What is the ideal way of raising a child? Throughout the years several distinct points of view have been brought up when discussing this topic. Some of these opinions can be outlined in the three texts: Why I love my strict Chinese mom’ by Sophia Chua- Rubenfeld (201 1), ‘Let them eat pizza: Parenting-guru’s recipe for bringing up children’ by Kate Loveys (2011) and ‘Summerhill – A radical approach to child rearing’ by A. S. Neill (1960). Text 1 is a letter written by Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, the daughter of Amy Chua, who is the author of the essay Why Chinese mothers are superior’.
Amy Chua presents a strict child-rearing method, which received a lot of criticism when published. This provoked Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld to support her mother by telling the story from her own point of view. Throughout Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld’s childhood she was prohibited to participate in several activities; neither attend sleepovers nor have play dates. In spite of all these limitations she is grateful because she feels like she was raised to become an independent thinker who makes the most of new opportunities.
This is in great contrast to text 2, an article where the arenting-guru, Dr Bryan Caplan’s opinion on child-rearing method is portrayed by Kate Loveys. Dr Bryan Caplan claims that ‘investment parenting’, i. e. music lessons, organized sports and educational games, does not make the slightest difference to children when they become adults. Instead, the parents should take a backseat role and make use of ‘serenity parenting, which is a fun and relaxed way of bringing up children.
He claims that the parents should accept the fact that the children are shaped mostly by genes and therefore can make their own decisions in life. Text 3 is a general policy statement by A. S. Niell, who founded the Summerhill School, which was the first progressive residential school in the I-JK. He presents an alternative way of raising children. He argues that life should not be exclusively founded on whether you pass your exam or not because not all people are prosper just to sit still and listen toa teacher.
Instead he believes that children should have the freedom to develop into individuals and thus creative minds will be stimulated. In text 3 A. S. Neill engages the reader when first presenting his central message; ‘Learning is important but not to everyone… By this quote he catches the attention and the reader continues reading to find out why he makes this statement. Furthermore, he gives the example of a Russian ballet dancer, Nijinsky, who did not pass his exams because he was in exactly in this situation; He had an extraordinary talent but did not succeed in school.
By giving this example his argumentation seems well documented and therefore trustworthy. A. S. Neill uses strong words as for instance ‘creators’, ‘kill’, freedom’, ‘religious’, ‘brave’ and ‘courage’. This adds a strong spirit to the text, which locks the reader in place. A. S. Neill engages the reader by sing pathos when he introduces the fictive persons Jane, Peter and Ivan. He sets up a scenario to emphasize the lack of the empathy in the educational system at that time. This makes the text personal and the reader able to relate to it. chieve success and by that happiness. By expecting her daughters to do excellent in school as well as in the music era she believes that this will motivate them to fulfil her ambitions. This child-raising method can come to the children’s advantage when confronted with the challenges of society. This is due to the high expectations they have had to live up to throughout their childhood. Furthermore Sophia Chua- Rubenfeld emphasises that this child-raising method has made her feel like she has lived her life to the fullest.
Thus if she dies tomorrow she feels like she has lived her life at 110 per cent. The disadvantage of this method is that the children can feel insufficient if not fulfilling their parent’s expectations. This might lead to fear of disappointing the parents and thus low self-esteem. Other people, who share the same point of view as Dr Bryan Caplan, disagree with this method. They support another method where the children make their own decisions to achieve happiness. The advantage of this method is that the children will develop into independent individuals by making their own experiences.
The drawback is that the children may feel that the parents do not really care about them. As a result it can lead to depression and loneliness. Both of these methods appear to be extremely radical and one might therefore consider using elements from each one of them. One solution could be that the parents do have expectations and still support their children. This will motivate the children to do their very best knowing that they are supported by their background. By doing their best the parents can only appreciate it.