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If you had Asian parents, did your upbringing help you get ahead in life? - Page 2

post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
they always pushed us to do our best. which means if we tried our best and got a C, then they were proud of us. As it happens, we did not get C's, went to Ivy League/ graduate schools, and did well academically.[/I]
Another key point. I don't think my parents ever said to me, "Just try your best"
The end result was the goal for them, not the effort. It was really important for them that I excelled in math, even though my forte was in language so they pushed my teachers to place me in the advanced math courses at school even though I wasn't ready for them. By the time I got to calculus in my senior year of high school, I was thoroughly lost. My father just kept making this awful face everytime I came home with a C or D on my report card in math, but they didn't ever go in to talk to my teachers or ask me about the subjects I did like.
post #22 of 33
add eastern europeans to the list too. i read thru the postings and i can relate on so many levels. without a college education, you can only get a trade job. yada, yada, yada. i grew up fearing my parents, feeling never good enough, never a hug or an i love you. this resulsted in low self esteem, chronic depression. it took years of therapy to be kind to myself. and realize that my parents did what they thought was best out of love not malice.

i'm so different with dd and my parents realize now that giving love and praise doesn't spoil a child, it nurishes their soul.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyshoppinghabit View Post
Another key point. I don't think my parents ever said to me, "Just try your best"
The end result was the goal for them, not the effort. It was really important for them that I excelled in math, even though my forte was in language so they pushed my teachers to place me in the advanced math courses at school even though I wasn't ready for them. By the time I got to calculus in my senior year of high school, I was thoroughly lost. My father just kept making this awful face everytime I came home with a C or D on my report card in math, but they didn't ever go in to talk to my teachers or ask me about the subjects I did like.
My parents were the same way. "Just try your best" was never an acceptable option. It was basically, "You must BE the best." I did not excel in math or science either, but my parents also pushed me in that direction. They used to make the dumbest comments about how they couldn't understand why we (my sibs and I) were so, "bad" (we weren't bad, we just weren't math geniuses) at math and science, whey THEY (my parents) were so, "good" at math and science. They got pretty ticked off when we informed them that math and science skills are not genetically built in, duh!

I know the feeling about them not talking to the teacher. If I ever had an issue with a teacher, my parents would always yell at me and tell me that I must have done something wrong and it was my fault. In my algebra II class in high school, I had the highest grade (C) in the entire class, most everyone else was getting D's and F's. I spoke to the teacher and he told me I should be happy that I had the highest grade in class?!? And made some dumb comment about how I better get used to it, b/c this is the way it would be in college (FTR, I aced my math courses in college, b/c my teachers weren't dumbasses). When I complained to my parents that the teacher was unfair (he did not test anything he taught in class, but totally random stuff that didn't make any sense, it may as well have been a test for a different class, he was tenured and didn't give a crap, since they couldn't fire him), they told me it was all my fault and I must not be studying hard enough, that's why I was doing so poorly. I was able to transfer to another algebra II class with a different teacher. I got the last spot in her class and was able to get a B+, even though I went into the class with the scores from my former algebra II class and it was more than midway through the semester. My parents basically did not want to advocate for me at all and I had to stick my neck out to do it, b/c my guidance counselor got mad at me for making a stink (tranferring out of the original teacher's class), and said that it would make HER look bad for letting me transfer to the same class with a different teacher. The funniest thing about this is that I was your stereotypical, quiet, nerdy Asian kid, who NEVER said anything, so this was a big step for me to make this request. I was desperate. Turns out after my classmates in my original class found out that I was able to transfer, everyone else wanted to transfer too, but there were no more spots. Oh and I guess that math teacher was infamous for doing this and tons of his students got stuck with D's and F's that they did not deserve, all b/c he was on some sort of power trip. Oh and that lovely guidance counselor wrote me bad recommendations for college, b/c she was still pissed at me for transferring classes and causing, 'bad blood' btwn her and that stupid math teacher. I think back to it now and it makes me mad that I had to fight the system on my own w/o the back up of my parents. My parents are under the disillusioned Asian belief that teachers are ALWAYS right and should ALWAYS be respected. Not so, from my experience...
post #24 of 33
My husband is Vietnamese and grew up over there. He had a very traditional Asian upbringing (authoritarian, pushed to study all the time, pushed to become a doctor/lawyer, etc). Well, it worked in a way, because he's smart, successful, and a lawyer (a job which, thank goodness, he actually likes).

But in another way, it really backfired. My husband's relationship with his parents is strained at best, damaged at worst. The methods his parents used to parent (authoritarianism, shame and fear-mongering, and some physical punishment) have given him lots of problems to work through -- problems dealing with negative emotions, pessimism, cynicism, problems trusting people, etc -- which he has dealt with, and I'm proud of him. But it set him back in his personal life and exacted a toll on his relationship with his family (including with me, at times), which even if he was the richest, smartest man alive wouldn't be worth it.

We decided we will raise our kids more like my parents did -- authoritatively. I still accomplished all the stuff he did (academically and professionally), and I have a great relationship with my parents and really want my kids to have that bond with me, as well. The important thing his parents DIDN'T do was making him feel loved and special no matter what he did, while still having high expectations. I really hope I don't make that mistake. I'm afraid sometimes I will, so it's really good to have a discussion like this to remember that love and praise are like food and water to a little child. Then when I'm stressing about report cards I can remember what really matters.
post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
My mother used to always say to me, "If someone was criticizing me, it would just make me work harder to prove them wrong." Or something to that effect, especially when my parents had gotten finished yelling at me about what a f***-up I was and I started to get defensive or even started crying.
Used to make me so angry. But now I'm wondering, are there people like that, that have parents or even teachers/other authority figures who have basically torn them down to build them up, and it worked? I think one would have to have a really instrinsic sense of self-worth to get up and keep on chugging along time after time of someone beating you down (mentally that is).
post #26 of 33
DH is an ABC,and his parents were really tough. He did get ahead, got an Ivy League PhD in mathematics at 23, but he got burned out on research... deep down my in-laws are still unhappy that he is not teaching at a research university.

DH is very lax with our own kids...

My best college students are Asian--they work super hard, have a good attitude and are a pleasure to work with. I teach math at the college level. I think a big part of this is the excellent work ethic these students have in general.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyshoppinghabit View Post
My mother used to always say to me, "If someone was criticizing me, it would just make me work harder to prove them wrong." Or something to that effect, especially when my parents had gotten finished yelling at me about what a f***-up I was and I started to get defensive or even started crying.
Used to make me so angry. But now I'm wondering, are there people like that, that have parents or even teachers/other authority figures who have basically torn them down to build them up, and it worked? I think one would have to have a really instrinsic sense of self-worth to get up and keep on chugging along time after time of someone beating you down (mentally that is).
I think that it can, "work" to motivate a child to perform to a parents' expectations. The problem is, that I think the parents sacrifice their relationship with their child. Most ppl I know who went through this and survived, resent their parents now that they are adults. Another PP mentioned this before too. I guess the parents see this as, "tough love," but to me, it's borderline child abuse.

It's hard to walk away from this kind of upbringing w/o emotional/mental baggage. Even though my own father was brought up this way, I can tell that it negatively affected him and really screwed him up. The biggest difference is that he continued the cycle with his own children, thinking that this was the, "right" way to parent. While I have decided I will not continue this sort of toxic parenting style with my kids. My kids getting a perfect SAT score and going to an ivy league college is not my life goal, as it was for my parents. So, maybe they are justified in their own minds to feel angry that none of their 3 children achieved this goal (although, give me a break, how unrealistic of a goal is this???). I want my kids to be, "successful" in life. However, my definition of success means that they will be able to flourish in a career that they enjoy while making a decent living at doing it, be well rounded, kind and I want them to be happy most of all. Things like 4.0+ GPAs, being spelling bee champion, perfect SAT scores, being a piano prodigy and admission to an ivy league institution are not my idea of, "success." In fact, what is so bizarre is that my parents do know ppl who met all of the above and they were surprised when these ppl did not go on to make gobs of $. Since to my parents, a big part of, "success" means material wealth. Somehow or another, they just feel that this is some sort of mathematical equation that if you do these things, you are guaranteed success. They do not make the association that nerds, while very, "smart" academically, often struggle IRL due to lack of social skills and that no matter how well educated they are, top scores do not automatically mean that you get the top position and top pay. To this day, my parents still have not figured this out. My own father, a pediatrician, is not, "successful." He has social problems, and he complains ALL.OF.THE.TIME how unfair it is that other pediatricians he knows who went to, "worse" medical schools than he did, have a much busier medical practice than he does. The nurses all hate him, the other doctors hate him too, the pharmacists can't stand him, b/c they read his handwriting and if they call him to clarify a script, he screams at them. He is unable to make the association that just b/c he is a doctor, that it doesn't mean he gets an automatic ticket on the success train. His personality, arrogance and lack of social ability have crippled his success, but even after 40 yrs he cannot see this. He blames it on everyone else instead, b/c he doesn't want to believe that social skills are more important than a piece of paper that says he is a MD.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
They do not make the association that nerds, while very, "smart" academically, often struggle IRL due to lack of social skills and that no matter how well educated they are, top scores do not automatically mean that you get the top position and top pay. To this day, my parents still have not figured this out. My own father, a pediatrician, is not, "successful." He has social problems, and he complains ALL.OF.THE.TIME how unfair it is that other pediatricians he knows who went to, "worse" medical schools than he did, have a much busier medical practice than he does. The nurses all hate him, the other doctors hate him too, the pharmacists can't stand him, b/c they read his handwriting and if they call him to clarify a script, he screams at them. He is unable to make the association that just b/c he is a doctor, that it doesn't mean he gets an automatic ticket on the success train. His personality, arrogance and lack of social ability have crippled his success, but even after 40 yrs he cannot see this. He blames it on everyone else instead, b/c he doesn't want to believe that social skills are more important than a piece of paper that says he is a MD.

Quoted because I really agree with you. I think parents in general who concentrate on academics are missing the big picture.

I'm not Asian but I had the parents who really expected great things of us and tried to manipulate the directions we took. What's interesting, though, is like your parents they were both socially retarded. My Dad has 3 degrees, two of them in sciences, so he's clearly smart, but he never got as far as he wanted to and imo that's because his social skills were very lacking. Like yours, he blames it on some conspiracy and put even more pressure on us to do well and follow the path laid out for us which he imagines = success, but it's pretty clear to me that there's no conspiracy, he's just kinda an unlikeable jerk.

While I encourage DD's learning, I'm just as interested in her learning to get along with others. It's funny how that becomes much more important in the real world, eh?
post #29 of 33
Among all of my Asian friends (mainly Indian, Korean, and Chinese), that was the norm. Even though I went to a very difficult private school, they were still expected to get all As, etc. Career-options were limited... .doctor, lawyer, engineer.. but preference given to physician. Most of my friends from that background are raising their kids the same way... even though many hated it as kids. :

I was good friends with one of our corporate heads in India, and even his secretary had an MBA from a top-program. So I think it's tough for us to understand just how competitive things can be.

On a side note... it may not just be Asian kids... as DH is Egyptian, and it's very much the same. School is serious business. Everything is contingent on a few exams... basically your entire life... including what you'll do, who you'll marry, etc.
post #30 of 33
skimming through these posts i realized a few things about our situation. Dh does stress the academics for ds, but does not follow through, Dh is first generation indian and is really in love with all the new technologies of our day, blue ray, big screens and the like and he doesn't spend the time to drill in grill ds as he talks, that he says he's gonna teach ds this and that and I always call him on it and say, when? Because he thinks he is just gonna jump in when ds is what 7, 10, 15? and start drilling him out of no where? At any rate, I think my dh probably won't follow through with this, and we are considering homeschooling, but dh wants ds in 'school' for the teen years, and I too would prefer private schools, over public. I don't push my ds acadmically, he is 3.5, but I do teach him with a bit of structure, and have been known to encourage things he is interested in that pertain to science, the truth is, my dh wants ds to be some wall street man...His dream job, and and I want ds to go for scientific researcher..My dream job, but deep down, I know he will choose what he wants, but I know the roots that we set are going to guide him later in life...
post #31 of 33
Thread Starter 
This has been a great discussion for me b/c I learned something...it's not the high expectations themselves that groom successful children. There's expectation plus fear, and expectation plus love (or at least a more relaxed approach) which makes a world of difference. Seems so obvious but wasn't clear to me until now.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveMyBabyBird View Post
, my dh wants ds to be some wall street man...His dream job, and and I want ds to go for scientific researcher..My dream job, but deep down, I know he will choose what he wants, but I know the roots that we set are going to guide him later in life...
good luck with that
post #33 of 33
Reading these posts brought me back to my formative childhood and teenage years. I wouldn't say the Asian upbringing helped me to get ahead, although the work ethic they instilled in me was not a bad thing. Ditto for valuing education and discipline.

Dysfunctional families... the gift that keeps on giving. Luckily, my Dad was easy-going. He had a PhD in math, but never had the presence or physical stamina to become a math professor. So he became an accountant, and an EXCELLENT help at all my math homework throughout high school

My late mom was the witch for doling out the classic Chinese withdrawal of praise business. I gave up trying to please her in the end, because it was never-ending, the criticism. That and other stuff that I am *desperately* trying to un-learn as we raise our kids to be of good moral character, not just blindly chasing $$$ or grades or what-have-you.
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