Two Kinds by Amy Tan
In the article, “Two Kinds,” by Amy Tan, it showed how a mother came from Vietnam and settled in the US with her daughter and husband. In her narration, Amy Tan remembered how her mother had high expectations for her and her life. Her mother was very positive about her daughter’s future in America and had high hopes and expectations about her and her ability to achieve greatness. She badly wanted her daughter to be a child prodigy, much like the ones that she saw on the television on a daily basis. Her mother did not seriously believe that she was unable to meet her expectations or surpass them. She strongly believed that Amy was not trying hard enough and therefore would not become the person that she wanted her to be.
Amy, on the other hand began to feel resentful of her mother’s efforts and believed that her mother was not willing to accept her for who she was. In a bid to stop her mother from pushing her, where her abilities were concerned, she botched a song that she was supposed to play at a piano recital. Even though that was her intention, she was unhappy with the outcome. She did not like the fact that it made her mother sad, silent and unwilling to comment on the situation. Amy later realized that as a result of her not trying hard enough, she did not achieve what she should have in school and dropped out at a young age. This could possibly be because of her mother’s pushing and prodding her to strive for excellence, so that she could have an opportunity to show-off to her friends.
The situation is more common that people think. In every parent child relationship, there is some expectation of greatness, or some unhealthy pushing for the child to become more than they can. Some parents claim that they know that their child has the potential to be better than they are, or to do better than they are doing in school, in life, or in their choices. Parents are blinded to the possibility that their children are not able to accomplish more than they currently do. There are a few who do exceed their parents expectations, but the majority of students and children, just barely get by in school. The pressure that parents place on their children to succeed academically, physically or socially is unfair and can cause undue stress on the child.
The rebellion that Amy showed is no different from the actions that are carried out by other children in her position. They act out in different ways and end up doing things that are supposed to spite the parents, but are actually causing their own downfall. Parents should learn that what they want is not necessarily what the child wants to do in life. They are not supposed to try to live vicariously through their children. Even if the child is young and goes along with their parents’ expectations, it is a possibility that they will begin to rebel at some point, when they are older. Especially in situations where they are being forced to succumb to peer pressure outside the home.
Researchers have agreed with several viewpoints on the involvement of parents in their children’s choices and have noted that parents have excessively growing anxiety about the outcome of their children’s lives. They noted that the more educated parents were more anxious about the competitive culture that currently exists and make it a point of their duty to invest in their children’s futures. Parents secure additional tutoring and extra-curricular activities for their children to enhance their abilities to succeed. Because if they are unable to succeed academically, then they may be able to succeed at a sport. Parents in the 50s had hopes of their children being successful, normal children, today’s parents however, see their children as an extension of themselves and want them to be what they should have been (Wang).
Children should be allowed to live their lives and encouraged to make their own choices. Many times, children who live up to their parent’s expectations end up being unhappy with their choices in life and try to change it when they get older, or the parent/s have passed away. Amy returned to the lesson that she had messed up at the recital, but only after her mother had died. She then realized that the piece that she was supposed to do was not so hard, and that it had another one that followed it. Because of her rebellious nature then, she was unable to realize that, when her mother was forcing her to learn music. Children should be allowed to make their own mistakes and not have to correct the mistakes that their parents caused them to make in life.
Some take it a step further and refuse to disburse monies for school if the child refuses to take the path that they have prepared for them. Children who live contemporary lives are entrenched in situations that pressure their parents, so they are in turn, pressured into being good children, students, neighbors, etc. These living conditions are expressly cited as a condition by their parents, the society that they live in or their schools. These conditions can be a contributory factor in the difficulty that these children face on a daily basis. In addition, they also have to deal with divorce, illness, or other life-changing conditions. These situations, coupled with the pressure that is placed on children, can result in psychological issues and even more stress for the children (O'Donnell).
Children who exist in stressful conditions can face psychological problems during their upbringing. Children will worry for no apparent reason, adding the pressure of performing in the way that their parents’ wish is unfair and uncalled for. Issues such as low self esteem, lower sense of self and little or no self confidence can result. They can further suffer from anxiety, in not wanting to disappoint their parents, lose their focus and concentration and end up failing miserably, thus exacerbating the situation.
Many children are also no cognizant of the efforts that their parents put out, just to give them the life that they did not have when they were children. They just think of it as their parents trying to force them to do things that they were not able to do, or do not wish to do and as a result, become difficult or un-cooperative with their parents.
In the case of Amy Tan, she would not have listened to her mother, even if she was telling her the correct thing. She was determined to show her mother that she was no child prodigy and was willing to do what it took to prove it to her. Even though her mother could not afford it, she traded housekeeping chores so that Amy could have the opportunity that she did not. It was evident that she wanted better for her child in the land of opportunity, but it was hard to get Amy to bend to her wishes. If Amy had known that and had looked at it from her mother’s perspective, she would have been a better person than she was at age thirty.
Parents the world over should come to realize that children are not mindless creatures and are quite capable of making their own choices. They have the ability to stick to their choices, no matter how young, or exposed they are. Parents should trust their judgment and guide them gently, but firmly in the areas that they are unsure of. Some parents try not to become authoritative, demanding, or pushy, but harbor high hopes of discovering a gift or a talent that has been hidden. Parents in America are said to be more flexible with their expectations of their children than in other cultures (O'Donnell).
O'Donnell, Christine. Impact Of Parental Expectations On Education And Employment Outcomes. 1st ed. Virginia: Virginia Policy Review, 2015. Web. 3 July 2015.
Wang, Xiaoyu. The Influences Of Parental Expectations On Children's Academic Achievements: A Comparative Analysis Of The United States And China. 1st ed. Chicago: Ecommons, 2013. Web. 3 July 2015.