Twenty-first century parents are bombarded with parenting advice. From demanding over achievement from our children to the extreme hands-off approach to everything in between, isn't time we have a conversation about what the goal of parenting should be? In this session, Erika Christakis, Amy Chua, Lawrence Cohen and Ellen Galinsky discuss the loaded issue of parenting. Lori Gottlieb moderates the panel.
What is the Goal of Parenting?
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THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2012
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF PARENTING?
Monday, July 2, 2012
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
JOHN M. DUFF JUNIOR PROFESSOR OF LAW,
YALE LAW SCHOOL
AUTHOR, BATTLEHYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER
AND OTHER BOOKS
CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF FAMILIES AND WORK
CO-DIRECTOR, WHEN WORK WORKS PROJECT
AUTHOR, MIND IN THE MAKING: THE SEVEN ESSENTIAL
LIFE SKILLS EVERY CHILD NEEDS
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR
HARVARD COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR
LAWRENCE J. COHEN
AUTHOR, PLAYFUL PARENTING
* * * * *
P R O C E E D I N G S
MS. MILLER: My name is Jamie Miller, I'm with the Aspen Institute, and I'm pleased to welcome you this morning to "What is the Goal of Parenting?"
If you could please turn off your cell phones and wait -- during the q-and-a portion wait for the microphone to come to you, we'll have runners who'll get you a mike, and that way everyone can hear you.
We'll get started in just a second, but I would like to start out by introducing and thanking our moderator Lori Gottlieb. She is a therapist and frequent writer about parenting issues. She's based in L.A. and she actually helped inspire this subject track on "The 21st Century Child," with an article she wrote in the July-August issue of The Atlantic last year. It was called, "How to Land Your Kids in Therapy," which is actually the topic of –- session we're doing tonight. So if that is a goal of yours, you should definitely come.
MS. MILLER: But without further ado I'll turn it over to Lori. I also want to thank her because she really did help us shape a lot of the conversations that we have here. So she's a participant and also an advisor and we're grateful for her input.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Thanks Jamie. So I'm going to introduce the panelists as we explore this question of what is the goal of parenting. And I should say that I'm going to mention everybody's kids on this panel because we're all parents, which means that we both do and do not know what we're talking about.
MS. GOTTLIEB: With that caveat, Amy Chua is a law professor at Harvard and you probably –-
MS. CHUA: Yeah, Yale.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Oh, Yale, sorry. Oh, sorry.
MS. GOTTLIEB: We've got Harvard right there. I'm only just mixed those two up. Amy's a law professor at Yale and she's probably –- even though she's written two other bestselling books, she's probably best known for her Tiger Mom book, that we will be discussing shortly. Erica Christakis –- I'm going to read now because I don't want to mix up schools –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: –- is an early childhood educator, former teacher, education consultant and current college administrator at Harvard University where she lives and works among 400 and as she put it "high-maintenance Harvard undergraduates." She writes about issues affecting young people and she is a weekly columnist for time.com. She has three children, ages 19, 16, and 14. And those of you who've read Tiger Mom know that Amy has two children, 19 and 16.
Larry Cohen is a psychologist in Boston; he is also the author of Playful Parenting. He has a private therapy practice and he is a speaker and consultant to public and independent schools. He's also the author of The Art of Roughhousing, and Best Friends, Worst Enemies; Friendship, Popularity, and Social Cruelty in the Lives of Boys and Girls, and Mom, They're Teasing Me. He has a daughter, Emma, and a son Jake, 19 and –- Jake is 19 and Emma's 21.
And Ellen Galinsky is the president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute and has served as the president of the National Association of Young Children, which is the largest group of early childhood educators. Her more than 45 books and reports include most recently the bookMind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. She and her husband are the parents of two grown children, Phillip and Laura who probably are in the –- Norman (phonetic), I guess is here and Laura (phonetic) are right there.
Now, I will try to keep everything straight as we get started. So before this morning I asked all of the panelists what they thought the goal of parenting was. And they all gave me these very thoughtful, articulate responses that sounded like what they should want is helping children have focus and self-control, learn to take the perspectives of others, make connections, learn to take on challenges, I could go on and on. Larry said childhood is its own thing not preparation for adulthood or a vision of adulthood. Everybody had these very smart responses but then when I asked, well, what did they want for their own kids they all basically said, I just want them to be happy.
MS. GOTTLIEB: And so the question is –- I don't think that that's changed. I think you know for a very long time parents have wanted their kids to be happy. So the goal hasn't changed but the meaning of that goal has changed –- what does happiness mean for our kids nowadays.
And I want to start off by asking about the level of anxiety that parents seem to have around making sure that their kids are going to be happy. And I want to start with Larry who started off by telling me you can't be average and happy nowadays.
MR. COHEN: Right, I think that people especially maybe this crowd a little more so, feel that "average" is a dirty word and that that's just a terrifying thing that your child might be average. And children have –- parents have a lot of anxiety about how children are going to turn out. Some of it is about right now, I can't stand this, what's happening right now and a lot of it like most anxiety is geared towards the future.
A story from my own life, my father said to me when I was a teenager I'm not going to control you and tell you what to do. You could be any kind of medical doctor that you want.
MR. COHEN: And –- or, as we called it in my family, "a real doctor." So I showed him and I rebelled and became a psychologist instead of a "real" doctor.
MS. GOTTLIEB: So, Erica, you had said that there's this assumption in our parenting that we would make our kids' lives better, that that was always the assumption. And that a lot of this anxiety comes from the fact that it's really hard nowadays to make our kids' lives better than our own lives. Can you talk a little bit about that?
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Yes, I think that's right and I think you have to sort of go back in time a little bit and look at what the goal of parenting was you know for centuries, millennia even, which was to keep our kids alive so that they could reproduce. And then we sort of got a little bit higher up in the hierarchy of needs and looked at you know, children who could provide for us in our old age. And now we're in this era where we want kids to be happy but secretly we also really want them to be successful.
And we think that these things are in opposition. I'd like to argue that they're not. But I also think the economy plays a role in our struggle with making our kids, letting our kids be happy.
But I also think there are issues unrelated to economics. We live in the information age and that causes huge stress for families, certainly in our family, because now we're aware of what crummy parents we are, you know.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And in our parents' generation they were in blissful ignorance, you know. We were crawling in the backseat of the station wagon and anyone who's seen "Mad Men," knows that. But now we have a lot of anxiety from the data, the information that's out there. I also think we live in what we call the "epidemiological age," where we have a lot of information about what is unhealthy and healthy. So all these things create a lot of tension in that struggle about happiness.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Can you talk a little bit about the terminology in the New England Journal of Medicine?
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Right. Yes –- the accident-yeah this is really interesting. It's actually in the British Medical Journal. I was a public health person before I became an early childhood educator so I always look at sort of the health lens with families. And the British Medical Journal, which is one of the leading medical journals in the world, not too long ago literally outlawed the word "accident" in their reporting, because they argue that really are almost no accidents.
And if you look at the antecedents for almost all bad things that happen to us in life including famines and droughts, you know, but including things like children getting hit by cars, suicide, that these are really preventable injuries. And I think this is a huge shift in how we view childhood, because if we're starting to think that everything that do, all these bad things are preventable then every time you decide not to put a helmet on your child when they're riding a scooter on the sidewalk you know you start feeling like a neglectful person.
And so again it's sort of that crisis of information. I'm not suggesting remotely that we go back in time when children were really less safe physically. But it does create a lot of anxiety I think to live in a world where we feel so responsible as parents. I don't know just how you all feel, but I just feel wracked with responsibility even though many studies show we have a lot less influence on our kids than we think.
MS. GOTTLIEB: And Ellen, you as a teacher were saying that you've noticed that there's this propensity to criticize parents.
MS. GALINSKY: Well, I'd actually like to step back for a moment and say that about three decades ago I actually wrote a book on how parents grow and change. And I interviewed parents, it's called The Six Stages of Parenthood, and I interviewed parents in different aspects –- different times in parenthood. And I found that that process of deciding of what kind of parent we want to be is actually a developmental process that starts when we're –- when we're expectant parents, whether it's by adoption or by birth, we start to think about what our parents did that we liked and didn't like and how we're going to do it differently. And then we think, oh my God, you know I shouldn't be a parent, I'm not ready, or, I'll be the most wonderful parent in the world, all these sort of fantasies that we have. And then as our children are born and they're not exactly who we expected them to be and the world isn't exactly what we expected it to be, we change.
But you're right. When I was a teacher I used to sit around in the teacher's room, this is my first job out of college, I used to sit around in the teacher's room and listened to the way people talked about parents. And if you substituted a person of color or a woman for those sentences you would be called racist or sexist. I think of it as "parentist."
We have such a propensity, and we haven't gotten over that, I mean we haven't stopped criticizing parents. I hear it all the time everywhere. We're so culturally prone to beat up parents. I would like us to pay more attention to not being "parentist" the way we've learned, at least socially not be quite so racist and sexist.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, right. So Amy, you're used to a little parental criticism.
MS. CHUA: I noticed you were looking at me a lot.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Why do you think it is that –- now, I know you're speaking as somebody who wrote a memoir not as, as you like to make clear, not as a parenting expert, but why do you think it is that given the way that we're so anxious about parenting and we all want to do it right, what do you think accounted for the response to your book and the way that you raised your kids.
MS. CHUA: You know, it's funny. I think that in a way parental anxiety and the obsession with happiness and –- is in some ways a luxury. You know, so when you –- I was a daughter of immigrants, people –- two people who came to this country with absolutely nothing. And when –- the way they parented, they didn't have time to worry about happiness and parenting guides and classes. It was just –- parenting for them was about survival. As you know it was about teaching your kids to take advantage of every opportunity because they knew how hard opportunity was to come by, it was education, education.
And I just got back from a couple of weeks in China, and I see that now that there's more wealth there actually they now have time to be anxious.
MS. CHUA: You know that happiness, they have -- they're for the first time interested in this question of happiness. And I do think that the part of the response to my book is –- but what I'd like to say is I think my book accidentally tapped into two of America's deepest anxieties, fear of parenting, and fear of China.
MS. CHUA: I just like hit that perfect intersection, just like exploded.
MS. GOTTLIEB: So there you were talking about this sort of, this cognitive bias, the "taboo tradeoff." Can you –- which I think relates to a little about what Amy was saying.
MR. COHEN: Yeah, I think that what I hear from parents is that play and connection and getting on the floor and doing fun things instead of flash cards, that's all great unless it interferes with learning and success. And that parents have this fear that you have to give up one and give up –- or the other. So the "taboo tradeoff" is, the classic example is the salesmen at Toys R Us selling you a car seat and saying this is the best one, it's the safest, or you could pay less and get a less safe one.
MR. COHEN: And there's a taboo against putting a price on the safety of your child. And I think we have the same taboo on can we aim at anything less than the absolute pinnacle of success, and if we don't then we're shortchanging our children. And it always makes me think of this quote, or a story from A.S. Neill, who founded the Summerhill School in the 1950s, and this was a radical progressive school. You didn't have to go to class if you didn't want to. And parents were very skeptical and they would say, well, how are they going to get to medical school and he would say, well, would you rather your child be a happy truck driver or -- he was England, so happy lorry driver or an unhappy surgeon. And the parents would think and think and they'd say is that possible to be a happy truck driver? And is that possible to be an unhappy surgeon?
And we all know that of course it's possible to be happy no matter what your profession is, what your job is, and we know that it's possible to be absolutely miserable when you're at the top of your –- the most respected field in the world. And so there's much more to that, happiness, than that.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, right. Amy and I were talking yesterday about this idea of the play where you were talking about, and this, you know, it's very trendy in certain private schools to go back to this very, kind of loose non-academic structure. And yet, what's really happening is that the kids are doing that and then they're coming home and they have kind of Amy at home –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: –- because their parents are then drilling multiplication tables with them or doing some kind of supplemental academic you know exercise with them. And so the kids who are not getting the tutors, or not getting that academic exercise at home are the ones who are just getting the play-based part, because it's what Larry said, you can get the car seat –- you can get the play-based school but you're at risk of maybe them not going to Harvard.
MR. COHEN: Right, so –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Can I –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: So –- I'm sorry, I was going to talk to Ellen a little bit about play-based, but go ahead Erica, and then we'll go over to Ellen.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Well, it's –- you know my career has spanned pre-K through college. And so at Harvard I actually see the kids who have played and the ones that haven't played. So I just want to make a pitch that I don't think these goals are in opposition, and I worry a lot that we forget as parents that the most important way children learn and I'm talking about young children is to play.
And we have decades and decades of research to back this up from neuroscience, from psychology, from education research. And so I just want to be sure that we're not creating kind of a false dichotomy. And I can tell you what, when we see students at Harvard, we see a lot of people who have checked all the boxes, they've done all the worksheets, and then they get to college and they're really adrift because they don't have some of the social and emotional skills that are going to get them into the 21st century as functional people. And I don't just mean people with good jobs, I mean people with good relationship.
So I just want to make sure that we bear in mind that play, speaking as an early childhood educator I really don't think the assumption that play is an extra or a supplemental is an accurate one. I think sometimes play gets misunderstood or sometimes it's you know it's not implemented effectively.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Well, I think a lot of people talk about cultivating play and that concerns me because I think that's another thing that parents are going to try to then micromanage, that –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Yes, yes.
MR. COHEN: Exactly.
MS. GOTTLIEB: –- we have to cultivate how they play and what they're going to do and if it's educational enough in terms of the kind of play that they're doing as opposed to just organic, let kids run around and do their thing. Ellen, you have a lot expertise in this area.
MS. GALINSKY: I think that what we're talking about, the two issues in America that your book hit, I think we have this tendency to think either/or all of the time. It's play or learning; it's cognitive or social-emotional. What I did, because I was concerned that we were –- that we not only have a drop out of school, drop out of college phenomena in America, but we also have a drop out of learning phenomena, that -- far too kids (sic) are engaged in learning. The studies that the University of Indiana did, Howard Gardner's in the audience and he was the one who told me about the study of high school engagement; studies that I did where I found that too many kids were seeing learning as only instrumental, that you learn so that you could get a job, go to the next school, begin support yourself. And all that's good, it's again part of the either/or that we shouldn't fall into.
But we've lost that intrinsic survival skill of learning. And in a world where knowledge is changing so rapidly it's really critical that we have it. So what I did was spend, now 11 years, going out and filming some of the best research on how to keep children self-directed, engaged in learning. And often, let's take the issue of self-control, which is one of the skills, life skills that I found were really very important in kids of being able to thrive, I don't use the word "succeed," but the word "thrive," socially, emotionally and intellectually.
And how do kids learn self-control? They don't learn it by being chained to their desks. You know, they learn it by being physically active, they learn it by playing games –- "red light/green light," "Simon Says." "Simon Says," simple game, played over the centuries that teaches executive function skills. If you look at "Simon Says," you have to pay attention, you have to –- these are all characteristics of executive functions. You have to remember the rules and you can't go on automatic. And executive function skills are always skill directed. That's used as a test of school readiness and school success, which shows a couple of month's differentiation in kids in all kinds of different -- literacy, math, et cetera.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right.
MS. GALINSKY: So I think it's really important, play is very important in learning.
MS. GOTTLIEB: It is and one of the things that, you know we've been talking about, is differentiating between our goals. Are –- we want to raise a happy kid. What does that mean? Does it mean that they have checked off all the boxes or does it mean that they have those life skills that you're talking about? And I want to show a video where –- we're going to show a quick two-minute video right now of something that came from Ellen's work –- it's actually Carol Dweck's work that Ellen can talk about. But it has to do with the way that we tell our kids, oh, you're so smart, versus –- and what that will do for them in life versus telling them –- you know, when they go down the slide and we're like "Good job, good job," and they've done it every day. We're going "good job" when they tie their shoes, and the first time, yeah, you say "Great." But you know every morning when they get ready for school, "Good job, you tied your shoes." And so Ellen can kind of cue up this video.
MS. GALINSKY: Well, actually, I –- because I'm not sure I'll get it in later, I want to say something about happiness. I don't think my goal for my children was ever that they be happy.
MS. GALINSKY: Yes, I want you to be miserable --
MS. GALINSKY: -- be really sad, be miserable. And then what I think of it, happiness is a byproduct of being involved, being interested, caring about something beyond yourself. And so I personally, if we're going to speak as a parent, never really wanted my kids –- that wouldn't have been my goal at all. It was –- it would be more like how you learn to take on tough things, because life brings tough things and how you succeed in life.
And Amy I think that's so much about what you write about in Tiger Mom. So this is around the skill of taking on challenges, and what I've done is spend 11 years filming the very best research across disciplines in how to keep that fire in children's eyes burning brightly. And sometimes it's counter-intuitive and Carol Dweck found that the "Good job," or the "You're so smart," actually creates a lack of self-esteem.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Lack of motivation.
MS. GALINSKY: Yeah.
MS. GOTTLIEB: So let's take a look at the video.
(Video Clip shown)
MS. GOTTLIEB: So related to that, Amy, in your book you know there's that scene where you have the famous scene from keeping Lulu at the piano. And I think that that's been very misunderstood by people. Because here in the video we're talking about not saying, "Oh, you're great," and "Don't try harder," and you know, or they're afraid to take on other tasks because then their self-conception of being smart gets shattered. So tell us a little bit about your thought process with the piano scene.
MS. CHUA: Okay, this is a little story called, "The Little White Donkey," that I got in huge trouble for. Because it was reproduced in the Wall Street Journal. ButIn our family it's actually one of our favorite stories. But again I'm not the expert, I'm not saying every parent do this but when Lulu, my younger daughter –- she's the one who rebelled and is the reason I wrote the book, but when she was younger she was playing a little piece by Jacques Ibert called "The Little White Donkey," which is a very cute piece. But it's very hard for young kids because the two hands, it's like completely different rhythms and it was hard to do.
And we were having one of our –- you know she and I just you know have locked horns in the beginning, but we were having a big argument, she's like, can't do this, I won't do this, and I said, get back to the piano. And at one point, my husband called me a aside and he said, "Amy, has it," –- privately –- "has it ever occurred to you that maybe Lulu just can't do this, that she just doesn't have the coordination yet, that she's too young?" And I said, "Ah, you just don't believe in her. I don't care. You can be the parent they adore because you take them to the baseball games and make them pancakes and water slides and all. But I know she can do this. I'm going to go back." And I went back, and we fought and this is the –- it sort of got so taken out of context because it's like, you know, "Amy Chua will not let her daughter go the bathroom or eat food."
MS. CHUA: And "It was Guantanamo Bay," and it was –- anybody who's had a kid you know, you're practicing piano, it's like, after five minutes, Mommy, I need to go to the bathroom. After 10 minutes, I'm thirsty, after five minutes, I've a headache. And so after the tenth time she'd been to the bathroom, I was like, I don't think you need to go to the bathroom anymore. We are sitting here –- anyway we, the end of the story is we went at it, and at a certain point I thought, okay, God, my husband's right. She can't do it. And at that exact moment, her two hands came together. And then interestingly, this kind of pride and joy set in. And I don't know how this relates to happiness or self-esteem, but she would not leave the piano, she just wanted to play it over and over and over. She couldn't believe that she could do it.
So what I said in the book is –- the reason I bring it up is my younger daughter, Lulu, has said a lot of mean things about me, you know. I mean, she just texted one, like 10 minutes ago.
MS. CHUA: So, you know, we –- it's like –- so it's not –- but one nice thing that she has said is, she tells me, even just recently, you know, she said, "You know Mommy, I remember that exact moment, that "Little White Donkey" moment, because when I'm sitting in a chemistry test in school and I feel a blank, I can't do this I don't know this, I will remember that moment, that, you know there was once a moment when I felt, I can't do this, I know I can't, but just doing hard work, just kind of keeping at it, I actually discovered I could.
So I do think that you know the best way for building confidence is actually not having somebody tell you over and over, but knowing in your heart that actually, you once thought you could do something and by sticking with it you learned that you could.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, right, and so in your family you weren't telling your kids all the time, unless they earned it, you're special, you're special, you're special. And there was this commencement speech recently that many of you might know about where the theme of the speech was telling the high school graduates you know you're not that special.
MS. GOTTLIEB: And a lot of people took issue with it, and I think what he was trying to say was that out in the world there are this many valedictorians, there are this many –- you're –- in the scheme of life you're not more special than everybody else. And that actually serves you well. And yet, it's really hard I think given that we want our kids to develop the character issues, the character traits. And things like resilience, humility, all of those things, and we feel like we're damaging their self-esteem if we're not constantly telling them how special they are when in fact we're actually preventing them from forming a solid sense of self-esteem. And Larry, can you speak to this a little bit?
MR. COHEN: Yeah, I had two things to say about that. One is, I had a supervisor for being a therapist that –- he was the son of a preacher and he said he learned from his father that the job of a preacher and a therapist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
MR. COHEN: And I think that that's part of parenting also, and I think that there's a way with children who –- things come easy to them like in the film, it's like, oh yeah, I was really good at that. And I want to just stick with that. And we have to push those kids and the ones you know –- and the you're-not-so-special commencement speech, these kids who have been told they're special all the time. Their path has been cleared for them in a lot of ways and they have this advantage and I think they need to be discomforted a little bit.
But then there are children who need to be comforted. And the other thing I want to say about Amy's "Little White Donkey" story is that when I see the adults in my practice who are the, kind of the casualties of the extremes of the achieve, achieve, achieve, I-don'-care-what-you-think, I-don't-care-what-you-want, and I compare that to Amy's stories, the difference is whether the child is seen, felt, heard. You know with kind of the saving grace, the reason I, reading the book that I didn't have that oh-my-God, you know, we got to lynch Amy Chua, you know, is that her daughters were able to say, I hate this, I hate you, I'm mad –-
MR. COHEN: –- and I think that as parents we need to listen to that. Our children do get mad at us. And that adults in therapy they always say that their feelings were not welcome, they were not reflected. They weren't allowed to get angry, they weren't allowed to be sad, they weren't allowed to be scared. And that we have to welcome all of our children's feelings, and that's part of that comforting them. And at that point it makes a big difference whether the child is being seen and heard and then when she tells you later, now I know I can do it, that what she's saying is you were really seeing me in that moment. Not what sometimes happens, I had to practice the piano so much when what I really wanted to be doing was x, y, or z. And they didn't know me; my parents did not know me. And that's a very painful thing.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, and when you were just mentioning you know the path has been paved for so many of these kids, part of that is they don't want to hear the "I hate you." It's actually really healthy for your kid to think that they were born into the wrong family and that you know –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: –- baby –- some "switched at birth" thing happened at the hospital. You want them at some point to hate you, not for a long period of time but you want them to develop their own separation and individuation.
MR. COHEN: Well, I call it something to bump up against and I talk a lot with parents who are on the attachment-parenting side, the you know never let them have to walk or cry or be alone or any of that and there's a lot in that that builds connection. It gives a sense f security, but what they also miss is something to bump up against.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right.
MR. COHEN: And I often hear from them when their kids are 4, and it's like "Aaah." It was like they need to have a fight.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, exactly, and so a lot of these kids who because we don't want to upset them we don't –- you know, there are a lot of parents who won't have their kids do chores at home, which is just a basic family responsibility. But they're so busy with their homework and they're sleep-deprived, and, how can we do this; they're in the middle of this drawing and we can't interrupt their creativity to come set the table, you know, things like that. And we don't like that our kids will get mad at us, and so they grow up and they don't sort of have basic life skills. And Erica, I think you see this firsthand.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: I do see this firsthand and I'm conflicted because you know as a parent and as an early educator I see the value of the –- letting your child be creative, and not putting such rigid limits on them and expectations. But at the same time it becomes so dysfunctional to be blunt.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: I mean it does. In my own family when I was a preschool teacher not terribly long ago, you know we would have to put on a circus to get these little 4-year-olds to clean up. You know in the old days they had a sort of intrinsic motivation to want to participate in a group activity that was helpful to everyone. You know so we are raising kids who have trouble doing these things. We see at Harvard –- I assume this is what you're asking about –- you know some really crazy stories. And maybe I could share a couple of them –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: Oh, yeah, that'd be great.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: You know, I have an e-mail that was sent to a professor. And I will edit it for privacy and length.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: But this gives you an example. I mean this is not typical. I mean these are the outliers but it's always fun to talk about the outliers. So here we go. "Hi, Prof," you know that's a formal salutation just in case you –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: "I attended lecture yesterday and found out that we have an exam due in the course last week." I'm sorry, "that we had an exam due." "Until the lecturer mentioned it yesterday I was oblivious to the fact that we had one for this course. My attempts to notify you of this yesterday didn't pan out."
MS. CHRISTAKIS: "Upon my subsequent reinspection of the syllabus I also noticed that there were two reading assignments to do before the midterm. Those too I didn't know were due at any particular time." Let me interrupt –- this is Harvard.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: "I am," –- wait –- "I'm completely astonished about these revelations. And I'm not sure how this happened. I'm also surprised that you didn't notify me of my failure of my failure to complete these assignments. What do you suggest we do?"
MS. GOTTLIEB: So this is the kind of thing, and we'll come back, but this is the kind of thing –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And you know, to me this is a failure –- now, I'm not prepared to say this is a failure of parenting. I think, it's, as you said, Ellen, there is a lot of "parentism," and there are huge societal forces working on our kids. My daughter was sort of mouthing off at me one day, and we prided ourselves on not letting our kids watch TV, which was a very pretentious and unrealistic goal but we stuck to it for a while.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And she came home sort of parroting this rude talk, and I realized she got it from a TV show. And you know that's the sarcasm and the sort of bantering. So there are a lot of societal forces. But –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: But what –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: But it is a failure.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, and when you have that where the kids have never –- you know when probably this kid –- I'm, you know, guessing, didn't get to the school play and mom and dad called up and said how could this, you know my child not get into the school play, or, my child got a bad grade, and, let me go talk to the teacher. Or, you know, whatever was –- my child didn't get invited to a birthday party and I better go fix that situation, with the other parents.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: We had –- I mean this is hilarious –- we had a student –- my husband and I work as housemasters, and our predecessor was actually a Nobel laureate. And he was called by a parent and asked to check the child's room to make sure that he was cleaning his room and making his bed. And this 65-year-old eminent Nobel laureate said, if he hasn't learned yet, it's too late.
MS. GOTTLIEB: But I think that it's interesting, when we look at Amy –- you know, we talk about "helicopter parenting," and Amy in some ways might be looked at as a "helicopter parent" the way she handled the piano by driving to all the lessons and doing all those things. But she also really made her kids take responsibility for you know their actions and what they did in their lives. And you were saying that as they got older, you know, in high school and college where Erica's dealing with, that the kids were really acting very young for their age, and yet, you know, you were very hands off at that point.
MS. CHUA: Yeah, I myself kind of see, and maybe these terms are kind of arbitrary, but I kind of see "tiger parenting," as I –- as it was practiced on me, as the opposite of "helicopter parenting" actually. It's about instilling kind of this inner strength –- I mean when it works well, Larry, I could not agree with you more. I got so many e-mails from people who said, look I was raised exactly like the way you're saying and it was horrible. My parents didn't love me, it was like get the A or you don't love me. And it depends what message is conveyed.
MR. COHEN: Right.
MS. GALINSKY: But didn't it depend also on the relationship with your parents apart from their child rearing?
MS. CHUA: Yeah, I think so. But you know, like, I somehow, the message I always got from my parents was whatever the words were, you know, the message I got was, I believe in you. And I was the apple of my dad's eye. But if I told some of the people what –- some of the things my father said to me, I think you'd be horrified, because it's hard to read.
But anyway I –- for me this "tiger parenting" is about instilling a sense of focus and self-discipline and a kind of inner strength and resilience in kids at a very young age. So when –- it is true that when my kids went to high school they were able to focus and maybe it was the music, but I would never have written a paper for my daughters.
And you know my –- at Harvard now, Sophia writes back and says her friends will e-mail back papers for their parents to edit, right, and Sophia is completely on her own. I mean, that's one thing I am very proud of, my girls are very self-reliant, and I think it is –- so in that sense I do think it's the opposite. I think of "helicopter parenting" as hovering and parents who do everything for their kids and won't carry –- you know don't want them to carry their own sports bags and protect them, whereas I do see "tiger parenting" as kind of almost the opposite in some ways.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, and yet there's this incredible pressure I think, partly because of social media and partly because it's not only keeping up with the Joneses now, but it's keeping up with the Joneses kids, where if they're taking the $6,000 Princeton review class, then you feel like –- and your child is the only child at that –- in that, you know, in your neighborhood who's not, and this is a very elite neighborhood that we're talking about, then you feel like maybe you're doing your child a disservice.
MR. COHEN: Oh and there's these fears about how little room there is at the top and you know, when I read your book, Amy, I was thinking about the history of feudalism and –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: Sucks –-
MR. COHEN: Yeah, feudalism sucks, you know, it's like there's just a tiny, tiny, room at the top and no middle and a horrible bottom. And you know when you look around now, and, you know, capitalism sucks, you know it's like –- it's really looking the same way. There's –- I trademarked that term so you can't use it.
MR. COHEN: But the –- there's very little room at the top and there's this idea like we've got to get that Ivy League education or it's going to be the gutter. Then I took a year off from graduate school and my father felt like skid row was the next step.
MS. GALINSKY: Can I respond to that?
MS. GOTTLIEB: Yeah.
MS. GALINSKY: I think that again, there is a difference between kind of throwing your kids out and like be independent and do-it-yourself versus fixing everything for them. And to me the middle ground is helping them learn to solve the problems. If you –- some of you know the famous marshmallow test, I do have it on video but we're not going to show it, but it looks at the kids who could wait for the marshmallow –- they could then have two. And what Walter Michel is now doing, because he found that the kids who could wait for the two marshmallows were the more likely to thrive as they were older, he is teaching children strategies to wait for the marshmallows.
And I think that's really important. If you look at the research again and again and again across all these disciplines, the kids who do best have the families who help them figure out how to deal with not turning their paper in on time, not -- I'm going to –- Mommy's going to call or Daddy's going to call and fix it. I think that's important.
Also, I think in stretching your kids you can't stretch them beyond what they can do. You know, your husband's and your conversation about is –- are her hands coordinated well enough, or -- and maybe they were, in this case they were. But it's kind of that zone right beyond what they can do.
And then one final thing, in the way that you're talking about success, it's success as externally defined. You are the CEO, you are the doctor, the medical kind or the real kind, whatever it is, and I think that what –-if I look around both at the research and at the people in my lives, the people who do best have a passion. And so I mean if there were any advice that I'd give to parents about raising children who have all of these life skills, it's to help them find and build on their passion.
MS. GOTTLIEB: But let's be clear too about what that means because I think that parents panic, and we'll talk about –- Larry in a second will speak to that –- but I think that parents think that that passion has to be something that is again an indicator of external success or achievements.
And that passion can be cooking, that passion can be surfing, that passion can be a hobby, that passion can be being a parent, it could be anything. It's about engagement with the world and having meaning in life for you. And people are so worried that their kids don't have passions that they're trying to figure out when they're 2 and 3 and 4, you know, what activities they should –- you know should they go to math camp, should they –- you know what should they be doing. And Larry has some stories about this.
MR. COHEN: Yeah, I got a panic call from a mother who said I'm really worried about my child, I'm really worried about my child. I was like what's the situation. She's like, well, she's 4 and she hasn't found her passion yet.
MR. COHEN: And you know she was signed up for 12 activities, and you know –- and yes, we want children to be inner-directed but this is just more, you know, it's like parents are –- it's that anxiety, and it can latch on to anything. And so it's like yes you need a passion, we can latch on to that in the same way that parents learn that children learn through play. And so then they thought every play moment has to be educational. So you go to the playground and it's like, how many wheels does that truck have; what color is that truck. And the poor child can't play with the truck.
MS. GOTTLIEB: And then they have these playground that –- where they put out –- what are they called, the imaginary –- imagine –- "imaginarium," right. So the kids went to the playgrounds and at first they didn't quite know what to do because it was so unstructured, and you know there were these big foam blocks and these big foam pieces that are just fun for kids, but they're so used to having activities that are very concrete, and that actually holds them back in terms of figuring out what their passions are going to be and figuring out who they are and what they're interested in.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Can I add on to that?
MS. GOTTLIEB: Uh-huh.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: You know if I had any piece of advice it would be to just listen to children's developmental needs, because we know, and again we have decades of research, that kids need to slow down and that's how they find engagement with other human beings and with their own internal motivation and their own interests. And we live in a very fast world. You know all you have to do is look at a movie from the 1970s and you're falling asleep –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: –- and you realize that the pace of everything, it just moves so quickly. And so I think children need to be given a break, you know, they just need to be allowed to just be little kids and to slow down and look at the ground. I saw a wonderful study once where young kids were given cameras, and they photographed the ceilings and the ground because they're small and that was –- those are the things that interest them. We need to let them look at the ants.
MS. GALINSKY: Actually, I did a study –- the first nationally representative study that asked them about, this was about how they felt about their parents and particularly their employed mothers and fathers. And we debate quality time versus quantity time. When I asked the kids how they saw it they wanted focus time, which means, I don't want you always there for me, but when I need you to be there for me I want you to be there for me.
MR. COHEN: Not on the computer --
MS. GALINSKY: Yeah, yeah, just like "earth-to-mom; earth-to-dad, could you come in please." But they also wanted hang-around time. They felt that their lives –- and this was a nationally representative, this is not just upper middle-class kids, this was a group of kids from all over the country, they wanted some hang-around time where maybe they stay in their pajamas on Saturday morning and make biscuits or go for a walk and look at the ants.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, instead of brushing up.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And I would –- and I think we know that that helps to cultivate imagination, you know, which is something there's been research on that there's a decline in empathy and so on and perspective-taking, which Ellen you've written so much about. You know it's hard to do that when you're just always on the go. You need some time to reflect.
MS. GOTTLIEB: When my son was in preschool, he was in the car seat in the back and he said to me at one point –- he interrupted me and said, "Mommy can you just be quiet for a minute because I need time to daydream."
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And that was a big wake-up call for me.
SPEAKER: Yeah, that's amazing.
MR. COHEN: Yeah, I remember as a new dad I was like, we're going to have a lot of eye contact, you know.
MR. COHEN: And then I have a friend who was a child psychologist, who was like, you know, 30 percent of the time when you're alert –- baby's alert and you're with them you want to have that –- you know and I've tried to not like have a clock about 30 percent of the time.
MS. GALINSKY: Ed Tronick, I know who you're talking about.
MR. COHEN: But that –- right –- so you kind of –- but, you know, children they don't want that intense, intense, intense, every second.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, and Amy actually talks about how she did –- there was a lot of hanging out that's not in her book, and one of the things that struck me about how Amy handled the criticism to her book, and Larry mentioned this as well, is that she didn't say, well, this worked for our family because my daughter played at Carnegie Hall, she said this worked for our family because we have a really close family.
And I think that we forget when we talk about the goals of parenting, where does that fit in, where does this hanging around with the family instead of we've got to rush off to this person as a play date and this person has a birthday party and this person has three activities this weekend. But you know, what about just hanging out and how does that help our kids. Who would like to take that up?
MR. COHEN: Well, I just want to say that an idea for defining the success and the goal is something we don't usually think about, which is what kind of a wife or husband do we want our children to be, what kind of a mother and father do we want him to be, what kind of a grandparent do we want him to be. We don't usually imagine that, we're imagining success as career and money and all that.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: In some ways we almost need to go back to the lower levels of the hierarchy of our needs, because –- and I think in previous generations that was a critical question. You know the goal of parenting was to make sure your child married well and stayed married, and we've sort of lost touch with some of those relational goals when I think of parenting.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, so in terms of things that, the skills, the friendship skills, the relational skills, as parents when we talk about the goals of parenting where does that fit in with the sort of trends that are happening in parenting today?
MR. COHEN: Well, I think that the key is relaxed high expectations.
MR. COHEN: And some people forget the high expectations and that's the e-mail there, and some people forget to relax. And we really need both, and that's (off mic).
MS. GOTTLIEB: And Larry, how do we do that, can you explain the exercise that you were talking about with –-
MR. COHEN: Yeah, I think that –- I define happiness and joy as living in line with your deepest values. And you're not going to be happy all the time when you're living in line with your values, you're going to do hard stuff. You do hard stuff as a parent. You're going to say, no, you need to do your home work, or you need to practice, or things that are unpopular, or we're not going to have ice-cream for dinner, you know these –- you're living in line with your values.
But parents don't have time to reflect on what those values are. And so there's an exercise that I love, and I do it with people in my office a lot, which is –-I do it with kids too –- which is write down on cards, eight or ten things that I value, you know, happiness, love, family, it could be anything. And then the exercise is, okay, now go through them and give away one. And they're you know, that was pretty easy. And then, okay now, give away another one. And then not so, and then you keep going and it gets harder and harder and people get kind of really agitated, as if I'm actually asking them to let go of it.
MR. COHEN: But you end up with the one or two that are the transcendent values and then, okay, what does it mean to live in line with that. Because as parents we're putting out fires all of the time, and we're tired all of the time and we don't take that time to reflect.
MS. GALINSKY: You know interestingly enough a lot of corporate training of executives does exactly the same thing because they think that –- they found that business executives who are the most successful are authentic and are clear about their values and more intentional about their values. So it's an interesting business exercise not just parenting.
MS. GOTTLIEB: So I think we're about ready to take questions. But we want to show one final 2-minute video. Ellen, you want to introduce it?
MS. GALINSKY: Well, this is a study that I was just talking about, and in this study –- it was a nationally representative study of third-through-twelfth-graders. And the first time anyone had asked the children and I so believe in your kids' ability to text you and so forth. I mean my kids –- I think the most that I learned from my mother was that I could say anything to her as long as I said it not meanly. I couldn't be rude, I couldn't be nasty, but I could tell her exactly what I thought.
And I thought –- you know, my mother died at almost a 100 –- I thought that that was probably the best gift that my mother ever gave me. And our kids have done –- there's Laura, but she –- they're done the same thing. I mean they're very free to tell me –- I get lessons from her every single day about you should do this and you should do that, but politely.
So this was the first study that had ever asked children and one of the questions that I asked children was if you had one wish –- this is for parents –- who had employed parents –- if you had one wish to change the way your mother's or your father's work affects your life, what would that wish be. And I asked another nationally representative group of parents to guess what their kids would wish and they all thought their kids would wish for more time.
But that wasn't the top wish for children. The top wish for children, which only 2 percent of the parents guessed was that their kids –- that their parents be less tired and stressed. Yeah, so it's kind of like holding up a mirror. And this study included children whose mothers were employed and mothers who weren't. So the final question in this study and then I've replicated it on video, was what messages do you want to give the parents of America. So here are the messages to us from children.
(Begin Video Clip.)
SPEAKER: "My message is to like if you're stressed out and you're tired take a little nap but don't take a long one."
SPEAKER: "Be nice to their kids."
SPEAKER: "Try to find a good babysitter by asking your kid if you like this babysitter."
SPEAKER: "The thing that you can do the most is just be a role model."
SPEAKER: "Try to spend some time with your kids but also do some work."
SPEAKER: "Your hard work is worth it."
SPEAKER: "I would say to work hard and do the best they can, but also be with their children."
SPEAKER: "To hang out with the kiddy even if it's like 5 minutes to talk with them about how their day was or if they had a hard time in school."
SPEAKER: "Spend time with each other because in life when you don't –- like you're going to regret it if you didn't do it."
SPEAKER: "You know, take advantage of the time that you have because you never know what you've got till it's gone."
SPEAKER: "To get an idea of what is your child thinking about you on what you're doing, how does he feel, because a parent and daughter or son, it takes a lot of communication and it's a relationship just like a husband and a wife."
SPEAKER: "Parents should ask the children to find out what the children think about what the parents are doing with their lives because their work and their other habits are affecting the children."
(End video clip)
MS. GOTTLIEB: And so on that note, we're going to open it up for questions and we have a microphone coming around.
SPEAKER: Hi, wondering if there has been any research or data as whether there should we differences in teaching girls versus boys, given their maturity levels or attention spans. Some of us heard this morning that 60 percent of women are attending college versus 40 percent of men. Should there be something done to make that more equal or not. And also I would love to know what was the response of the Harvard professor to that e-mail –-
SPEAKER: –- because that must have been very educational to that student.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Well, I think the boy-girl question, there was a wonderful panel yesterday talking about those issues. I don't know if anybody here wants to –-
SPEAKER: I was there.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Okay.
SPEAKER: Well, you were there too –-
MS. GOTTLIEB: Yeah, we were all there. We'll share the question.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Well, one of the take-homes from that was that actually the differences between girls and boys and how their brains work are actually less than the differences among boys or among girls. And that's sort of the big social science story, as Michael Thompson (phonetic) said yesterday. So there are indeed huge disparities right now, there are problems that boys face that girls don't, in school. But we shouldn't forget that there's a whole range of ways to be a boy or to be a girl.
MR. COHEN: There were some interesting studies on –- it's called "Stereotype Threat," and they gave the tests to African-Americans and they kind of hinted that this is a test that white people do better at and they did much worse on this test than if they had been –- not told that. And they did a test at MIT on the two white students, and they said, you know, it's a group of Asian students who did really, really well on this test. And those white students did worse than they –- another group on the exact same test. And this happens with boys and girls.
So boys get the message and it's subtle but it's pervasive that school is for girls. You know, boys are the ones getting in trouble, boys and –- you know there's some boys at the very top but there's a lot of boys at the –- who are the ones getting in trouble. And so we have to do something about --
MS. GALINSKY: And actually in our studies, the Families and Work Institute, the organization that I had, does ongoing nationally representative studies of the U.S. work force.
And lately, I've been worrying a lot more about men than I have been worrying about women. There are a lot of things to worry about women, don't get me wrong. But men's health has declined; men are now facing more conflict and tension in managing their work and family life than women are for a whole variety of reasons that I could talk about. Men's college graduation rights et cetera have gone down.
So I think with "Mind in the Making," with the work that I did on life skills, what I found is that just as you're saying, we were –- society reflects what we think gender roles should be. And sometimes those are really not helpful, a lot of times they're not helpful.
I think it's important for us to try to not stereotype girls can be this, boys can be that. And I didn't really differentiate in the research about teaching life skills to boys and girls, because I think that it's something that both boys and girls can equally benefit from. And it's a matter of knowing your unique child, not just the gender of your child.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right, with the gender and it's like you said, the context.
MS. GALINSKY: Uh-huh. But what did the professor do?
MS. GOTTLIEB: Do you want to –- I'm sorry, do you want to talk about the response to the e-mail that, it was sent to your –-
MS. CHRISTAKIS: Well, I mean, the professor is sitting right here and he's married to me.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: So I won't put him on the spot, but let's suffice to say he was not amused.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: That said, you know I think our role –- and I'm not a professor, I work with the residential side of the student life, but I think our role is as educators is to redirect students and help them find engagement, help them find meaning, help them learn from these experiences. And not just sort of mock them. I mean I know it's a funny story, but actually it had a good ending because there was a conversation. And we've had all kinds of conversations like that in modeling, you know this is how you talk to someone who' –- you know we live in a hierarchy; here's how you send an e-mail to professors. And those things, I mean it is –- you know it's the parentist stuff. It's easy to laugh at and mock the parents and mock the student and all that, but there's a learning opportunity as well.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right there at back.
MR. SHARP: I'm Dan Sharp with the Eisenhower Foundation. If the subject were what are the goals of grandparenting, how different would your comments have been?
MS. CHRISTAKIS: I –- can I just jump in? I have a cousin who's a family therapist, and she always said that grandparents and grandchildren have a special bond, because they're allied against a common enemy.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: And sometimes I really think my goal as a parent is to become a grandparent.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: So, yeah, I think there's a total double standard. I don't –- you're a grandparent –-
MS. CHUA: I think it's a double standard just from my –- I can't believe –- I mean you cannot believe how much stricter my own parents were than me. I mean it's because my husband is Western, I mean, you know, I was raised in the United States. My parents were really traditional and exactly this. When they come now they just –- it's, you know they just buy my kids ice-cream, all these presents, and you know, why do they have to work all the time, they –- you know so one data point --
MR. COHEN: Exactly, it's the corrective experience, so you can make up for, you know, and I think that's great.
MS. GALINSKY: And part of the –- what I found in writing the book, The Six Stages of Parenthood, is that in part we define our values, our goals of parenting in reaction to what our own parents did but also in what they didn't do. I think, and I'll speak about my own grandson Antonio, he's my step-grandson, he just graduated from high school. And the relationship that I could have with him was very different than my son or daughter-in-law could have, which is –- he knew that my job in life was to help him think through how to live more intentionally. And I would always say, that's my job. My job is –- and so when he –- he was playing video games to the total distraction and horror of his mother. And we talked a lot about that and I said, well, if you're going to love video games I want you to start creating them, you know, let's do something creative about it. But he got then, into martial arts, which helped him learn to focus and took him away from video games.
And so my job was to –- he can be real honest with me in a way that he –- if he's having a fight with his mother he can necessarily be, and that's –- and I don't tell, expect to all of you.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Well, that's the other thing is that –- we didn't touch on here is that as much as we're talking about the goal of parenting, it's so important for kids to have another trusted adult –-
MR. COHEN: Absolutely.
MS. GOTTLIEB: –- that they can go to because they're so much involved in the intensity of the parental relationship.
MR. COHEN: Yeah, especially when they're teenagers. I think of it as somebody who the parents trust that you're going to be responsible in this and somebody the child trusts that you're not going to go running to my mom with everything.
MS. CHRISTAKIS: That was one of the biggest predictors we learned yesterday in the panel on boys, one of the biggest predictors of success for boys in school was having -- what Thompson I think said -- called the "charismatic adult" in their lives not a parent, but another.
MS. GOTTLIEB: We have time for one more? Okay, right over here.
SPEAKER: Thank you for a great panel. My question is in order to reduce the fear of parenting and parentism that you talked about, how can our coacher (phonetic) make steps towards being more parent-friendly. Thank you.
MS. GALINSKY: Well, I think that we individually value being a parent, parenthood, mother pie, motherhood, mother –- you know, apple pie, fatherhood, apple pie, and we've seen parents become more –- in our national studies, we've seen parents become more focused on that being important if you look at work and the other aspects of their life. Increasingly people have become more family-centered, which I think is actually positive. I think that we really need to value caring. We don't value caring other than in our personal lives, but as a society we don't value the jobs that are caring jobs, nursing, teaching, those sorts of jobs as much, and we don't really value being a parent. I think that's a huge societal push that we all need to make, so that we value being a parent a whole lot more.
MR. COHEN: I think a small practical thing we can start with is -- this is a big level use of a small practical thing is when we see a parent struggling like the toddler's having a tantrum and lying in bed that we not give a dirty look, that we actually smile, that we actually say, can I hold your groceries, and –- or boy, looks like you're having a tough day. Because we're so primed and we hate when people give us dirty looks, or worse, you know, and –- but we all do that.
MS. CHUA: One thing I –- it was so fun being on a panel, I mean, like this and the one yesterday, because it's the first one in a long time where the conversation has been elevated for just this reason. But I would say that in the whole uproar, the firestorm that I've been in, I learned a couple of things. One is that I thought that it was a shame that so much of the parenting debate –- again, not like the one we're having now, but just kind of mainstream, is everything is boiled down to something else, they're just false dichotomies. You know so the debate is, wait, do you want your child to be creative or do you want them to work hard? And if you put it like that, okay, I want to go with creative, but do you want your kids –- do you want happiness for your children or success, you know, black or white. Then of course we all think, well, I think we'll pick –- I don't know.
MS. CHUA: You know, but I would take happiness, I would take happiness. So I –- but it's just so much more complex, life, you know. The relationship between these things –- I mean of course we want both creativity and hard work, right, it's a –- so that's one.
And the other thing I was thinking is, you know I –- my previous books were actually, foreign policy ones and my –- the book I wrote before this was about how hyperpowers rise to power and why they fall. And the thesis was that it's actually not military aggression or whatever, but it's actually what I call tolerance, that is the ability to learn from lots of different people's ideas, and it's those societies that can pull in the best from all different cultures.
And one of the reasons America's been very strong when it comes to science or business or food or cooking, we're actually unusually good at drawing in –- we're very tolerant. But then I wrote in this op-ed, not so when it comes to parenting. I think we are –- even the most tolerant of us who love multicultural dancing and food, when it comes –-
MS. CHUA: –- you know, when it comes to yoga, but you know when it comes to like a different culture, different way you see it, it looks different, instant judgment.
MS. GALINSKY: It's threatening though.
MS. CHUA: I guess, yeah.
MS. GALINSKY: I mean if someone else does it differently, what it's really saying is maybe we're not right, I always –- my advice to parents was find a genie or find a Nancy (phonetic), find someone in your life who's not going to say, oh, my kid is better than yours, or you did it wrong, and there were plenty of those in my life even a long time ago, you know, when my kids were little. But you've got to find those people who make you laugh and appreciate how hard it is and that you're learning from your mistakes and trying to do it better.
MS. GOTTLIEB: Right. Well, I want to thank all of the panelists here for this interesting discussion, and thank all of you for coming.
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