The Case of Asian Parenting

Before I begin my narration of a rather unfortunate encounter with an Asian parent and my critical review of the Asian parenting system, I’d like to say that my thoughts and feelings don’t pertain to the whole of the Asian community. Please keep an open mind when reading, and for the Asian readers, don’t feel offended in any way – the post is from my perspective.

Asian parents have quite the bad reputation these days. Known as “Tiger Moms” and “Wolf Dads” these parents are infamous for pushing their kids to the top no matter what it takes. However, is this actually good for the child? Does the child actually benefit? Or do they just become reliant on their parents and end up being unable to continue college because they can’t take care of themselves? Though parents should support their children, they shouldn’t do things for the child – some things are meant to be experienced by the child alone.

I like to refer to these experiences as life lessons. There’s a big difference between personally learning these lessons and doing what the parent says. The constant bantering from parents about “lessons they should learn” and “how to do this and how to do that” becomes an irritating whine to kids (teens especially) instead of something useful. Though some teens will pay attention and learn, most don’t. The end result? An irate parent and a seriously pissed teenager – nobody is happy. I understand that parents don’t want their kids to experience the “harsh realities” of life and instead prefer to guide them away from those potholes, however parents can’t guide their children forever. At some point, these “kids” will have to leave off with the crutches and walk on their own.

Also,  the children (perhaps I shouldn’t  use the term children – these cases are more prolific in teens) are not self motivated; they’re motivated by their parents which means that when they leave their parents, there will be nobody forcing them to work. The massive amount of relief from the “parental stress” causes teens to just let loose and become unable to find motivation to work; after all, they don’t want to force themselves through the same hell that their parents forced them to go through.

Finally, the long awaited story time. My sister came home today from an academic competition event sullen and downcast and when I asked her what happened, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the issue lay within the “prize.” Now, as my sister put it, she wasn’t into the act of winning the prize (according to her description, it was a gigantic trophy), it was what happened when she obtained the prize. The event was organized so that everybody was in pairs, however, there was only one trophy for each pair – I’m sure you can guess where this is heading. When my sister was about to take the trophy with her, it was snatched from her hands by her partner’s Asian mother. And I quote….

This trophy belongs to my daughter. She worked hard for it and this is her last year doing it.”

Is that supposed to mean my sister didn’t work hard for it? I can understand the mother’s wish of seeing her daughter succeed, however to go to such lengths, is it really necessary? The “tiger” in her succeeded in earning her daughter a trophy, but it also succeeded in creating an awkward atmosphere between two friendly partners.  Was being so rude really worth it?

Before Asian parents begin enacting their inner tiger/wolf, perhaps they should evaluate the effects of their actions – is it truly good for their child? Also, what will others think of their actions? i understand Asian parents have high standards for their children, but maybe, just maybe, they should tone down their actions at times.