How Chinese Parents Educate Children? These Sayings Are the Answer.

Asian Chinese children are well known to have excellent academic performance. To be honest, it is not true all the time.

However, many Chinese parents do follow ancient Chinese wisdom to raise their children.

In this post, I will explain some Chinese sayings related with parenting to give you a glimpse about how Chinese parents think about education and how we educate our children.

1, 书山有路勤为径 (shū shān yǒu lù qín wéi jìng), 学海无涯苦作舟 ( xué hǎi wú yá kǔ zuò zhōu ).

It means: There is no short-cut to be successful in the academic field. Study hard is the only way to go.

Chinese people believe, work hard is the key factor to be successful. We appreciate hard work and we motivate our children to work hard.

2, 万般皆下品 (wàn bān jiē xià pǐn ),唯有读书高 ( wéi yǒu dú shū gāo)。

It means: Among kinds of professions, a scholar has the highest status.

For a long time,  in ancient China, taking imperial examination ( 科举考试) (kē jǔ ) is the best way to change someone’s life.

If a person from a humble family background wished to be successful, he had to study hard to pass the imperial exam with a possibility to be promoted to be an official.

No wonder, we Chinese think highly of education. We strongly believe that education will change our lives for better.

One interesting thing is, in western folktales, there were a lot of stories telling about how a pretty girl married a prince and they lived happily every after.

In Chinese folktales, we had a lot of stories telling about how a poor man became a 状元 ( zhuàng yuán ), the number one scorer of an imperial examination, and he married a pretty girl who was usually a high-ranking official’s daughter or even a princess.

3, 子不教 ( zǐ bú jiāo ),父之过 ( fù zhī guò )。

It means: A parent has the responsibility to have his children get educated or educate his children.

There is anther part of this saying: 教不严 ( jiāo bù yán),师之惰 ( shī zhī duò ). It means: A good teacher should teach his students in a restrictive way.

By the way, Chinese culture has the tradition to respect the teacher. Being a teacher is a very respected profession.

There is a Chinese saying: 一日为师 ( yī rì wéi shī ),终身为父 (zhōng shēn wéi fù ). It means: One day’s teacher will be a life long father.

Because of this tradition, Chinese parents appreciate the teacher’s work. We know a teacher plays a key role in our children’s future.

4, 男孩穷养 ( nán hái qióng yǎng ),女孩富养 ( nǚ hái fù yǎng )。

Chinese people believe, when it comes to raise boys and girls, we should educate them in different ways.

For boys, parents should give the boy some hardship and less material satisfaction to make sure the boy will keep his ambition to be successful.

For girls, the parent should provide enough material support and good living condition to make sure the girl develops a good taste.

5, 在家靠父母 ( zài jiā kào fù mǔ ),出外靠朋友 ( chū wài kào péng yǒu )。

It means: At home,  a child can rely on his parents, when he grows up to live outside of his parents’ house, he has to rely on his friends.

In a word, social networking is very important.

As you might know, in Chinese culture, relationship (关系 ) ( guān xì )  plays a role almost everywhere.

If you have a good relationship with people, very possibly, you will have more opportunities to boost your career.

Because of this reason, Chinese parents usually encourage their children to make friends.

Chinese parents believe, the friendship developed at the early age and the social skills a child gains will benefit his future success.

6,  好男儿志在四方 ( hǎo nán ér zhì zài sì fāng ).

It means: A great man should have an ambition and confidence to be successful in any place.

Many Chinese parents encourage their children to explore a big world for more opportunities rather than just staying at a hometown with slim chances to be successful.

7, 男怕入错行 ( nán pà rù cuò háng ),女怕嫁错郎 ( nǚ pà jià cuò láng )。

It means: For a man, choosing a right career path is the most important. For a woman, marring a right man or not will affect her life long happiness.

Because of this reason, Chinese parents always try to provide their ideas with their best knowledge to help their children make the important decision from choosing a job to finding a person to get married.

Above are the most popular parenting sayings in Chinese culture.

There are some other sayings that are wildly followed by many Chinese parents.

For example, 读万卷书 ( dú wàn juàn shū ),行万里路 ( xíng wàn lǐ lù )。It means: Read a lot of books and travel a lot of places.

Some sayings are not appropriate for raising children in a modern society.

For example, 棍棒底下出孝子 ( gùn bàng dǐ xià chū xiào zǐ ). It means: Physical punishments help to raise a filial child.

However, many ancient Chinese parenting sayings are still good guides to help today’s Chinese parents to raise intelligent children.


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