but a generation of prosperity is going to change things. Already people in China are turning down factory jobs as they expect more. I also just read an article about how a young Chinese man was driving his car and was late to meet his girlfriend, he hit a pregnant woman pedestrian on the way and she looked at his license plate, intending to report him to the police. He then got out of the car and stabbed her to death!

    I have been working and living in Thailand the last 5 years. I can say the education system here really sucks and although the kids in private international schools have tutors and are the recipients of big spending from their parents, very few show signs of a strong education. For example, good engineers are really, really hard to find.

    I think the Chinese American mother stereotype is 50% bunk.

    I was the kid who watched 4 hours of TV and didn’t do homework but could still get an A- average. I think pushing for an A+ average (like my cousins did, both as valedictorians from a type A mother) would be a waste of time. If we have children, I will push them a bit but not enough to be like the woman in the article.

    With parenting I guess you should try and do your best but not force it.


  10. I don’t think there is anything more important than family.

    I went to a private school up until sixth grade, at which point I switched to public. While the education might have been slightly worse, I don’t think it was due to the studying/learning itself, but the people and the families. At a private school, everyone knew everyone and there were strong family cores. Not so much with public school, it seemed.

  11. Um, I think Amy Chua is crazy. If her kids are happy and love her that’s great but her parenting methods are not up my alley. I think my parents did a pretty good job parenting and lucky for them I was also well behaved and too scared to do drugs or anything to get detention. I think nurture has a huge role and knowing how to discipline kids in a productive, cruelty free way.

  12. Sam,

    I think it might depend upon the scope of the environment you are considering. I used to work for George Kaiser (banking, oil and gas industries billionaire), and he often talked about how anyone who is born in the United States has automatically won “the gene pool lottery”. I think this is an idea that Warren Buffett originally articulated. When comparing growing up in the YS versus the rest of the world, this theory would seem to point more toward “nature”.

    If we want to narrow the sample size and just look at folks been within the US, then without a doubt, “nurture” comes much more into play. Parents who are highly involved in their children’s lives are much more likely to push their children to set high goals and achieve them, as opposed to just getting by.

    It seems that today though in the US, the “nature” part of this equation is coming into play much more. The country appears to be more and more divided along lines of wealth, which seems to lead to more opportunity.

    Perhaps it is not fair, but that is certainly the way it appears to be (to me).


  13. This “positive” Asian stereotype is so pervasive in our society, you just expect Asians to be smarter and harder working than everyone else. I’ve been there myself. I used to supervise a bunch of hourly technicians and some of them were real troublemakers and lazy. I was especially surprised and annoyed by this really bad employee who happened to be Asian. I used to think to myself, “Dude, you’re Asian – like, what happened?” It’s totally wrong, because I shouldn’t be judging them any differently than judging a generic “American” and asking the same question. But I just expected more of them based on the stereotype.

    I will say, in my Chemical Engineering undergrad, which was a real PIA major with a crazy dropout rate, the Indian/Asian representation was about 85-90% – much higher than the representation in the US populace. This tends to be the case for many technical majors, IT, med school and other challenging programs. The numbers don’t lie. But gotta judge people as people, not as a race…

    1. Hahahaha, “Dude, you’re Asian”… nice. Seriously, what if you were an average intelligence Asian? Does that suck since there are stereotypes abound saying all Asians should be smart and know math?

  14. Money Reasons

    Readers, how were your parents growing up? They were both hard working and not involved in my educational progress much. I was surprised to learn that I was going to college when I was a junior…

    Do you wish they pushed you harder? Hard call, I had a great time growing up, so I don’t think so. I think if I were raised in an academic environment, with brothers and sisters, my competitive side would naturally kick in…

    If they pushed harder, do you feel you would be more successful? Perhaps… Hard to say, I’m one of the few that believe success is more than just grades. It really takes the right combination of skills to succeed in life.

    What percentage does nurture play in the part of a child’s development? A large part, I bases this off of studies with twins, and wild children that are severely limited because of missed socialization as small children.

    I disagree with Amy Chua, but to each their own… I just hope my kids never encounter a professor like her. I would bet that she is biased too…

  15. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    This crap about Asian mothers being better is 100% fresh bull. I went to one of the most prestigious public high schools in NY where the population was just about 50% Asian. They were from every area of Asia. The other 50% came from other ethnic groups. I know plenty of them failing classes left and right. A couple of them famously hacked into the White House computers and a movie was made about it. A few were caught in some serious drug rings and this was all in HIGH SCHOOL! Their parents were not better than any other. The dads were often too busy working to have much time to devote to the kids. My best friends are Chinese and Japanese. If you ask them who they think the smarter of the three of us are, or who had the better parents, they wouldn’t point to each other. I can tell you that.

    1. Umm, but didnt you just argue for the Asian case since you just said that 50% of your most prestigious high school are Asian? The Asian population is under 7%, so that is a 7-8x over representation.

      1. The school district where I live is probably at least 50 percent Asian, and I can tell you that our district is in the top 3 in the state. I don’t think it is because the teachers are any better, but there is a very solid base of kids and parents that emphasize academics. When I looked at the pictures of the Merit Scholars from last year, only 2 out of 50 were American.

        I don’t know who has the better parents, but I can tell you who has the better grades and test scores based on what I see in my own neighborhood. I completely think the Asian kids bring up the test scores and give our district the reputation it has.

        1. 2 out of 50 were non-Asians you mean.. instead of American, as American is a nationality. That’s what you mean right?

          If the US population has only 5% Asian, and 48 out of the 50 Merit Scholars are Asian then…………….. that has to say something about either good genes, or good parenting right?

  16. Invest It Wisely

    P.S. lighting up the firecrackers, haha. I don’t really want to talk about the things I got away with when I was in the single digit years…

    The whole public versus private school thing. I think it’s the quality of the school that matters, not whether it’s public or private. There are probably a lot more horrible public schools out there, but some are as good as comparable private schools, but without the thousands of dollars extra expense a year!

    1. Oh man, sounds like you were a bad kid like me! Hahaha. I’m surprised your girlfriends parents don’t allow guys to stay over to play Charades. Strange, really strange.

  17. Invest It Wisely

    Nature and nurture both play their roles. I had the experience of growing up in a broken home with divorced parents, bankruptcies, abuse, lots of apathy, and a lot of instability as I would often switch schools in the middle of the grade, and we were moving around nearly every year for one reason or another. I had one family member (my grandmother) that was like a mother to me and she helped to make up for the lack of stability and guardianship, but I can only imagine what things would be like had things been better.

    I certainly had my rough patches and I’m still working on them today.

    My girlfriend on the other hand grew up in an amazing home. She is Asian, but her parents were not the stereotypical Asian parents that micromanage their kids. They pushed their kids to try many different experiences and encouraged them in everything, but they also respected their freedom to find their true passions. They also kept a tighter hand — things like staying out until 2am and bringing a boyfriend into the home are very strict no-nos in an Asian household, and I think I can agree with that for the most part.

    Nature controls your limits, but I think that nurture has a very big impact on where you end up within those limits. I think I’m doing fine these days, but I don’t know and can’t really miss what I don’t know, right? So, I have no idea how things could be different had things played out differently. I can’t do much about the past, so I can only focus on the future and try to hit those limits. :)

  18. We’re an Asian family and mine were fairly relaxed. I don’t think any one culture has it right, but rather a mix of both. Asian parents take the mindset that they should push their kids to the extreme, never compliment them (so they keep working towards perfection), talk down about them in front of other parents (to keep them humble and modest) and ultimately, they would rather have their own children hate them and be prepared for the world than love them and be unsuccessful. American parents tend to love their children no matter what and tell them everything will be okay, that they are special and that it’s okay to mess up. Of course I’m generalizing, but most of it’s true.

    My parents started out Asian and became more Americanized, creating what I thought was a perfect balance. I’ve had Asian friends rebel and move out and American friends who ended up becoming bums because their parents didn’t push them enough. With my children, I’m determined to push them extremely hard, though in the end I will congratulate them if they succeed and lift them up if they fall.

    1. That is interesting that your parents adopted the ways of the West to make a hybrid way of teaching. Sounds good to me. Making sure recognition and congratulations for a job well done is so important imo.

  19. I read this early this morning sam, and had quite a few thoughts on it myself. I think that I tend to agree with the author – she’s trying to instill confidence and a can-do attitude in her kids, which is something that no one can teach you (you can only be lead in the proper direction) and you can’t purchase it in the event you need it to be successful. I think that the way she is teaching her children, they will have success in life – they’ll know that it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, and they’ll be better off having some adversity to fall back on in the event that a parent cant rush to the school administration and complain about a teacher (as is done by ‘western’ parents in the article)

    As for me, I think my parents were good to me, but hard on me when they thought I needed it.

  20. I’ll head over to read her article.
    Public is school is fine. I think it’s ridiculous to spend so much money on private school. The parents are the most important factor anyway. Great teachers would be nice though.
    I think my parents did a fine job and we would raise the kid in similar fashion.

    OK, I read Amy’s piece and she is a control freak. She wants to control her kids, but all that craziness will normalize out in a generation or two. Her kids won’t be as much of a dictator and the grand kids will be even more like regular Americans.

  21. lovely leverage

    1. I strongly believe early childhood development and discipline is the key to the success of an individual. I don’t think discipline necessarily involves punishment but a way of training and guiding. My parents provided me with clear, firm and consistent discipline up until I graduated high school, then them completely left go of me and provided me with the freedom to experiment and explore, which served me very well.

    2.I know I would not be more successful had my parents pushed me harder than they did. I did not work well under pressure, and I don’t think you should provide your child with unnecessary stress. I think harsh punishment is detrimental to creativity.

    3.We’ve been told to treat our children equally; however I believe we should treat them fairly. Each child has a different temperament and level of maturity. Parents should modify their teaching style and cater to each child’s developmental needs.

  22. Having two children, I’ve given a great deal of thought as to what the “ideal” parenting philosophy is. My only conclusion is, there is no ideal.
    It all depends on the child. Some soar without any guidance and some soar under pressure and parental involvement and most kids do pretty well with a mix of both – freedom to make mistakes and some guidance to keep them out of big trouble.
    The trouble is, you don’t know which kind of kid(s) you will end up with. I know parents who sacrifice to sent their kids to expensive private schools and provide exposure to all kinds of activities only to have it backfire. And I know parents who have been completely lax only to have high academically achieving kids. And, of course vice versa in both instances.
    Ultimately, you do the best with the knowledge you have on hand. Mistakes will be made.

      1. Lol, it IS a crapshoot. Really, you have a lot less influence than you think you
        I wonder what Ms. Chua would have done if either of her kids
        had been born with less than above average cognitive abililty?

  23. This post hits home for me.

    I continually try to find the balance between being the aggressive and passive parent myself. I try to shy away from diatribe unless my son has done something really stupid that I know that was within his cababilities to avoid. Therefore, I may call him a “meathead” from time to time.

    Educating my son about practically everything is one of the highest priorities that I, but it is not in the form of dogma. I want him to think about his actions. So for example, I won’t say, “son, don’t smoke” but teach about what the products are and the ramifications of his choice to smoke.

    As far as my parents goes, they did not stress too much about formal education (neither graduated high school), but they were excellent in teaching “the ways of the world” or more appropriately, “street smarts.” I guess this was enough to keep me on a path of righteousness. I grew up through the Detroit Public School system, and it has not hindered me one bit from gaining higher education.

    1. Totally man. Instead of saying don’t smoke, sounds better to say “If you want to die early Nd waste thousands of dollars in the process, go ahead….. Dumbass!” :)

  24. I turned out pretty good and my sister, with the same parenting, has had lots of major issues in life.

    Nurture and nature both play a part, but the biggest influence is the decisions you make as an individual. Everything is relative, so each one of us had good times and bad times as a kid. It’s how we dealt with them that makes us who we are today.

    1. I totally agree Kevin. My brother and I are are complete opposite, despite living in the same house as kids. Nurture does play a role, but every person responds to environments differently.

  25. It’s true that parents play a large role. But I don’t think that negative actions taken by the parents will necessarily make the child take negative actions as well. I’m a prime example of that. My parents never planned anything. When I graduated high school, they had $50k in debt, and not a cent saved. Yet I went to college, am about done paying off my loans (yay!) and am on track for a very stable financial future. Children can learn what NOT to do from parents as well. Who knows, maybe I’d be a spoiled brat and would spend all my money if my parents had saved money, and paid for everything for me?

    My gut tells me that, children who have a more difficult childhood (not necessarily miserable), will turn out to make better decisions. They know the value of work, because it was experienced when they developed.

    1. GREAT point about learning what NOT to do b/c of one’s parents deficiencies.

      I donno about kids who turn out better with a miserable childhood. In fact, I disagree. A good, nurturing environment is much preferred.

  26. I read that article over the weekend! It was funny because I had just laid down the law on my 16 year old! (Nothing major, just missing some school assignments and such.) However, no matter what my punishment was, it would never be as bad as what Professor Chu’s poor daughter Lulu had to experience at the piano bench!

    Regarding my own parents, all 3 of us kids were pretty self regulating. Luckily we did a pretty good job of it, but we had a ton of freedom. What I needed more than anything was information on how to apply for scholarships, getting in to college, and also how to apply myself in general. My high school was a joke, so college was a bit of a shocker to me.

    I don’t know if I would have been more successful if they pushed harder. I got great grades with zero effort (again, easy high school) and I did well in sports. However, I was woefully prepared for the real world. I guess in the end I didn’t need pushing, I needed help with study habits and such.

    I will never forget when my 7 year old was playing baseball and one of his little friends struck out. He apologized to his mom (who was Asian) and she said ‘shut up’ and smacked him across the face. We were all shocked and saddened. However, I will say that after reading that article, I bet that is a lot more commonplace than I thought.

    1. Eesh, that is shocking to smack him in the face after a strike out. I mean seriously, why shame in public! That just crushes a kid’s soul. Maybe in private, but in public, just be supportive.

      Tell your 16 yr old to shape up! Prime time for his/her future! Perhaps no time more important!

  27. Money Beagle

    I completely think that parents have a lot to do with the success of a person. Obviously this isn’t the only factor, but it is certainly a big one in my eyes. Our 19 month old son learns so much of what he knows from my wife and I, and I can’t be naive enough to think that if we teach him the wrong things, he wouldn’t possibly use that as a foundation for poor behavior and choices later on.

    My parents installed a good sense of practicality in me that I still have to this day. Growing up with that wasn’t always easy but I am thankful for that now.

  28. Oh, and in a few ways, aside from academics…yea, I wished they might have pushed harder, ie for me to take another language at school, or to keep up my swimming lessons. Asians do do not place enough emphasis on the arts or sports, and while those are often areas of weaknesses, I don’t think this is a good thing at all./endrant

  29. As a first gen NZer with typical Asian parents, this really hit home for me. True, funny and a bit sad.

    Asian parents can go too far. Mine did. It’s why I moved out while still in high school. (I think that may have been a shock they needed; they seem to be better with my brother, but maybe that’s cause he’s a boy and wasn’t as motivated/deemed as intelligent as me).

    I’ve also been on the end of such insulting remarks, although I am positive they “slipped out” rather than being premeditated.

    I was a driven kid anyway, but didn’t matter – still wasn’t enough for them – I couldn’t have any kind of life outside school.

    I’d like to think my experiences growing up will lead to me being a much more balanced and reasonable parent myself. Her piano story kind of bugged me – I really don’t think there’s any need to be such a tyrant, and yes, a BITCH about it. Unless my kids somehow miss the self-motivation gene entirely, I think they’re going to get by just fine.

        1. Impressive. What kind of affect do you think movig out has had on your adulthood, positive and negative?

          I ran away once, but I was 7 years old and it only lasted for a day :).

  30. I read that article too. It was kind of badly written, IMO.

    My mom was so lax… one time she caught me with cigarettes (when i was in grade 9) and she started tickling me. She tickled me and asked me in a goofy way why I had cigarettes in my room. Then I got weirded out by that and quit my rebellious phase.

    I think I turned out okay even though she was so lax. I don’t think they should have pushed any harder- I would have turned out to have even more of a complex than I do now LOL.

  31. Interesting. My parents did not push to the extreme but I had all the opportunities available. Me and my friends were very competitive though and fed of each other. I studied far away from home in a different language and went on to work in Asia for a year. There wasn’t really a private versus public school in my hometown so I can’t really compare. As for discipline, consequences were always known, so I knew what I was dealing with and always made jugement call on my action with my friends around town.

    In Vancouver, I have the option of private or public school for my kids … for now, it’s public with focus on a second language. Too many private schools are simply filled with rich spoiled kids. Not an environment I respect for such young kids.

  32. My parents pushed me but only when I was watching TV for 4 hours a day after school.

    I think the best nurture for me was the fact that my Dad is a scientist so I had a lot of exposure to materials science, chemistry, physics, and math at a young age. Too bad he was a horrible teacher (no patience and poor communication skills).

    Asian parents aren’t necessarily superior. There are different ways to learn things and different ways to measure intelligence. A stereotypical viewpoint is that the Asian method of learning is through rote.


    1. Good for your parents to shake you off the 4 hours of TV watching. That’s a lot man. No sports after school? That always zonked me out when I got home, which led me to slack on my homework sometimes.

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