I think something similar has been happening here for some time. It’s because of neoliberalism, the doctrine that education is a good to be purchased like a car or a vacation house. We, Americans, strive for an education to get and keep a job forgetting that education has other vital purposes like the creation of whole and vital human beings. The Chinese in Hong Kong also pursue an education for a job but also for social status, and, of course, their system of high school ends in a test that determines who goes to college and who does not. Less than half will qualify. Our testing regime is hideous beyond words but it does not carry that penalty, at least not yet.
I have a lot of sympathy for Monster parents. There is unfairness for some students. One of my son’s high school teachers told him that he would never go to college. Since my wife (now ex-wife) and I have two degrees apiece, we thought he probably would go to college (he’s attending one now). I let the matter blow over but there is a part of me that wanted confrontation, a confrontation that teacher would not have forgotten.
Still, however sympathetic I may be, I can’t see putting a child through a childhood absent play and solitude.
The Existential Angst of Hong Kong’s ‘Monster Parents’ | Yuen Chan
For a story about the pressures of early childhood in Hong Kong, my students recently interviewed the mother of a four-year-old who has soccer class on Mondays, piano and violin on Thursdays, extra English and maths on Thursdays and Fridays and music on Saturdays. She was also considering Mandarin and swimming, and all this on top of kindergarten. This may be an extreme case, but there is constant pressure for parents to put their kids on the treadmill and a lucrative industry to promote it.
Unsurprisingly, there was much hand-wringing when a survey published by a local university found Hong Kong\’s school children scored higher than those in the United States, Britain and Australia in a questionnaire that detects antisocial traits. Researchers warned that monster parents were creating a generation of over-confident, spoilt brats with a tendency towards aggression and violence to get their way.
But it seems too easy to point the finger at parents, simultaneously accused of fostering cowering, over-dependent children and violent narcissists. Parents are trapped in a pressure cooker — an education system that emphasizes academic achievement, as measured in test results, above all else, a culture that deems those without university degrees as failures.
What\’s worse, more and more students are attaining the minimum grades needed to qualify to study …(Please visit the web site and read the whole article. jp)
From around the web.
From the web site, Education in Japan Community Blog.
These days, in Japan at least, there is a great hoo-hah over the
issue of Monster Parents, on the heels of an earlier debate over the
overindulged, selfish and adrift youngsters.
These issues are of course not confined to Japan. A quick google on
the internet and you will see that the Monster Parents in India, in the
USA, and the issue of overindulged kids surfaces often in China where
the one-child government policy has resulted in children so precious,
and thus overindulged by society at large. If you ever manage to catch
Super Nanny the British (virtual TV of sorts) series, it’s good for a
jolting confrontation with screaming brats and yelling dads, etc.
Nor is the issue as many experts say it is, a phenomenon of our
times. Catching up on a Jane Austen fest on cable TV, and rereading many
Victorian (Regency) classics in the past two weeks, I realized that
“monster parents” and spoilt brats were very much shown up in nearly
every book and often caricatured in ways totally recognizable to us.
The Victorian classics were written by young women like Jane Austen
or Charlotte Bronte, who were, being from slightly reduced financial
circumstances, forced to be sensible and to move in the circles of the
clergyhood or governnesses. As such they were highly attuned to the
idiosyncracies, selfish behavioral displays, highhandedness,
snobbishness, vulgarity even, of privileged parents of Victorian high
society…as opposed to the necessary humility, down-to-earthness of the
working or servant classes.