Prof. Shapiro Chinese Parenting vs. Western Parenting Everyone who has come to America came for specific reasons: to make a living, to raise a family and, moreover, watch their children do the same. I grew up surrounded by family that only spoke about getting the best education, so that when we grow up we would be someone who carries on the family name, be someone who is renowned, that pronounced that whatever we were to thrive for throughout our lives, to make the best out of it. Just like Asian parents, my parents had certain expectations from my siblings and I as well.
As I interviewed my father, I learnt the way he has helped raise us, is quite similar to my grandmothers. Even though they had the qualities of Western parents by being strict yet not destructing our self-image, their philosophy of raising children was similar to Chinese parenting, they stressed for us to achieve academic success. Combination of both has shown me how important persistent parents are. Education was really vital to my parents upon growing up, they were always concerned about our homework, studying, meeting teachers at school and especially extra curricular activities.
They had several restrictions, yet they were vigilant; they didn’t bind us from having the liberty of our own, but it helped them steer us in the right pathway. I remember well, as soon as we would arrive home from school we were ordered to do our homework, and study for what was required, and if we fortunately had free time before going to sleep we were allowed to watch our favorite shows before going to bed. If we had a test the following day, we knew that we would have to watch television on the weekend instead. Even if we didn’t do as good as they would want us to on our test; they would still praise us for our effort.
The praise was an element of Western parenting, gave essence to our relationship with them, I believe if my parents didn’t assimilate with us as well as they did, or embrace our flaws in a subject, our parents wouldn’t be as close and understanding to us. It gave me a sense of understanding that my parents understand me as well, and want for us to do as well as we can. “The concept of “self-esteem” was non-existence to them. When I asked my father what his parents expected of him he said, “well, they wanted us to do well in school but most importantly they wanted us to be disciplined. He said “we were made sure to greet our elders with respect, and if mistakenly we didn’t, we were put in out places right in front of them However, even though he follows his parents methods in raising us, he makes we understand it. “Once when I was young, maybe more than once, when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me “garbage” in our native Hokkien dialect” stated by Amy Chua in her essay, my father thinks otherwise, He would sit and talk to us about respecting the elders, just so he knows he’s not damaging our self-esteem with shallow harsh words.
Some of the activities we were restricted of included not going to sleepovers, it was part of the few things we weren’t allowed to do. However, they made it up to us by allowing us to attend birthday parties, as we started to get older. I never really understood as to why my parents would not allow us to do so, but I believe it was for our own benefit. Living in the United States with diverse religions, it was crucial to my parents to do whatever they could to preserve it. Whatever they have done, they take it as their most prized accomplishment. Since we were young, we were put in an Islamic school, from elementary till high school.
We understood from a young age that religion was a significant part of our lives. When I began attending Islamic school in second grade, I had no idea why I wore the headscarf as the uniform along with long black dress-type clothing. As I got older and matured I understood my religion with greater insight, and along with that I understood why our parents put my sister and I in an Islamic school. As I got to high school, it was as if my parents left the understanding of Islam upon us, that’s where I recognized the western qualities of their values, they now understand that the insight we have is going to last with us forever.
Now that we’ve grown up friends of my parents ask them how they have raised such children, as it is hard to achieve that here in America, which is always answered with “a little control goes a long way. ” Comparing the two styles of parenting, we’ve seen the struggles they’ve been through to get us where we are today, and it is only fair that we do the same in return even though it may never be enough, we know that they would appreciate it just as much.