Traditional Chinese culture is an endless inspiration for raising a good child that will lead a successful life. For example, Chinese Americans significantly populate the country’s most prestigious schools and career fields. This is likely due to the large part Chinese parents tend to play in pushing their children toward success and extraordinary things.
Filial Piety and the Importance of Family
Filial piety is a Confucian value that emphasizes compliance, courtesy, manners, and a deep respect and obligation toward one’s parents and ancestors. Through filial piety, parents are obligated to provide their children with the best opportunities for success, and children are obligated to provide their parents with care and help in their old age. Filial piety establishes value in a deeply interconnected family, impacting a child’s drive toward success and overall wellbeing.
The importance of family and the feeling of interconnectedness begins at an early age. Parents spend large amounts of time with their small children, showering them with love and affection for the first few years of their life. Alone time is not emphasized in traditional Chinese culture. Rather, parents spend the first few years of their little one’s life building a strong bond with their children.
As children raised with traditional Chinese values hold such great respect and feeling of interconnectedness with their family, their pursuit of success is not one that is only individualistically motivated. Rather, children raised in an interconnected family will find motivation in knowing that their success will greatly contribute to their family and community’s health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.
A child’s motivation toward success is not the only benefit of the traditional Chinese emphasis on the importance of family. Creating a deeply interconnected family unit can benefit a child’s well-being as well.
We, as humans, are a social species, after all. Whether a person considers themselves introverted or extroverted, everyone benefits from social interactions. The feeling of belonging to a community or family, as traditional Chinese values tend to emphasize, can prove to be deeply important to a child’s psychological wellbeing.
Introducing Values Through Storytelling
From a young age, Chinese parents tend to emphasize the importance of valuing family, tradition, and morality in their child-rearing practice. However, Chinese parents don’t tend to jump right into a strict discipline with their very young children. Instead, they lovingly and affectionately introduce the family values to little ones through the art of storytelling and become more of the disciplinarian as the child grows and can understand the “why” behind the values they are being taught.
Storytelling is an excellent way of introducing family values and helping a small child understand why these values are so important. Painting a picture is easier for a small child to understand and will ensure that they have a strong belief system on a deeper level than it would be if the child were to simply be told to hold that value with no explanation.
Hands-on Parenting for Raising a Good Child
Traditionally, Chinese parents play a significant role in their child’s development, learning, and personal choices. The expectations of their children are high, and these expectations influence the children through every step of their lives.
In more individualistic parenting styles, children are given the task of taking the lead in their own development and learning. However, in traditional Chinese parenting, parents take the lead.
This can create an excellent environment for pushing your child to continue pursuing something, even when it seems impossible. Every one of us can tend to give up on ourselves and be unable to see our own potential. Sometimes, a push from a parent is all a child needs to pursue excellence.
As a child is raised to continue working hard and push past the moments they feel like giving up, the value of hard work and effort will follow them into adulthood.
Emphasize Effort, Rather Than Achievements or Talent
Traditional Chinese parenting tends to place a great amount of emphasis on effort. What’s the benefit of this? Rather than allowing their child to decide a task is too hard, a subject is too difficult, or a skill is too challenging, traditional Chinese parenting calls for parents to believe in their child’s potential. This is why so many Chinese parents push their children to continue to try, even when they are frustrated and ready to give up.
Many other parenting styles tend to allow children to give up when the going gets tough, racking their child’s lack of achievement to the idea that they just weren’t born with the skill to do it. On the other hand, Chinese parents believe in their child’s potential. They believe that if their child pushes through their mistakes and failures, they will eventually find success. This is because traditional Chinese parents believe that success is the product of hard work, not just talent and achievements.
Research shows that an emphasis on effort can play a huge role in a child’s success in learning new skills. When a child is continuously receiving praise for their achievements or natural talents, their motivation to pursue success becomes extrinsic, depending on the praise of others. However, when a parent emphasizes effort over achievements and talents, the child’s motivation for success comes intrinsically.
Do As You Want Your Child to Do
Children are constantly learning from their parents and elders. If you would like to instil good values and a great work ethic in your children, you must first instil good values and a great work ethic in yourself.
As your child watches you live by your morality, value the importance of family, and put in the utmost effort in everything you do, they will strive to do the same. Allow your child to see how important family values are to you by prioritizing family time. Show them what a great work ethic looks like by continuing to work on your skills and knowledge. You and your actions are your child’s greatest teacher. No amount of words can take the place of leading by example. Work to be the person you dream of your child being. You will find great success in raising an extraordinary child in doing so.