Being parents is a full time job – Yes, that’s right, it’s a real 24/7 job, which is to prepare the children for the next level of life. Though, one thing about parenting, there is no real instruction on how to do so, which is normal as not one person is the same. Therefore, it’s fair to say that what works for one person doesn’t work so well for others.
When it comes to parenting, the parents goal would be what would be best for their kids, no doubt about it. Every parent in the world has that goal, and the only difference is the method to pursue that. By this, it means that culture may very well be quite a distinctive influence on parenting.
Parenting in Southeast Asia
In Southeast Asian cultures, family is the first loyalty and primary obligation, thus parents teach their children to do things that enhance the family name. The children learns the basics of family life early on, including what is expected of them and how to behave. According to Dung, T. N. on Understanding Asian families: A Vietnamese perspective, it was said that family loyalty comes first, where the children are strictly disciplined and do not make their own decisions even when they’re older.
According to Richard D. Morrow’s article on Southeast Asian child rearing practices: Implications for child and youth care workers, the traditional family is structured by age and gender. Communication from parents to children tends to be one way and top down where the children are expected to listen without questioning when the parents talk, otherwise it would be considered disrespectful.
There’s a “pride and shame” principle in Southeast Asia, which means that an individual’s actions reflect on the whole family. Proving so, most Southeast Asian parents want their children to receive good education, as they view that once children completed degree programs, they gain respect – Not only for themselves, but for the whole family. Whereas in many traditional families, once the children reaches 14 to 17 they are likely to get married and take on adult responsibilities with the family business or farm.
With all of these, it’s no surprise that transition from childhood to adulthood happens rather quickly in Southeast Asia. Children are indulged when they’re very young – Around the age of 3, parents begin to guide behavior and use discipline and by the time they’re 6 or 7 they are typically assume specific household responsibilities then later on expands as they grow older. By age 12 or 13, the Southeast Asian adolescents are expected to make a significant contribution to the household within gender-specific roles. Once the children reaches 14 to 17, in many traditional families, they are likely to get married and take on adult responsibilities with the family business or farm.
Does the Child Matter?
This might be biased, but Southeast Asian (perhaps in most Asian countries) parents viewed their children as “products”. Where the child is like a project for the parent to showcase if they’ve been a successful parents, instead of really focusing on the welfare of the child – And, no, I’m not just talking about the physical health.
Being a “product” of Southeast Asian parent, I can totally understand the hierarchy and how the Western would say that these parents are putting too much of a burden towards their kids. However, giving THAT much power to the child where the child itself would be the center of gravity for the parents might not be necessary either. So, at the end of the day, each to his own, of course.
Bottom line is, there’s no doubt that every parent must’ve loved their child, regardless of how they show it. Without insinuating which parenting methods is better for the child’s interest, it would be best to actually think of what kind of relationship does the parents and the child have. As long as both parts can agree and be happy with their relationship, as well as be free to be their own individuals in it, that would be perfect.