As there have already been too many reviews written for this book, I decided to just make a list of the quotes from the book that interested me the most. My reasons for choosing each quote are appended to the quote.
"I came to see that Chinese parents have two things over their Western counterparts: (1) higher dreams for their children, and (2) higher regard for their children in the sense of knowing how much they can take."
Certainly a lot of parents I have spoken with dream that their kids will grow up to be good human beings. That is nice but they also need to be employable.
"What Chinese parents underrstand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences."
Yes, yes, yes, I totally agree.
"He would never have forced things like piano or violin on them if they refused. He wasn't absolutely confident that he could make the right choices for them."
Wow! This makes a very uncomfortable point. Are we as parents doing less than we should for our kids because we are not confident enough in our choices?
"But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for a child's self-esteem is let them give up."
Another good one. This fits neatly into the advice from parenting experts on how to raise confident kids.
"...their parents think, correctly, that going to Juilliard will help them get into and Ivy League college."
I could not find out on the web whether this was true or not. I would imagine it is though as a child at Juilliard would already have demonstrated the discipline and focus a top college would desire in a student.
"The Chinese parenting approach is weakest when it comes to failure; it just does not tolerate that possibility."
OK... so how do we know when to use it or give it up?
"Unlike my Wester friends, I can never say, "As much as it kills me, I just have to let my kids make their choices and follow their hearts. It's the hardest think in the world, but I'm doing my best to hold back." Then they get to have a glass of wine and go to a yoga class..."
I read a similar comment babycenter.com from the mom of a 13 year old who said that she had done what she could to get him to do his homework and now it was up to him to deal with the consequences. Sounded like giving up to me.
"...Jed always too my side in front of the girls. From the beginning, we'd had a united-front strategy..."
Another big YES. I don't think parenting of any kind can succeed with the kids if they are allowed to play one parent off the other.
"...you've given your girls so much... A sense of their own abilities, of the value of excellence. That's something they'll have all their lives."
This is great. Kids with confidence that they can accomplish anything if they work hard at it will go far. I wondered often throughout the book though why it had to been piano and violin. Wouldn't it have been more productive to have your kids become really good at typing or programming?
"When Chinese parenting succeeds, there's nothing like it. But it doesn't always succeed. For my own father it hadn't. He barely spoke to his mother and never thought about her except in anger."
See my comment on the quote from Page 146.
"...you can only be really great at something if you love it... But just because you love something, I added to myself, doesn't mean you'll ever be great. Not if you don't work. Most people stink at the things they love."
Read my previous article titled "Set your child's mind to it"
"...she has an unbelievable work ethic - I've never seen anyone improve so fast. She's a great kid. You and your husband have done an amazing job with her. She never settles for less than 110 percent. And she's always so upbeat and polite."
Definitely marketable attributes, justifying the parenting approach.