Reading up on posts today I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal:

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Ethnicity or nationality aside, the real key to success in children is the demand for excellence from their parents, and how much practice they have at the things they need to be good at. My favorite quote from this article was this:

All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.

Now we’re talking.

Practice at the very least should be treated as homework. You do it every day, just like your other homework assignments. To be good at anything, you need to do it more. If you want to win first place in the competitions, you need to have practiced more than your competitors, and doing your practice intelligently. Your competitors are practicing this much – three or four hours per day minimum. No, really.

Another good quote from the article worth pointing out:

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it’s math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

Don’t be afraid to make your kids practice, and don’t give up when they resist. This is the key to their long-term success and happiness, and while it might not seem like it at first, the results will come if you are determined and persistent.