Forget Tiger Moms. Now China's 'Chicken Blood' Parents Are Pushing Kids To Succeed

Forget Tiger Moms. Now China’s ‘Chicken Blood’ Parents Are Pushing Kids To Succeed

BEIJING — They schedule their children’s days in 15-minute increments. They scour online forums and swap tips on the most exclusive tutors and best sports coaches. Some even buy second homes next to the best public schools.

Forget Tiger moms. These are China’s jiwa or “chicken” parents, who are known for their attentive — some say obsessive — parenting style. The term is used to describe aggressive helicopter parenting, and comes from an unproven Chinese medicine treatment dating back to the 1950s, in which someone is injected with fresh chicken blood to stimulate energy.

Jiwa parenting culture, a relatively new phenomenon, is now in the crosshairs of Chinese authorities. At a time when the government wants to see families having more children and raising more future workers, it fears that hyper-competitive parenting pressures — combined with the meteoric growth of China’s private education sector, now worth billions — are deepening inequality and discouraging couples from having larger families, a priority of the country’s new three-child policy.

As more parents complain about the burnout brought on by jiwa culture, there’s concern that the financial and emotional toll is making many reluctant to have a second, much less a third, child.

The government is limiting private after-school classes

A desire to stay ahead and the belief in the power of education mean many Chinese families spend, on average, between one fourth and nearly half of their incomes on supplemental education activities, helping fuel the success of private education companies worth billions, such as New York Stock Exchange-listed TALand language tutoring startup VIPKid.

In July, the Communist Party and the State Council implemented sweeping rules to curtail the number of private after-school classes in which parents can enroll their kids. All education companies must register as nonprofits, and no new licenses will be issued to tutoring agencies catering to elementary and middle school students.

But the new rules have only made some jiwa parents more determined to maximize their kids’ chances of success.

“Because of these policies, parents are even more convinced of the potential [risk] for social immobility,” says Rainy Li, a Beijing jiwa parent of two daughters, one 11 years old and the other a toddler. “They are more eager than ever to propel their kids into elite circles, and more willing than ever to cut back on their own spendings in order to invest in their children.”

Some jiwa parents are more laid-back than others

Li’s days begin at 6 a.m., when she prepares to send her older daughter to school. At 3 p.m., she picks her up. Then there’s dance practice, an online math class and a swim session. They sometimes eat in the car in between activities. At 11 p.m., Li can relax and see her husband.

Five Ways to Celebrate Your Students’ Cultures

Five Ways to Celebrate Your Students’ Cultures

Effective teachers cultivate positive relationships with students every day, no matter if the classroom is physical or virtual. They foster emotional connections among students, and help them to feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

This is not a small task. In fact, it is possibly one of the most difficult but important things an educator can do. According to the latest research in developmental science, relationships between and among children and adults are “a primary process through which biological and contextual factors influence and mutually reinforce each other.”

This means that when children experience positive relationships, they are not only creating the pathways for lifelong learning, adaptation, and integration of social, emotional, and cognitive skills, but also making qualitative changes to their genetic makeup. In other words, children’s brains change in response to their life experiences, relationships, and the environments they encounter from birth into adulthood.

Positive relationships also foster resilience, and reduce the impact that negative factors—such as adverse childhood experiences (ACE)—may have on children’s healthy development. Researchers from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University suggest that these positive experiences, along with support from adults and the development of adaptive skills, can counterbalance the lifelong consequences of adversity.

Unfortunately, differences in social and cultural backgrounds can make it harder for students to trust teachers. For instance, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students and their families may have a hard time trusting their white teachers, given America’s history and current reality of institutionalized racism. At the same time, white teachers may not be inclined to trust their BIPOC students due to their own bias and learned beliefs. This trust gap may hinder their ability to establish meaningful relationships, and can affect students’ academic success.

While an increasing number of schools are adopting social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices to create positive learning environments, many fail to incorporate cultural competence as an essential building block to foster these trusting relationships. However, educators still need to gain awareness of their own cultural identity, consider their biases, and how they use their power and privilege with students. Cultural competence also means that educators develop their ability to learn about and build on the varying cultural and community assets of students and their families.

In my new book, Teaching with the HEART in Mind: A Complete Educator’s Guide to Social Emotional Learning, I discuss why educators need to build their cultural competence in order to nurture positive relationships—and how they can ensure that students feel respected, seen, and affirmed. At the root of developing a culturally responsive classroom lies the belief that students’ diverse cultural practices and ethnic backgrounds are assets in the learning process, that should be celebrated and incorporated into academic content and pedagogy. “Culture is central to student learning,” writes education consultant Zaretta Hammond. “Cultural practices shape students’ thinking processes, which serve as tools for learning in and outside of school.” Therefore, students’ languages, cultures, and life experiences should be acknowledged as meaningful sources for learning and understanding.

1. Develop an awareness of your own racial and cultural identity

This entails identifying the historical roots of your identity, as well as beliefs, values, the way culture has influenced your life, and the things that motivate and matter to you. It also involves considering implicit biases, and the privileges and disadvantages afforded to you based on your race or ethnicity. This process is especially important for white educators, since research suggests people of color will commonly begin developing their racial identity before white people. According to author and University of Georgia professor Dr. Anneliese Singh, developing a positive racial identity entails cultivating nonjudgmental curiosity—questioning old ideas and remaining open to new ones.

Lost Somewhere In The Middle: A Story of Childhood Immigration

During my advocacy elective as a pediatric intern, I spent time with attorney Alice Rosenthal Esq., the senior staff attorney with the Center for Children’s Advocacy and the coordinator of the Medical-Legal Partnership Program at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. One afternoon, we spent several hours with a father and son who had immigrated from a Caribbean Island just a few years prior. The son had a very complex psychosocial and medical history. Sadly, his childhood was filled with tragedies. In his country of origin, the son’s mother had subjected him to physical and emotional abuse.

A few years after moving to the U.S. with his father and siblings, the son was diagnosed with leukemia. Fortunately, he is currently doing well but is often noncompliant with taking his medications and misses various medical appointments. He has also been diagnosed with a complex psychiatric illness but has stopped his psychiatric medications because he insists that he “feels better” and fails to attend those appointments as well.

Aside from his complex medical diagnoses, the patient had recently become involved in group violence. His father tearfully shared that he feared for his son’s life and that of his other children. Community members had been shot and killed. Overwhelmed by fear, hopelessness, and loss of control, the father was on the verge of asking his son to move out of their home.

All of this was just the surface of what were many years of hardship for this young man and family.

This is an extremely complex case with many layers to dissect. This family’s story brings to light the reality of many immigrant youth in the U.S. and further validates my own experience growing up as a daughter of Egyptian immigrant parents. Since my childhood, I was extremely involved with my Coptic Orthodox Christian church community, most of which were Egyptian immigrant families struggling to find their footing in the “land of endless opportunity,” hoping to fulfill the “American Dream”. Others were immigrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Syria. I very quickly learned that most families from my church community faced endless adversities, and that youth, in particular, faced unique and challenging difficulties.

One’s youth is a time of establishing self-identity, values, and opinions. It is a time of self-discovery and building meaningful relationships. It is also a time of pursuing a sense of belonging while combating insecurities. In my church community, I witnessed various youth disconnected from their homelands and isolated in their new countries, deeply seeking any sense of acceptance. Many are left feeling alone and lost while wrestling with depression, anxiety, and various other mental health disorders.

As pediatricians working with various immigrant populations, it is vital to recognize the struggles that immigrant youth face. Medical legal partnerships are uniquely positioned to help immigrant families combat the challenges related to safe and stable housing, education, and access to medical care. This partnership recognizes how social stressors must be addressed in order for families to live healthier and happier lives.

Cross Cultural Kids

Cross Cultural Kids

At the 2017 Families in Global Transition Conference (FIGT) in The Hague, Netherlands, Ruth van Reken elaborated on the term Cross Cultural Kid . Children are often in more than one of these circles at the same time. (e.g. A traditional TCK who is also from a minority group; a child of immigrants whose parents are from two different cultures, etc.) This helps us understand the growing complexity of the issues we face in our changing world . The term Cross Cultural Kid is the umbrella name for many variations of CCKs including:

Domestic Cross Cultural Kid

A child “whose parents have moved in and among various subcultures within that child’s home country.” (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009) This may be from the rural subculture to the city, from the subculture in one city to the subculture on the other side of that city, from a Capital city’s subculture to the subculture of another Capital city or from one State to another. Domestic TCKs are moving across cultures, they just happen to be within one country’s border.

Educational Cross Cultural Kid

A child who moves between educational cultures such as from the eastern educational culture to the western educational culture or vice versa. In this category I also include students moving from living at home and attending the local school to living in the school boarding house and experiencing a new educational culture.

Bi/Multi-cultural or Bi/Multi-racial Children

Children born to parents from at least two cultures or races.

Children of Borderlanders

Children living on or near the border between two countries, perhaps living in one country and going to school in another country.

Children of Immigrants

Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally citizens.

Children of Minorities

Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group which is not part of the majority race or ethnicity of the country in which they live.

Children of Refugees

Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to unchosen circumstances such […]

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Please Don’t Call My Child a Third Culture Kid

Please Don’t Call My Child a Third Culture Kid

I grew up outside my parents’ culture. They migrated to the U.S. from India in the early 1970s and I was born in New York City at the end that of that decade. However, they, and I, were plain ol’ “immigrants,” first- and second-generation respectively. While, of course, migrants who plan on repatriating are usually called “expats,” and those who consider their move permanent are usually called “immigrants,” it is undeniable that these various words within the language of migration carry various connotations of race, place and class .

TCK “connotes a privilege that I don’t associate with,” says Sherisa de Groot, a writer and editor from Brooklyn and a first-generation Jamaican-American whose son, born in Amsterdam, is part white-Dutch, Indonesian, and Black. “I prefer the term ‘immigrant’ over ‘expat,’ so there’s no situation in which I would use the term ‘TCK.’ Besides, what is a child’s ‘first culture?’”

“TCK” was coined in the 1950s by sociologist Ruth Hill Useem after she and her husband, John, moved their family from the U.S. to India. There, she began studying American military, diplomatic, missionary and corporate families living overseas with their children, and determined that these families’ children had unique experiences: the first culture of their parents, the second culture of their host country, and the third culture of the expatriate community in that host country. Useem’s original frame of reference was post-war American families who had traveled overseas for work.

Useem died in 2003, but as professor emeritus of sociology and education at Michigan State University, she studied the effects of how such a childhood has an impact on the adult, such as their high level of achievement, their careers, their commitment to volunteerism, and their “international dimension.”

Today, in media and in popular culture, it seems to me, the “Third Culture Kid” continues to be lauded— Barack Obama, who spent some of his childhood in Jakarta, Indonesia, is sometimes hailed as the U.S.’s most successful TCK—while immigrant children are often portrayed as potential terrorists or burdens on the system. That’s why the term makes me so uneasy.

Although the exact number of children being raised outside their parents’ countries is unavailable, an estimated 232 million people currently live outside their country of origin, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights . And given an increasingly global economy, that number can only grow.

So is it time for me to redefine a term, especially as fewer and fewer traditional expats and their children—the sort of folks that Useem might have recognized as TCKs—migrate to Asia , or to reject it altogether?

Maitri Erwin, a geoscientist and writer who was born to Indian parents in Kuwait and now lives in Houston, believes […]

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The Three Cultures of a Third Culture Kid

The Three Cultures of a Third Culture Kid

Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a term describing people who spend a significant part of childhood living outside their passport countries. I’m Australian and spent two years of high school living in the USA. I didn’t know anything about TCKs until years later, however, when I began working with TCKs in Beijing, China. Thirteen years later, I am still working with and advocating for TCKs—work that I am passionate about. I am also passionate about equipping and encouraging parents of TCKs, and other expatriates, by sharing what I have learned over the years. These passions led to writing a book, for which I interviewed 270 TCKs and conducted a survey of 750 TCKs, and now I travel to speak to international communities around the world. I will be contributing several articles to China Source about the TCK experience, starting with this series of three posts covering foundational key concepts.

The acronym TCK is fairly well known in expat circles. What is less well known, however, is what these three cultures are. Most people assume it’s 1 + 2 = 3. That is, my first country (home) plus my second country (where I live) equals a mixed up third culture. While there’s a little something to that, the reality is quite different.

The three cultures are not a count—not a number of countries that influence a person. If this were so, most TCKs I know would be well past three or even four. Rather, the three cultures are three types of cultural influence. This is crucial for understanding how an international childhood shapes a person, even into adulthood. The First Culture: Legal

A legal culture is any country that grants me legal recognition. That is, the government accepts me as one of theirs—with a passport, or permanent residency (a green card, rather than a long term visa). Thirty-five percent of TCKs I surveyed had more than one legal culture.*

But having a passport isn’t the same as having experiential connections. The experience of growing up in places where I do not have legal recognition has an emotional impact. The country I legally belong to doesn’t completely feel like home, but I am not accepted by the country that does feel like home. Singapore has always been very foreign to me, but when people asked where I was from, I replied: “Singapore.” It was a reflex. In high school, when people asked where I was from, I still said Singapore, but I knew it simply meant the country printed on my passport. — Stephanie, Singapore passport; grew up primarily in China.* The Second Culture: Geographic

This is any culture that influences me because I live in it. For some TCKs, there is no overlap […]

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