These years, under the parenting philosophy of “self-motivation is better than tiger parenting”, we have witnessed many parents who take a tough approach to pushing themselves and their children to excel.
Although there are still many parents who practice the “chicken parenting” approach, more and more parents realize that it is more reliable to put their “enthusiasm” for education back on themselves – it does not damage the parent-child relationship and can also help them to improve themselves.
Among these self-motivated parents, many are pursuing higher education, starting businesses, pursuing certifications for their children, and improving their own qualifications. For middle-aged people with families and homes, it is indeed not easy to balance all these responsibilities and goals, and they deserve admiration. Among them, the most impressive are those “senior” individuals who have traveled abroad to pursue a doctoral degree.
Today, the two protagonists of this article are both “senior” individuals who have traveled abroad to pursue a doctoral degree. They could not bear the competitive environment and wanted their children to have a relaxed and comfortable educational environment, so they decided to pursue a doctorate degree. Or, they are pursuing a doctoral degree in order to enable their future children to “be born in Rome” and stay by obtaining a high level of education.
“When in doubt, keep learning.” On the path of parenting, parents who cannot engage their children in the “chicken parenting” approach and cannot find a better solution are starting to take on the challenge and focus on self-improvement.
01With her husband and three-year-old daughter, she traveled from China to Europe and then to the United States.
I was born in 1988 and worked at an ordinary university for five years after obtaining my master’s degree. During this time, I got married and had a child. When my son was three years old, I was treated unfairly at work due to my education level. After much consideration, I made the decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree.
Upon graduating with my master’s degree, I had plans to study abroad, but had to put them on hold due to my father falling ill. Later, I got married and had a child, and had no intentions of pursuing further studies. However, the workplace injustice I experienced rekindled my desire to study abroad.
After more than a year of language preparation and contacting universities, I successfully obtained a national scholarship from the China Scholarship Council and flew to Europe to pursue a Ph.D. degree at the age of 30.
I spent four years in Europe completing my doctoral program. Because the requirement of the national scholarship I received was that the country provided funding for me to study abroad, but I must return to my home country for two years after graduation. Therefore, after graduation, I fulfilled my contract and found a job in a research institute in a related field, and returned to work in my home country.
However, I knew that these two years were just my “hibernation” period, because during the four years in Europe, my husband, son and I had come to a consensus: we wanted to settle down and live abroad.
I don’t think “the grass is always greener on the other side,” but the environment for raising children is more relaxed abroad. This is my greatest motivation for wanting to continue living overseas.
Before leaving the country at the age of three, he had already spent two years in various early education programs, such as memory training, physical training, observation skills training, and English courses.
For two to three days during the week and all day on weekends, my whole family either commuted to or attended early education classes, leaving us with no time for ourselves. What’s more important is that despite investing time, effort, and money, we still couldn’t find peace of mind, fearing that we might miss something that could jeopardize our child’s future.
I scrolled through the parents’ chat group and listened to the early education teachers’ assessments of our child. Even though I knew that they were selling anxiety to sell courses, as a first-time parent, I was easily “hooked.”
In the years I spent in Europe, I learned that raising a child doesn’t have to be so stressful when you’re not influenced by the surrounding environment. Running on the grass in the park, camping in national parks, setting up play dates with same-aged children, and wandering aimlessly in museums and art galleries can all be great options.
It turns out that we don’t have to prepare in advance, save up for a house in a good school district, and put all our effort into our children’s lives, making everyone unhappy.
After working in China for two and a half years, I contacted a university in the United States to do postdoctoral research and started the green card application process. Two years later, I finished my postdoctoral program and found a research and development position in a related company. If there are no surprises, my life will be stable in a foreign country.
Pursuing a PhD at an older age can be challenging, especially for those with families. Before making the decision, it’s important to consider various factors:
For instance, what will happen to the partner’s job in the home country? Should they quit or find a way to work remotely? If the partner doesn’t come along, and the PhD takes four to six years, how will the couple maintain their marriage long-distance? Sacrificing a stable relationship for the sake of a PhD might not be worth it.
If the partner decides to come along, what is their English proficiency, and can they find a job or continue their education in the new country? These are important considerations to keep in mind.
My family’s situation is that my husband quit his job and became a full-time dad for two years after we arrived in Europe. Then, he pursued a master’s degree and worked for a period of time after graduation before we moved to the United States where I found a position for my PhD. We had a second child, and my husband is currently a full-time dad taking care of our children. While these words may sound easy, behind each sentence lies a lot of pressure and difficulties that need to be overcome.
Also, who comes to see the children after going abroad, even if the children can go to school, the school time is very early. Even if there are some agencies to help take care of after school, then for children, how to quickly adapt to the unfamiliar environment is a big test.
Before going abroad, many people say that children have strong adaptability, but children may not be as you wish. My children did not show a strong ability to adapt, it took quite a long time to like the new environment.
Furthermore, our current child is three years old. By the time I finish my Ph.D., they will be around seven years old. Will they miss out on attending primary school in China? Will they be able to adapt to the education system in China upon returning?
We also have to consider our plans after I finish my Ph.D. Do we want to use this opportunity to immigrate or return to China for employment? If we choose to immigrate, what will happen to our parents? If we return to China, will we still face unfair treatment? Will I be able to overcome any challenges that arise, especially with the added responsibilities of family and children?
Pursuing a Ph.D., regardless of age, is already a challenging task. It becomes even more difficult when you have to balance it with family and children. However, after carefully considering the situation and taking the first step, we found that it wasn’t as terrifying as we had imagined, even though it is still challenging.
My cousin has a daughter, since primary school began a variety of cram classes, interest classes, private teaching has not stopped, weekend running two or three classes a day often happens. One day I had something to see my cousin, all in the gap between her and her children in the interest class, about to meet at a nearby McDonald’s.
Since the fifth grade, my cousin’s daughter has developed a serious anorexia, accompanied by anorexia. Later, I saw a psychiatrist and a psychiatrist, who was diagnosed with moderate depression. At its worst, children tear up textbooks, throw violins, and at one point have illusions.
Cousin can not help, can only let her daughter rest from school and recuperation, delayed for more than a year, the situation only improved. The whole family turned upside down and dared not chicken children any more.
In fact, my cousin is not a typical “tiger mother”, she is just like many parents around her, step by step to let children learn early, learn musical instruments, go to cram school.
Everyone does that, but what happened to my daughter was not only a blow to her, but also a wake-up call for me:If I ever had children, I would most likely be forced to become the parent of a chicken baby in an environment where everyone else is.
After graduating from college, I worked for three years. At the age of 25, I applied for a master’s program in the United States, majoring in economics, which was related to my bachelor’s degree.
At the beginning, I didn’t think about studying for a PhD, because some of my classmates were studying for a PhD abroad. They had a very hard time – being abused by their supervisors, abused by their research directions, abused by their papers, worried about their jobs after graduation. As a spectator, I couldn’t stand watching my heart.
As an economics major, I couldn’t find a company that could issue a work visa after graduation,so I had to do an internship with my graduation internship visa (OPT). That is, within the 12 months I chose to transfer my major to study for a PhD, which is probably the safest way for me to stay.
In order to reduce the difficulty of application, do not give themselves too much pressure, I first applied for a master of statistics program in an ordinary university in this state, OPT into a student visa, read their own second master’s degree, during the master’s degree, I also met the current husband, he also studied master of statistics in our school, because the two of us get along with each other and have a common pursuit (stay in the United States), so I got married during our study.
Considering that the university is not well known, finding a job in the future is a problem, so I started preparing to apply for the doctoral program during my second master’s degree.
A year and a half later, I got a master’s degree in statistics, and applied to a PhD program in statistics at an out-of-state university that was still ranked. At the age of nearly 31, I began my PhD career. My husband went to work in that state.
My husband and I are currently pregnant.
One of the main reasons why I want to stay abroad through my Ph. D. program is not only to have a better career development, but also tohope that my children will have a less academic environment in the future.
After seeing the operation and consequences of my cousin’s baby, I really don’t want my children to live like that in the future.
Other people change their fate through reading, so I think Ichange the fate of children through reading. I’ll take care of my children first.
03Don't Hesitate in the First Half of Your Life, Don't Regret in the Second Half: Pursuing Education at an Older Age
Older PhD, obvious disadvantages:economic pressure, physical health, RV objects, and children and so on are hidden thunder, while waiting for scientific pressure, while against the hidden thunder above, may collapse at any time.
The worst-case scenario is that if you can’t go on for the third or fourth year, you give up, and you like to mention the second and third master’s degrees, and find that the income gap with your peers is widening, and that your workplace and family of the same age are starting from zero.
Therefore,if we care about age, salary and the so-called gap between people around us and ourselves, studying in an advanced age is really a hard task.it will make us very unhappy.
Some people say that it is not necessary to study at an old age, especially when you have not pursued academic pursuits.
But age is not the only factor that makes sense for older doctors.For example, I read a news report about a 25-year-old doctor who graduated from a top university at a young age. After graduation, he went back to his hometown to work as an ordinary civil servant in a health unit of a subordinate county-level city by introducing talents.
Does it mean anything to her to get her PhD at 25? Are years of hard academic training wasted?
In the past, people would think that it was because the person had academic pursuits.
But over the years, as more and more people read blogs, they can also see the reason of “impure” reading: delaying employment difficulties with advanced education to give themselves a buffer period, in order to escape from the roll environment, for their ideal work, in order to have a better environment for their children, directly let the child be born in “Rome”, from the “starting line” to the advantage.
Of course, I have seen people who got off the way, and they were eager to do academic work so they came happily. As a result, I found that the process of doctoral study was too hard, and I was not the academic material, so I took a master’s degree halfway through, got off the switch, and found a job that made little money, but I was satisfied and liked, and lived happily.
In the final analysis,studying at an advanced age is just one of the many choices in one’s life. It is not easy to take, but it may also be one way to live it.
It is just that the road of advanced study will take more energy and time, and it will be more difficult, and it may not be able to pay more to win a satisfactory result. However, like most roads in this world, advanced study is also a road that does not hesitate in the first half of life and does not regret in the second half of life.