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Lecture 11: Monday Jan. 31. 2011
Parenting and Personality: How Should Parents Raise Their Children?
•Consider the case of Amy Chua.
oA very talked about book, second generation Chinese American woman
oLaw professor at Yale “Battle Hymn of the tiger Mother”
oIt is a memoir
•Review a general framework for analyzing parenting styles.
•Do parenting styles work differently for different ethnic groups?
oIt seems like western parents focus on more democratic style whereas
eastern parents are more comfortable with a amore authoritarian directive
style of parenting
Describe Amy Chua Book
oShe thinks American parents aren’t hard enough on their kids , let them
play, watch TV etc, think America is raising weak-willed young people
who wont be successful
oShe thinks there is additional way to raise children – the way Chinese
oHigh expectations coupled with love
oExtroversion, Consciousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism* she is
associated with this, she is low on agreeableness and comfortable with
going against and having battles of wills
•Worry over generational, family decline;
oFather is a famous scientist
oThe 3rd generation is the one that seems to stop working as hard
oShe cant raise her daughters in poverty or difficult circumstances bc she is
a law professor, so is her husband
oShe decides she will make life hard for her daughters is to insist they take
•Insist on violin and piano practice as a way to teach discipline and hard work.
Suzuki method (requires that parents attend all of the lessons, its all about
oShe isn’t musical herself but she decides they will become experts
•Extremely high standards and unwavering practice regimen.
oPracticed 4 hours a day
oTraveled a lot – had to find a place with a piano
•Contrast with “American Parents” – weak-willed and indulgent.
Some Specific Comments:
wrote down many interactions with her daughters:
•“Oh my god, you are getting worse and worse.”
•“If the next time is not perfect, I will take your stuffed animals and burn them.”
•“If you don’t play the violin at your bat mitzvah we won’t be inviting any guests.”
•“My goal is to prepare you for the future, not to make you like me!”
The Key Dimensions
Demanding Authoritative-reciprocal Authoritarian
Undemanding Indulgent-permissive Neglecting
Commonly accepted framework for categorizing parenting behaviour
2 dimensions – crossed to form 4 categories
Demanding – how much parents are imposing rules, guidelines on their children
Responsive vs. Unresponsiveness – are parents oriented toward explaining things to
children, providing rationale, allowing children to have input to express their interest and
how they would like to do things (Chua very low on this scale)
Fair amount of research suggests that the high demand high responsive category is the
special category – with this pattern, parents do establish clear standards, rules, and
guidelines and they let the children know we expect you to behave appropriately,
however the parents are also very accepting and open to the child’s point of view (we
would like you to take up a musical instrument, but lets talk about which one you would
like to try)
McAdams notes – its based a lot on ideals and culturally based notions
Highly demanding with little responsiveness – Authoritarian more ordercratic and
rigid, strict rules are given as if they are defined edicts – don’t even feel compelled to
complain why they have these strict rules, children cant discuss or complain about the
rules. Parents value obedience. Amy Chua’s approach even though she is very loving and
can joke about herself she would fit this role.
Indulgent-permissive – very responsive to how our children want to do something, but
were not very likely to make clear expectations and place demands on our kids – more
egalitarian – hippie like, tolerate what your children like to do and how they do it
Neglecting – absolute worst, parents aren’t demanding and they are also not
responsive they are uninvolved and uninterested (at extreme levels it can be child abuse)
The 4 parenting patterns and their correlates
•high levels of self esteem;
•low social competence;