At home, any parent can learn the Chinese Child Rearing Method. Let’s investigate a case study. Here’s a dialogue between a five-year-old son and his father.
SON: Daddy, can I go play?
DAD: Did you finish your logarithmic exercises?
SON: It’s too hard and we’re not using it in school yet. It’s useless.
DAD: Well, I use it everyday at work to put food on the table for you. Do you think I’m useless? If so, you can start paying your own way through life.
SON: But it’s Saturday.
DAD: There are children working in China on Saturday. What do you care what Saturday is? All those black and white kids aren’t working Saturday. That’s a day you can be working so you can get ahead of them, while they stay at home playing video games in their trailers. What use is it to play video games?
SON: The kids make fun of me in fourth grade. I wanna go back to kindergarten with all the other five-year-olds.
DAD: So you care what they think of you, but you don’t care what your father thinks of you? Maybe you should ask if their families want to pay for your toys and violin lessons and put you through college. Maybe you should kill me now after all the money and time and dreams I’ve sacrificed to bring you over to this country. Now, do you want to do your logarithms and become a successful businessman?
SON: Yes, Daddy.
As you can see, the father’s strategy is to point the questions back to the child with accusations of his apparent lack of appreciation. By pointing out all the good things the father supplies the child, the father is able to remind him of those things, and imply that money was spent to get those things.
The son, being only five although clearly at the top of academics, is still a child and cannot respond with any real retort. His only response is guilt, because he does appreciate his father’s efforts and sacrifices and yet he took a position that would undermine it.
The father’s last question, “Do you want to do your logarithms and become a successful businessman,” seals the deal, giving the child the logical out. Of course his only choice is to acquiesce. That’s because the alternative is to go live with his Real-American friends’ families in their trailers eating glow-in-the-dark mac-n-cheese.
Also the father put the entire situation in a historical perspective, indicating that somehow he struggled to bring his son into the country to have a decent life while giving up his own dreams and money. Thus the seeds of familial oppression are planted. This tried and true method is the basic building block for child rearing the Chinese way.
The home environment provides the key elements for the child and can be used to manipulate him. You must destroy your child’s sense of individualism.
Now let’s move to another strong weapon: Embarrassment.
How Not to Praise Your Child
How can embarrassment be used in the home? For this you need other family members. These can be siblings who have a significant rivalry that exists. They could also be “quasi-siblings,” kids the same age or younger to that of the child you are manipulating (cousins, children of friends, etc.) who are also overachieving. The rules are simple. If the child wants attention, give attention to the rival. If the child is rejecting attention, focus all attention on him.
For example, let’s say the child is trying hard to please the parent by doing good deeds. The best motivation is to praise the rival on something the child has faltered on recently, say some B+ in ordinary differential equations. This forces the child to feel imperfect and confused, a state known by psychologists as “submissive.” At this point, no matter what the parent says can seem like hell. You can double the effect by having other parents taking part.
Praising a child should be not unlike kissing a dog on the butt. You just never want to do it in public. The parent must develop a distaste for praise so much that he hates giving it, and likewise the child should learn to hate accepting it. Praise should seem painful and condescending. This will build an unending dissatisfaction with himself that will foster the overachieving spirit of the child.
Music: The Joy of Obedience
If the child is hiding or shy or is just purely avoiding attention, as many rebellious children do, the perfect remedy is the use of false props in company. “My son can play the piano,” and of course, a proper demonstration is required. They will have to play, because after all, hundreds or thousands of dollars were spent on lessons and buying the piano and keeping it in tune. This embarrassment never fails as many children who have been humiliated in this way go on to lead a perfectly overachieving life. Make sure to put the piano in the middle of the room so that it can be a constant reminder of the life they cannot avoid. The most “feng shui” impact it can have is to be right there when they enter the front door. No other instrument says “subjugation” more than a piano.
Music lessons with the parent picking the instrument and the teacher are absolutely necessary in developing a perfect Chinese child. They instill in the child routine, discipline, and labor. It is important to choose a teacher who is not interested in joy or exploration, who lacks passion and hope, but one geared to precision and “can’t stand good music played badly.”
For the child, music will no longer be creative or fun, but mechanical, draining exercise that leads to eventual embarrassment. The power of standardized music lessons is something American schools seem completely incapable of truly utilizing to their benefit.
Again, it has to do with submission — weakening their systems with trite, unwelcomed chore-like activities. The Maoist would wake everyone up at six o’clock every morning to sing a hymn to the government. Now that’s parenting!
Old People Are Not as Useless as You Think
Another great way to facilitate a better child in the home is to use grandparents. The right grandparents can provide that special kind of guilt that can only come with old age. It helps too if the old can be sick or sickly or hypochondriacs. That sense of needing to care for them makes grandchildren begin to face their own mortality.
This can start at a very early age. You can aid this by occasionally mentioning, “I don’t know how long your grandfather’s going to live” or the ever popular, “Your grandmother says you’re her favorite. You should do something for her before she dies and forgets you.” Chinese have very little sentimentality when it comes to death. We’ll talk more about religion later, but it’s important to remember that being Chinese means you can be richer in heaven or hell than on earth, because your family is suppose to take care of you.
Can Buy Me Love
The child should also have a savings account where the sole purpose is to fund college endeavors. Birthday presents, Christmas gifts, and Chinese New Year money should all be in the form of savings bonds or direct deposit to this account. You can also get the grandparents in on this effort.
The child will feel guilty that poor old grandmother is putting a percentage of her life savings into that account instead of spending it on that much needed liver operation. Hinting that if he hurried and grew up to be a doctor, he might be able to save her, is not only brilliant, but kills many birds with one stone.
If you’ve decided to raise a businessman, you can also teach the child about compound interest. When the child earns say $100 just by leaving the money alone, you can offer praise.
The one moment you can distill praise without worry on your child is when they’ve made money without doing anything. Of course, earning interest is its own reward.