Although there are various parenting styles in the books that you can read up, without us realizing it, we tend to take up our parent’s parenting style, which is just like how we were raised. Growing up in an Asian household, upholding Asian values, we will more likely use the Asian style.

Asian parenting style focuses on a child’s academic achievements and involves providing the child’s with all the necessary skills and qualifications for their future success. On the other hand, Western parenting stresses more on a child’s self-esteem and individuality.

However, when it comes to parenting, people always have something to say. When we try to mirror the Western way of parenting, people would go “Oh no, you shouldn’t let your kid do this and that, you must do so and so!” And we follow the Asian way, we are considered “abusing” our kids, according to the Western culture. Is the Western parenting style better than the Asian?

#1 Idea of success

Asian parents are very strict when it comes to education and academic results. Remember when we scored anything less than an A? It was as though World War 3 was about to happen! Then they would proceed to buy us the whole bookshop of activity books and practice papers and signed us up for extra classes of tuition after school. And the world peace will be only be restored when we gain all As again! Asian parents put a strong emphasis on academics because they believe that it’s essential to their children’s success.

And personally, I experienced the “silent treatment” when I was 13 as I didn’t do well in my final exams (I didn’t fail any subjects though!), I just played a bit too much (I mean, went into secondary school, made new friends, very exciting!), so I told my mom about my results and she didn’t talk to me for at least 3 days! LOL.

Western parents, on the other hand, are more forgiving when their child doesn’t score all the As in the world, will still offer praises, and may sit with their child for a talk while consciously and carefully avoid making their child feels inadequate or labels them negatively for their academic results. While this is a good approach, it could also lead the child into thinking that doing the bare minimum to survive is fine.

To balance it out: It’s okay to set high standards and expectations in your child. But parents should remember that every child is different. It’s important to match those expectations to your child’s capability and remind them to always give their best in everything that they do!

#2 Freedom

Asian parents enforce discipline from the get-go, with a rotan in one hand! Growing up in an Asian household means you are not allowed to have too much fun. Weekends in the mall with friends? “No, cannot, still too young to go out! It’s not safe. Stay home and study ☝🏻” This is where the term tough love comes in. Everything that parents did (or didn’t do) was out of love and aimed to discipline a child. And when a child does the opposite, and something happened, they will go “I told you so! This is what happens when you don’t listen!” (This is not from a personal experience, I promise!).

Western parents are more open-minded, more lenient on their kids even when things go wrong. They give space for their children to have a say and consider their feelings more thoroughly. The most that they do for punishments are to ground their child at home or a time-out. While this has the benefit of making them feel protected, it can also lead to a child becoming more prone to making mistakes since their parents will always pick up the consequences anyway.

To balance it out: Mistakes are bound to happen as we are only human. It’s important to make your child feel heard and seen but at the same time, do stress on the importance of being discipline, make them understand why and where they went wrong, and remind them that they should always learn from their mistakes.

#3 Values

Being a child to Asian parents makes you realise from the beginning that you have to fit into a certain mould when you are out in public. You are to obey and respect the elders don’t matter how nosy and annoying they are 😆, you aren’t supposed to voice out your opinion on anything unless you’re asked to, and if you are a female, you have to be modest and demure. All these are the important practices to foster respect for the elders and authority as well as to bring closeness between families.

In the Western world, parents encourage their child to practice self-expression and individuality. A child is encouraged to speak their mind, and as a result, there is less psychological distance created by the age gap between children and adults. Which in turn could lead to a lack of respect for the elders including their own parents, and a risk that a child may overly emphasise their right of self-expression by being inconsiderate of other’s feelings.

To balance it out: Letting your child to have the freedom to grow into their own person is super important. They can be respectful and polite without having to lose themselves completely by being another person just to fit some overly-traditional minded people’s expectations. Let them shine, respectfully! LOL.

You learn of things when you become a parent. But take this time to unlearn too. What was okay then, may not be okay now. As the time changes, some parenting approach are not relevant anymore. Ignore the naysayers and do you!