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Hear any of these two proverbs and it brings you to the topic of parenting (Well, it does to me). When one spares the rods, it means not punishing the child because one way of punishing is by smacking one’s butt or hand with a rod. Spoiling the child is of course letting the child run freely and not controlling him or her. So if you don’t discipline your child by punishment, he/she would never learn and is considered a spoilt brat.

A similar proverb would be you’ve got to be cruel to be kind which means strict discipline is sometimes necessary for long term benefit. In order to teach what’s right to a child is to make it very clear about what not to do. Strict rules should be implemented and appropriate punishment has to done so the child will remember never to do it. Hence being cruel (punishment and discipline) to be kind (teach what’s right).

This would sort of be related to how Asian parenting differs from Western parenting. It is widely known now that majority of Asian parents are stricter when it comes to their child discipline whereas majority of Western parents are much more lenient. Thus many people tend to think that Asian parents are being too much, as in too strict and controlling which gives them a bad name. However I think that this is just people negatively stereotyping Asian parents. I grew up with Asian parents and they aren’t too controlling. Of course, there’e the occasional questions before going out and helping out with the house chores. Plus, I know many parents who are very lenient and free about their children.

I would like to clear the air on why Asian parents may be too ‘possessive’ (as the public seem to think so) or too ‘abusive’ (another public stereotype). First of all, not all parents here are abusive. Those cases you read in the news? They do not represent the majority of us. People think they are abusive because they make their children do all the house chores and burn the midnight oil till they achieve A+ grades in all their examinations. But really, they are just trying to get their children to do their best. They want to implement the element of success in their future into their mindset. Secondly, parents here are a little more strict on their child’s freedom because they love them and do not want them to get hurt since their children are still young and naïve to the world.

So I just hope this negative stereotype towards Asian parents is lifted and corrected. Different cultures have different ways of doing things, including parenting.

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