There was a recent article in the WSJ by Amy Chua detailing the superiority of Chinese mothers. "[The author was] using the term "Chinese mother" loosely. [As s]ome Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents qualify too." Basically, being a Chinese mother entails never letting one's child "attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, & play any instrument other than the piano or violin."
I think there is a lot to be said for being a strict parent; it certainly isn't easy to discipline a child. However, the world Chua describes seems absolutely unpleasant for all parties involved. I can only speak on the receiving end of child-rearing to say that I don't think I would have made the choices I did if I was solely focused on parentally-defined success. Furthermore, my time at schools like NYU & Cornell have led me to encounter the products of these types of "Chinese mothers." Most of these children, upon coming into contact with things like alcohol and having to engage in social behavior, don't always fare well. Also, I suspect it might also be hard to be satisfied with oneself, despite a high GPA, since there is - naturally - always room for improvement.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.