Friday, March 30, 2012

Parents Should Quit Arguing about Who's Better

The Wall Street Journal published another article along the lines of Amy Chua’s earlier one, “Why Chinese Parents are Superior.”

Although it’s not saying much, given how bad the original was (you can read Gena Gorlin’s takedown of it here) the latest, "Why French Parents are Superior,” is far better in terms of recommendations and it actually makes a few very good points.

For example, the article shares the view that parents should not consider themselves to be slaves to their children. It points out the value of teaching kids to be happy alone. And it highlights the ability of parents to give their children a lot of freedom and autonomy—but within certain firm limits.

Unfortunately, the title and approach of the latest article is as wrong as the first. For one, national stereotypes do not raise children, individual people do. Beyond that, however, and much more importantly, superior parents do not necessarily mean good ones.

Those who want the best for their kids should focus on being good parents above all, and to hell with whether their actions conform to the style of any one nation or another.