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The Problem of Parenting in the Story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan

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“Two Kinds” is a story about a mother wanting her daughter to be a child prodigy, but the daughter, Jing-Mei, doesn’t want this for herself. Jing-Mei doesn’t feel like she can amount to as much as her mother thinks she can. Her mother constantly barrages her to try out these talents that she sees other kids do, and eventually she decides on piano-playing. This, in a way, contributes to who she is as a person, sort of making her a little more defiant. It might seem as if she get worse as the story goes on, based on the way she treats her mother, but in fact she learns more about what she wants for herself. If it wasn’t for Jing-Mei’s mother pushing her to do her best, she might not be as successful in life.

When it comes to parenting, almost everyone is going to have a different view on how children should be raised. Jing-Mei’s mother raised Jing-Mei how she thought fit, but this did come with some side effects. Jing-Mei started to become rebellious due to her mother’s wishes. She may not have realized it but her mother was influencing her more than she thought. In the beginning of the story her mother has her do these tasks and Jing-Mei does them reluctantly. Although, as time goes on she becomes more and more reluctant until one day when her mother asks her to practice the piano she shouts out “No! I won’t!” and disobeys her mother, something she never did before. This shows that it is hard to get someone to do something if they don’t want to do it. They can get forced time and time again, but eventually they will snap. It is like a bar of soap, if you hold it too soft, it will slip, but if you hold it too hard, it will shoot out of your hands. This is exactly what happened in this story, her mother was keeping her too tightly in her hands, and she retaliated.

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On the other hand, many would say children need to be guided to reach their full potential. If a child is not sometimes forced to do a task, they won’t be able to know how to figure out how to do things for themselves, and they will become lazy and spoiled. The child still needs that room to grow, however, and not for their life to be mapped out for them. Jing-Mei might’ve become lazy if her mother didn’t push her so hard. Even though not much is said of her life after the incident at the piano, it is probable to assume she has a job, and a family; something she had to get for herself, but still needed a little bit of guidance on. It is hard to tell all of these parts of the story, given the story is not very long, but it is still safe to assume a few things about her.

Parenthood can be an awfully hard task to take on, trying to get a child to listen to their parents, and the children sometimes need a little guidance in their beginning parts of life. Jing-Mei might’ve resented her mother for making her try all of these menial tasks, but at least she knows what she doesn’t like to do. Given this, in a way, misguided guidance, Jing-Mei was able to find out what she wants to do with her life. If it wasn’t for her mother, she might’ve not gotten as far.

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