The difference between an Asian parent and a Western one

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Here are some ways how an Asian parent's parenting style differs from a Western one...

Different types of parenting…

They are many types of parenting, whether we like it or not, we tend to inherit our parent’s parenting style; the way we were raised. Living in Asia and being raised in a predominantly Asian household with Asian values, we tend to use the “Asian” approach with a modern twist.

Harith Iskandar’s take on Asian vs Western parenting is definitely apt, scroll down for the video!

Like ‘The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua’, we can all relate to having parents like Chua or being a Tiger Parent like Chua. One of the reasons why Asian children are under so much of pressure is because Asians are the largest race of people on Earth and being the largest race, competition is stiff, we are constantly scrutinized and compared to every other Asian in the world.

Here are some ways where parenting styles differ from an Asian parent to a Western Parent.


how to discipline baby

Photo: Fotolia

Growing up, we were taught to obey the cane/belt/broom which was heavily used at home and in schools to enforce discipline. The cane was used whenever we messed up, or if we dared to even think about it. Punishment was inevitable, we got yelled at and caned whenever we did anything wrong. Punishment always hurt.

Unlike in the Western world, punishments were mostly “Time Outs” where children were separated or deprived of play to spend some time alone “reflecting what they did wrong.” They believe that children shouldn’t feel pain because pain is detrimental to a child’s emotional development, and in some Western countries, hitting a child is against the law.


emotions mommies feel when their firstborn starts school

Photo: Dreamstime

Asian parents are really strict when it comes to education. To them, an education equals a bright future for their child and from a young age, competition is inevitable between siblings, cousins, friends, family friends, and Asian parents tend to compare their child to every single other child out there.

Hence, from a young age, children are being sent to math, tuition, language, and music classes. All done to increase their employability rate once they become an adult.

Western parents, on the other hand, may appear to be more lenient when it comes to their child’s education. To them, pressure from school is detrimental to their child’s development. They believe in a more holistic education where children are given situations to explore and develop their individuality. Hence, new trends like “World Schooling” according to The Guardian and this family of 8.

Western parents tend to emphasize on self-development rather than academic success and even though, there’s no research to support either one of these learning styles.

Life at home…

photos: Jana Agoncillo, Bettina Carlos, and Camille Prats instagram accounts

In a typical Asian household, children are expected to do their chores and help around the house. Other kids are expected to help with the laundry and are taught to clean and care for themselves, regardless of gender.

In fact, research shows that chores encourage children to be more responsible and it helps keep them grounded. The research further elaborated that chores help children to be more organised, empathetic, considerate of others. Additionally, it curbs boredom and disobedience.

For Western children, on the other hand, the biggest chore they do is put their things away and/or wash the dishes. This is because chores are seen as laborious for children and making them do chores equates to child abuse or child labor.

The Maryland Population Research Center states: a 6 to 12-year-old child spends an average 24 minutes a day doing chores. This is only after their parents plead, beg, threaten, and it’s usually done under duress. A phenomenon that anthropologists have dubbed a “chore strike” and it tends to happen in the Western world.

How can I encourage my child to do chores?

Here’s a chore sheet to encourage chores in your home and according to the age of your child.

When it comes to parenting, we all want to raise children who are functioning, human beings. Who are able to care for themselves and be considerate of others. There is not a single parenting style that is successful or proven to be efficient because parenting is complicated. What works for other children, might not work for your child.

In conclusion, parenting is a two-way learning process. We learn from our children every day and in return, we teach our children right from wrong. According to Kristina Kuzmic, “loving them does not mean making sure they’re always happy and giving them every single little thing they want. It means raising them to be healthy, decent human beings.”

Video from Edwin Gembul

This article was originally published on theAsianparent Singapore.

READ: The millennial’s parenting style, exposed

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