Tiger Mom 2.0 — “Shunyi Moms”

From Jiaqi Luo in Jing Daily:

“3 to 5 years ago, if a student likes math or English, the parents would probably send him to train for a math competition or an English speech contest. Now, the parents would make him try programming, robotics, and other classes that train logical thinking skills if he likes math. If he likes English, the parents could send him to learn debate, drama, and other verbal-skill related classes,” Mo added. The traditional, medal-oriented method no longer suffices the modern demand of elite Chinese families. What they want is a holistic, well-balanced preparation that would turn their children into polished humans on every level.

In general, Chinese parents deeply believe that achievement can be engineered. Strategic planning, thus, becomes the central part of Chinese elite moms’ parenting. Hard-skill based services ranging from test-prep tutors, college-essay coaches, or college counselors, are taken for granted inside the clan. In an environment where “an ‘A’ is a bad grade,” it is the soft-skill cultivation that Chinese moms want the most.

In Sino Elite Education’s WeChat menu, a series of “background enhancement” programs perfectly align with this parenting cultural climate. The menu proposes a Harvard-instructor-led acting camp, a film making workshop with an acclaimed director, a summer program in Harvard Business School, and other exclusive resources that would make a college application shine.

Jordan Dotson, a Shenzhen-based college coach who has been in the profession since 2005, agrees that elite Chinese families have evolved to be more sophisticated than before. First, these new-age parents have become more discerning about educational products.

Dotson explains, “3 to 5 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon that someone would come back to China with a Harvard extension school degree, open an educational consulting agency, and make millions. Today, parents will drill you with questions like ‘where, how did you get that degree’ to make sure they are paying a real Harvard graduate.”

Second, modern Chinese parents are starting to get concerned about their children’s psyches like Western parents do. “Until 3 years ago, I hadn’t heard any parent telling me about their kid’s learning disability or any ‘strength and weakness’ talk. Today they are,” Dotson explained. A traditional Chinese parent would likely tell the kid to simply “toughen up.”

Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily that these Tiger Moms are genuinely concerned about psyches. Instead, it’s just another angle in the relentless quest for a prestigious college degree.