9 Mistakes With How Asian Parents Raise Children

9 Problems With How Asian Parents Raise Children

I used to think my Chinese American parents were perfect growing up.

They had come to the United States as immigrants with only a couple hundred dollars and worked their way up to a middle-class income. Plus, Asian students as a whole had great reputation for being doing well in school and getting into prestigious universities. In my eyes, they were successful. So how could they be wrong with any of their advice?

After contrasting how Asian immigrants parented with the hundreds of the world’s most successful people, I realized that they are doing fundamental things wrong.

Disclaimer: These are generalizations, which I must do — so of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Stereotypes exist because most of the people profiled fulfill them. I’ve had a first row seat to observing this first hand with many of my Asian peers.

They pressure their child into a profession that they’re not passionate about (doctor/lawyer/engineer)

The cliche from Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian Americans you hear is that in this culture, if you’re not a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you’re a failure to your parents. 

These cultures do a fantastic job of creating children who work in these professions. I know a eerily large percentage of Asian peers who are in or finishing up med school, law school, or vet school. Or they’re an engineer.

The issue is how high this percentage is. I know deep down that there’s no way that so many of them are actually passionate about these careers.

I thought I was passionate about being a doctor but it was a lie that I had convinced myself to belief.

Part of me is proud that they’re all going to live well in a comfortable profession. But a larger part of me feels disappointed that many will fail to reach their potential in life because of the rigidity of these jobs. How many potential billionaire entrepreneurs, athletes, and world leaders were stifled away from that path?

They expect too much out of their children

Many successful people had parents that helped them believe that they could achieve anything.

While we can definitely do more than we think, it’s another thing entirely to burn out and traumatize your child by demanding and expecting too much constantly.

Only a fraction of children are genetically talented enough to succeed in the academic playing field Asian parents want. Even if these child prodigies succeed, they end up with psychological issues in adulthood because of their lack of a childhood (like Mozart or Michael Jackson).

Some Asian American children have developed a dislike for science, math, technology, and studying because it was forced upon them so harshly and was imprinted as a “chore.” They were never let be on their own to discover how these activities could be fun.

While other kids went on vacation, I got heaps of textbooks to go through in the Summer to get ahead every year. I did what I could, but it was usually unenjoyable.

Look at me now. I’m blossoming through books on history, science, and peak performance that I choose to read on my own accord. That’s only because I was given years of my own time later in life to do what I want and I stumbled across people who showed how they could be fun and useful.

The biggest problem with expecting too much from your kids is that it creates a hole that can never be filled. Children naturally want to make their parents proud, but many Asian American parents make it impossible. This can manifest into superficial validation-seeking behavior into adulthood. They can constantly seek more money, status, or success but never feel happy or fulfilled. They can have fragile self-esteem because their gratification is based entirely on the external.

They under-praise and under-reward

The billionaires, John Paul DeJoria (source: video interviews on YouTube) and Sam Walton (source: his book, Made in America), have encouraged a habit of praising their employees for their triumphs in public and criticizing behind closed doors . Like flowers, when you water them, they bloom. If you cut them down, they wilt. Unfortunately, many Asian parents completely neglect the praise side of things and focus on discipline or criticism.

I’ve seen how a manager or parent can destroy motivation by withholding any praise or reward for someone who does something better than the others. Why would they go the extra mile if they’re not going to get any benefit? Rewards are a key part of the psychology of forming good habits.

I’ve lost motivation for getting Straight As a couple times when my parents stopped providing any reward or reaction for good grades. It’s common for Asian parents to freak out if you get anything other than an A or B on your grades but have no reaction if you get Straight As. Without a smile or celebratory look, it can make a child wonder, “That’s all there is to it?”

The thought of how a good university will affect the rest of their lives and the short-term yearning for approval helpsAsian students from losing all motivation. But there’s definitely room for improvement.

They over-criticize and over-punish

This is likely one of their biggest mistakes.

I’ve read books by world-famous successful people, like Michael Strahan (actor), Gary Vaynerchuk, Sara Blakely (billionaire), and Richard Branson. When they talk about how their parents approached life, it was always positive and optimistic.

Sara was celebrated every night at dinner when she mentioned all the ways she failed that day.

Richard’s mother instilled in him the idea that anything was possible if he put his mind to it.

Michael’s parents taught him that it wasn’t “If” but “When.”

Contrast this with the Asian Tiger parenting style where you are given little to no praise for achievement and sometimes severe punishment (physical or emotional) if you fail to deliver what’s expected.

If you check out the science of parenting or the most effective way to train animals, much more positive reinforcement is used than negative. Rather than hurting your pet if it does something wrong, you ignore it. But you feed it snacks when it does something good.

Think of it this way. When you study the world’s most successful athletes, like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, they didn’t get their because they were motivated by negative punishment from their parents. Instead, they were motivated by their own passion, competitive nature, work ethic, and drive to be a champion.

They don’t emphasize the value of rest and recovery( or give their children time for that)

For many immigrants in America, a strong work ethic is natural. Those who make it to the country have to hustle hard and that naturally gets passed to their child, which is awesome.

As I grew up, I found that Asian students are some of the hardest working ever. There’s a reason they do so well. It’s not because they’re just genetically smarter. It’s because they outwork you 2 or 3 times when they get home. Parents make sure that they study like crazy when they get home.

At my peak in high school, I was waking up at 6AM, going to school until 2PM, running Track until 4PM, doing home work until dinner, practicing piano for 1 to 2 hours, and studying for the SAT and tests until 1 or 2 AM.

Weekends weren’t a break either. I had piano lessons, state piano competitions, extra time to study SAT’s, and so on.

To be fair, a good portion of this was through my own work ethic and volition. But still, it’s common for Asian millennial children to take the most advanced courses, while juggling Chinese school and musical instrument private tutoring.

Not exclusive to Asians, no one taught me the value of sleep when I was young. One of my white female classmates joked once that old people were making up for all the sleep that they missed as high school students. After studying the scientific literature on sleep, the hours invested are generally worth it even when controlling for the extra time you get by sacrificing sleep. Make sure you get at least 8 hours a night.

When I would get fed up with all the work out, I’d burn out with a binge on video games. A sustainable work schedule would’ve been better in the long run. I needed more consistent free time to relax and more healthy activities that I enjoyed. Ask yourself if you have these right now — if not, red flag.

They overvalue the academic education system and see it as the key to wealth

This is a huge one. For Asian immigrant parents, getting a child into an Ivy league school is the equivalent of winning the Oscars, Grammy’s, Nobel Peace Prize, and Academy Awards.

Getting into Harvard University is like winning the World Series, Super Bowl, World Cup, or Olympics.

You probably already know this as there have been plenty of jokes and memes about this on the Internet.

Obviously, they care about this so much because theoretically, getting into such a competitive, top school means that their child is set for life financially due to the school’s reputation.

But is this still true? And will wealth really bring happiness?

Not necessarily. Auther of the best-selling book The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, mentioned how he worked at a start-up for a couple years out of Princeton barely making any money. He met a guy there who went to Harvard and had worked there for many more years than him, still barely scraping by.

Or take the book, ReWork, written by the co-founder of the multi-million dollar company Basecamp. One of the chapters mentions how you shouldn’t over-value an Ivy league diploma. More of the Fortune 500 CEO’s came from state universities.

Eventual Millionaire is a podcast that has interviewed hundreds of millionaires. There are a plenty of stories on there about how the millionaires know someone who went to a fancy Ivy League school and yet he makes much more.

50 or 100 years ago, a college degree meant something huge. Not many people made it to college. The networking connections and education were rare and valuable. Now, almost all of that information is readily available. Unless your goal is to have a highly specialized job, like doctor or lawyer, or you want the networking connections of a top 5 business school, it isn’t necessary. It’s more for the life experience.

They care more about what others think of them

Warren Buffett has a concept he calls the “inner versus outer score card.” Having an inner score card means that you care more about what you achieve yourself whether or not others are there to praise you for it. Having an outer score card means that your entire self-worth is dependent on what others think of you regardless if that’s true.

How do you know which one you are? He has a test:

Ask yourself, “Would you rather be the world’s best lover and have everyone think you’re the worst lover or be the world’s worst lover and have everyone think you’re the best?”

Having an inner score card is more enduring, sustainable, and healthy because life is uncontrollable. It will deal you tough, unfair blows. It’s unpredictable and constantly changing. Money, relationships, and success may come and go at the worst time. And if you’re dependent on the superficial, you’re going to collapse like pillars of sand.

Unfortunately, many Asian parents care too much about what their friends think of their child. They have an outer score card.

They’d rather bend the truth and exaggerate how great their child is, how easy it was for their child to get into an Ivy league, and all their achievements. Some will do whatever it takes to get their child to succeed so they can show off to their friends at the cost of building resentment in the child or burn out from stress.

They want to show off how accomplished their child is. And it’s ironic since most of them are low to middle-income themselves.

They have fixed mindsets

Dr. Carol Dweck wrote a fantastic book on her years of research on fixed versus growth mindset children. It was so good that even Bill Gates recommended and reviewed the book on social media.

The main idea is that children and adults with a growth mindset are the ones who succeed in life. But the beauty is that anyone can change their mindset from fixed to growth once they learn how.

Sadly, most Asian parents and their children have rigid perspectives of what is success, an indication of a fixed mindset.

Specifically, there’s an unconscious belief that’s infused into the culture that your child must be genetically gifted in mathematics and verbal reasoning (what schools test on), then you force them to work and study harder. And if that doesn’t work, they’re screwed and you should be disappointed in him or her because he or she is a failure.

Unfortunately, that’s not how real success works.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and Dan Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence profile perfectly a few scientific studies that follow children into adulthood. Surprisingly, there is little to no correlation between IQ and success. In fact, some of the highest IQ individuals end up in low-class jobs, like as a janitor.

By adopting a growth mindset for you and your child, you can improve your success and wealth by realizing that there is always something in your control that you can learn to improve. This could be improving your work ethic, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, grit, focus, willpower, and so on.

They’re too risk-averse

This is true for immigrants and native parents who still live in Asia.

The culture focuses severely on making sure their child gets a job that is stable, pays well, and long-lasting with  little chance of it going a way. Also, there is an emphasis to make sure the child’s adult life has minimal risk too. This means everything from making sure his or her spouse checks all the metrics they care about (good job, listens to directions, etc.) to making sure they don’t try anything crazy on the side (no entrepreneurial ventures or gambling).

On the surface this seems like a good thing, but it’s actually damaging to the child’s success and potential. The world is rarely a problem-free place and there are many factors out of your control that can destroy a seemingly “stable” job.

Moreover, when you’re encouraged to chase a limited set of low-risk high-income jobs, you’re limiting yourself from achieving greater levels of wealth and enjoyment (e.g. as an A-list actor, billionaire CEO, or world-famous rapper).

Asian parents run away from these entertainment-based jobs and love to cite the stats of how few of these people make it big and how unreliable that career pathway is. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what shouldn’t be accepted is when they prevent their child from pursuing this passion or skill set on the side.

But for some odd reason, that’s exactly what they do.

I’ve even heard a few stories of Asian American children who grew up to become rich with a job that wasn’t under the expected realm of doctor, lawyer, or engineer. Despite this, their parents still weren’t happy and still encouraged them to become doctors.

This is a common theme for Indians, Asians, and even Middle Eastern parents. It’s ridiculous and illogical how much they cling to these jobs as if they’re holy grails even when their child has achieved the money and status these jobs give in some other way.

At the end of the day, they’re pretty superficial and money and status is truly what they’re after, right? So why do they still cling to these job titles?

My theory is that it’s the third metric they care about: risk-averseness. They worship these jobs because they believe (even if that belief is flawed) that these jobs are the best for maintaining your income and not losing it for the longest time.

But as I mentioned, there is no longer real job security — just your hustle to become irreplaceable and increasingly more valuable.

Why can’t a man pursue his dreams of becoming a comedian on the side while he maintains his full-time job as a doctor? Ken Jeong refused to conform to the comments of his coworkers and others when they told him it was too risky to do stand-up comedy on the side even though he was already a full-time doctor.

He ignored them and years later, he transitioned his success as a comedian into a role as a profitable full-time actor. Now, he has his own TV show called Dr. Ken.

I’ve found that most of successful people are not so petrified of risk. They embrace failure and learn from their mistakes.

“Fail Early. Fail Often. Fail Forward. -Will Smith”

Now, you may naturally swing to the other extreme and ask, “Are you saying I should go crazy and do the most risky things I can?”

Not at all. There is a spectrum of different levels of risk-taking and blindly taking all high-level risks is one of the most stupidest things you can do.

What I am saying is that you want to consider changing your Asian parent thinking from, “All risk is bad.” to “Some risks are worth the potential reward.”

Charlie Munger explained this well in the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Charlie explained how ridiculous it would be if we chose not to invent airplanes or start the airline business because we feared that someone may die.

Statistically, you have a much higher chance of death driving a car than riding an airplane. That’s how low airplane death percentages are.

As Charlie perfectly summed up, “The risk is worth the return.” 

Not all risks are worth pursuing. What successful people often look for are disproportionate opportunities where the risk is low but the reward is huge if it succeeds. (Tony Robbins’s book Money: Master the Game has a few great case studies of wealthy people who explain how they do this in their lives.)

The billionaire, Richard Branson, may seem like a crazy risk-taker on the surface based on his personality and news-worthy adventures. However, I’ve read some of his books and watched countless interviews and I discovered that in reality, he takes calculated risks with little downside and massive upside.

For example, when he tested out if the airline business was worth getting into, he struck a deal with Boeing to be able to return all his planes for free if his business failed, thereby eliminating a majority of the investment cost.  

Stay positive and make the most of your situation

Self-pity and negativity won’t help you make the most of your situation. When I look to inspirational, successful individuals like Nelson Mandela, Will Smith, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’re never negative or moping about their situation. They held Nelson in jail on false charges for decades, for goodness sake.

Yet many Asian American kids hold a toxic, pessimistic mindset about their situation and how bad it is. That’s why I wrote a counterpart article on the benefits of Asian parents. Frankly, I’m proud to be Asian.

Let’s start making the best of our situation rather than complaining constantly.


Robert Greene wrote in his book Mastery that we tend to glorify or demonize our parents as naive children growing up. But as we grow to adulthood, we realize that they had good parts and bad parts.

Asian first-generation immigrant parents aren’t some godly super-race. Nor are they horrible, abusive demons.

Instead, they’re low to middle-class immigrants trying to do their best with the limited knowledge they have to achieve the most happiness and pleasure for themselves and their children.

But good intentions don’t always result in great results.

Asian parents are great at instilling strong work ethic, encouraging a high performance in school, and making sure their child achieves a middle-class first world income with a stable job — something other cultures struggle with.

What they get wrong is severely influencing their child to pursue money over passion, using way too much negative reinforcement to parent, and limiting their child’s potential by encouraging only a limited set of lower-risk career paths.

Obviously, not all Asian parents are alike and some of them have redeeming qualities that are the opposite of what I’ve listed here. These are just generalizations to keep in mind to prepare for your own success.

What are your thoughts on Asian parents? Let me know in the comments. (But let’s stay positive)
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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.


  1. Hi Will,

    Thank you for your insightful article. The latter part especially hit the nail on the head, or rather put into words what many of us were feeling, but didn’t know how to express. Given your familiarity with the many nuances of being raised as a child of Asian Parents, you demonstrated that the matter is not black and white. Hence, why many of us feel conflicting emotions for the same reasons-our parents have sacrificed (and the cultural/economical/psychological notion of sacrifice was also elaborated on in a different post by a different user), immigrated to this country, facing discrimination for our future, our sakes. But at the same time, there’s just so much pain, especially with their parenting practices. Although I know it is because they are limited in terms of resources, knowledge, finances, coupled with having to adjust to a country, in addition to having to look at matters with an anthropologically scientific perspective (there is no ‘right or wrong’ in cultures/parenting-unless of course, abuse or life threatening)-in other words, there’s so many nuances as to why, but nothing to say as to the how.

    Personally, I have struggled most with the shunning/isolation practice, the sibling dynamic, along with so many other techniques, my mental health and self-esteem being the most impacted. And as you have mentioned, about how good intentions do not always bring good results, I also heavily struggle with financial literacy, critical thinking, because their version of independence is really co-dependence.

    Regardless, despite going through the same struggle, you seem like you have come to accept your identity as an Asian, specifically how you are proud for having Asian parents (not everything is demonized-there are good and bad parts). How did you let go of all that pain? I know parents use these techniques and practices based on their own limited experience, based upon so many other things, but I just………I know you have said that it doesn’t necessarily justify, but it…….it still hurts too much, at times that I can’t…..bring myself to..forgive? And it could be that there’s nothing to forgive in the first place, because it can’t be simply boiled down to ….faults, but, it still hurts. If anything, no contact is a realistic option for many, because at that point, they’ve sustained too much hurt and pain rather than face the same treatment again; even if it’s to to build a bridge, because the massive mental, physical Herculean strength, and most importantly patience is just no longer worth the pain associated in reconnecting and compromising, even as the first step.

    I still can’t let go of my pain, my conflicting emotions. That is the biggest demon of all. At the same, going low or no contact is debilitating, but given the amount of pain I have sustained I don’t know if I even have a choice any more. But at the same time, it could also be because I am very scared to go out alone, to completely rely upon myself and become independent, because of all the conditioning, the knowledge of things (finances, bills) that was deliberately kept hidden-how can I survive if I don’t know how to literally do anything? I honestly think I have grown too used to my fixed mindset, to my bubble, but at the same time, I am enduring too much pain to stay in said bubble as well. I’m so confused and frustrated and scared.

    I’m sorry, my mind is going through so many thoughts right now. Your article brings to question so many other aspects of the parenting, cultural struggle, etc. There’s a lot of scientific research that can substantiate many of your points as well. Would you happen to have any advice how to let go of this pain, and also how to get used to the idea/become brave enough to navigate the world by myself and grow (like small steps to becoming independent and acclimate, before getting the means to financially become independent and move out). How did it feel like, getting out from your parents’ shadow/how did you get yourself mentally prepared for that in the first place? Things like that. Thanks for your patience, and sorry for the long comment.

  2. I’ve grown up with parents that are from south india. Well, they allow me to chose jobs that i like to do instead of them telling me to become an engineer (in the future since i’m almost 13). But one moment that caused me the most trauma is when i was nine, my dad beat me up, which caused emotional scars on my life and physical scars on my body (it’s healed by now but i still regret it)

  3. I’m pretty sure my father is a psychopath. He’s had a rough life, blaming his misery on his mother and takes it out on me. He can’t even tell when I’m upset. I know it’s a cheap to blame my issues on my parents but to be honest, I hate myself more than anyone and I blame them. Not an ounce of empathy. I remember one time I just got back from my 2nd deployment and I was wearing an ordinary ring on my finger and my uncle starts to publicly ostracize me and kept calling me a child. I had a ptsd episode on the car ride from the airport and then I had to deal with all their BS. My dad lives in my house, eats my food, destroys my belongings, belittles me in front of my loving wife, nags me over subjects he knows nothing about, makes the house the ways he likes it, etc. I’m almost 40 years old and not a day goes by where I don’t think about putting the barrel in my mouth.

  4. this is so fucking rude mate and you come from a place of no understanding in what it is like to have an asian parent. yes, they don’t always get everything right but they can be some of the most loving people in the world and white people like you who have never experienced this kind of upbringing have to fucking right to comment on it or criticize it whilst positioning yourself as somewhat ‘luckier’ or ‘better’ than them. shame on you

    1. I think he’s asian himself and personally growing up with Asian parents myself, I think this blog post is spot on.

  5. This comment should be removed. I don’t know why you felt the need to be racist. You definitely could have phrased your thoughts better if you had actually tried to be civil and thoughtful.

  6. I know an Asian family who sent their son to art college, while their daughter chose to pursue some solid technical skills. Now they are retired and have no income, their son is almost 40 and unemployed, and their daughter supports the entire family. Even after she marries and moves out she will have to support them, which means her future husband will have to take on that role.

  7. That “overpunishing” bit is ABSOLUTELY spot-on, ESPECIALLY with Asian dads, ESPECIALLY Chinese ones. Fuck ’em, always fuckin’ overpunishing 24-fuckin’-7, how would THEY like it if they were on the receiving end of that shit? Wouldn’t be that fun, now would it? They need to learn to not fuckin’ screech their lungs out like the goddamn dogshit they are and actually GET A FUCKIN’ BRAIN.

  8. Plus you cant justify yourself our talk back when they are wrong. They are always right, even when they’re not

  9. Honestly I feel like this.. this article is so.. right. I have pakistani parents and they act like the stereotypical asian parents, though I’d like to say a tad bit more loving. I have gone through some of this but my sisters took the brunt of it. I once heard my sister crying because she didn’t get SAT scores high enough for a certain college. I… I’m a seventh grader. You would think i didn’t go through this but I did a little. I would go the extra mile in my studies, and learn high level anatomy and development of the brain, tell my dad and say everything, and he was just expressionless, even though not many more 7th graders can say the same thing. We get compared to younger, more successful people very often and it is just…..I can’t find the right words. Even though it comes with benefits too, like discipline and high grades, and I am deeply grateful to my parents for loving and raising me in a place where we’ve never had financial problems or such, asian parents need to seriously reconsider their parenting styles. It leaves people with emotional damage, and once my sister was rude to my parents just in protest of this. What’s worse is that we can’t even express it. We get made fun of or our sadness is just dismissed. we might even get punished, verbally or physically. Our emotions don’t really seem to matter. We can’t talk about our problems, and our outer image and grades seem more important than our mental well-being. I hope that this can reach some other person out there so that they know others share their hardships.

  10. It is normal for parents to have high hopes and dreams for the kids, we think that’s the best to ensure our kids to live comfortably, we don’t want to see our kids to live in poverty if we can.
    I am a 40 years old asian mom as well, my grandparents emigrated from China to South East Asian country.
    Here, those things are completely normal and we somehow view the parenting style of whites or hispanics are too lenient.
    It is normal to be “disciplined” when the children didn’t reach the expected hopes, either that or being berated down.
    I grew up being berated down as I was the stupid one out of 2.
    I see and understand where those asian tiger moms coming from. They had hardships, they too grew up the same way and they had to deal with poverty and starving during the bubble era, but you need to understand, people can only relate as much as their own experiences.
    If they have never experienced freedom and comfort as much as their children, they will not have the capacity to understand. It is often labelled as “tough love”.
    Growing up I used to feel abandoned and unloved, but now that I am a mother myself i realised that their gestures of love are shown differently. Food were always prepared, clothes shoes phones and all. Can you blame all of your misery on someone who is trying to raise as much as how they know they were raised?
    They too have traumas and fears. Being hard on the kids just with hope that they can live well off is normal.
    I have a kid who is autistic, and that changed my whole perspective of how I started raising my child. At the beginning I didnt realised I was becoming my own mother, the hardest part was letting go of all hopes and dreams for the child and just wished the child happiness in whatever they do.
    It was a journey that made me feel I had to rip half of my heart and put it on the platter just to be thrown away.

    Now I can see why some asian kids in the western countries feel forced. Because you feel different compared to other kids.
    But if you were to be surrounded by kids with similar situations, would you feel “alienated” anymore?
    Are you okay feeling “alienated” by being the worst graders?
    When the parents emigrated to find opportunities, do you think grasping opportunities are easy when they can’t speak the language well, faced discrimination and racism, being looked down upon?
    I am sure that the parents didnt have any ill intentions.

    I am working 2 jobs to support my family, coming home seeing my child’s smile is always fulfilling, but that, only makes me happy after I have thrown away all my hopes and dreams for my child.
    Would you be happier if your parents expected nothing much from capable you?

    The way i view my parents “discipline” now and when i was younger are different.
    For now I am glad that my parents were hard on me when i was younger. For i know myself, had they been lenient on me, I would never developed enough skills by now to support my own family.
    And as of my own child, I really just hope nothing bad happen in the future, until then I just work hard to support.

    Maybe, just maybe, try to relate a little bit to your parents first before communicating to them to relate to you. Because life gets harder when you’re older, and sometimes we forgot that different era and generations have different challenges.

  11. I can empathized with the other comments and this article, my experience goes further with abuse and how Asian mentality normalizes it our culture. I was raised when i was young not to answer back to my elders, even if they are wrong your elders are still right and you cannot answer back. When we migrated to Australia during early 90s, i had to adapt to a new country and culture. During that time i was being abused by my Stepfather who was also an Asian. I accepted this as being normal and strict method of discipline within our culture. However i eventually learnt in school about child abuse and how wrong it was. In Australia students are even encourage to report these abuse to the police or teacher. I was confused so I approached my mother who only told me that we do not accept or believe such things and not to listen to my teachers. Eventually in my teens i had enough abused and confronted my stepfather that i would report him, and you know what my mother and Asian relatives said? That i would be kicked out my home for bringing embarrassment and shame to the family. I was deeply hurt that a so called “family reputation and honor”is more important than hurt and pain i was going through. That is why as an adult in my 40s in the present time, i still have a disdain and disgust on the many shallow and superficial teachings of my culture. You talked about the Asian mentality of parenting in your article, and most commented here about their experienced in educational pressure. But their is a much more darker side on this so called Asian parenting. In our culture most Asians pretend such tragedies are not happening around them such as abused, neglect and sexual assaults. Because in our culture to talk about it is like bringing shame to your family. And how they appear to others is more important.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. What you went through is horrible and should not have been handled at all like the way you describe, family honor be damned. I hope that you are in a better place now.

  12. As an African american female (i.e: biological) i am happy the chinese author mentioned some of my people. :)

    I will say this is a wonderful article that shows things are not black and white. I HATE black and white thinking.

  13. I will keep my comment short.
    Im Asian, a mother as well to my kids who are excellent human beings. I raised them mostly on my own fantastically since i’ve been divorced. I also run a 23+ million dollar company. Im googling on a weekday night what the heck is wrong with asian parents? Im over 40 as well. Even me as a goodie 2 shoes who seems like everything is in order cant and and cannot relate to our asian cultural upbringing. Theres are shock for ya!

  14. Reading this makes me sad, but realizing that perhaps only the children of these Asian parents- the victims- will ever bother reading and considering these points. The article said it best- “Good intentions do not bring good results.” I do understand where my parents are coming from, and I think I understand their struggles; but I acknowledge that their methods are far from effective. In my case, my parents treat me more like a machine than like a person- a feeling I’m sure many others share.

    “No mom, berating me for my studies does not motivate me. No mom, bringing up that my future is at stake does not make learning more appealing; maybe it does for you, but it certainly doesn’t for me. No mom, I really don’t see the joys of learning because I literally grew up with other kids who are just like me, sadly; you’ve never taught me to love learning, and I’ve never managed to pick it up either. No mom, bringing up the rich and famous, those Olympic athletes, that one distant cousin I didn’t know I had, the kid of your friend’s friend’s friend, those people whom I’d consider the literal cream of the cream of the crop, does not motivate me to do better. I feel like shit after hearing that- and I know I’m not.”

    Those are some things I’d said if I had more courage. The most key issue in my experience is their lack of flexibility, and the fear that prevents me from criticizing them. I might have a bad time right now, but god knows how much worse it could be if I decided to voice my criticism. I know they won’t see eye to eye with me, and how can I expect them to? We have led vastly different lives, after all. It feels like wishful thinking that they might consider my stances, and I cannot bring myself to align with their values completely.

    I haven’t a solution, but I accept that they will eventually not be in my life. This mentality certainly doesn’t help family bonding, but it has kept me from crossing the line from “consistently annoyed” to straight up “depressed”. At some point, I will have the freedom to lead my own life, even if it feels like it is too little too late. I hope that at that point, I would be capable of finding joy in what I do and derive meaning in life- and whatever other cheesy goals I pick up along the way. This may not come close to patching whatever problem you might have, dear reader, but I do hope it might bring you some of the solace and hope it has for me. Even if it doesn’t, I hope sharing my thought isn’t a complete waste of your time.

    1. The second paragraph really aimed close to how I feel right now, in my senior year of high school. I never had much talent for anything, I loved creating things like art, dance, and my own music but every time I feel like I was starting to enjoy it, my parents end up comparing me to others like that “distant cousin.” I am like ” yes mom I know I don’t have any talents nor am I particularly smart, but you repeatedly telling me I don’t study enough doesn’t make me want to improve. Instead it makes me want to disappear inside the many books I read to distract me from reality since I also have this “fear” inside of me to criticize them. I try to understand that they had a bad life getting to what we have today but this all happened before my time, I get that my parents ultimate goal is to make me successful but I don’t believe that it’s the best approach to make me feel like crap. So I really thank you for being someone who thinks the same as me, at least someone does truly understands, rather than just saying “I know what your going through.”

  15. Hi, I found this super relatable. I have Korean parents of my own. I believe that Chinese parents are more strict and restrictive than Korean, but most asian countries take success and discipline very seriously. I am 16 years old myself and my parents shame me for having a B. I have an IQ of 145, skipped kindergarten, take AMP classes, and mostly have all A’s. I feel like my parents should praise me of what I do, and how smart I am compared to other kids, but for them, it’s not enough. When I was in 7th grade, my mom signed me up for SAT practice, with junior/senior level work. Keep in mind that I skipped kindergarten, so wouldn’t you think that is a little over the top? I took this class every summer from 7th to 10th, and then this year I took the SAT. My grades right now are: Math: 89% English: 92% US History: 84% Biology: 94% Spanish: 96% PE: 100%
    Overall, I totally agree with this article, and I wish my parents let me have more leeway, like other white or hispanic families.

    1. Dude I feel you. However who do you think has it worse girls or guys? I feel like I have it worse being a 15 year old Indian female. My male asian friends are allowed to do more things then me. So do you think gender has an effect on the strictness in any way?

  16. I have Asian parents that are all of the above except that they are not the bragging type. My sister was considered a genius and was the pride of the house and my little sisters were the angels. I’m known as the Lazy and Clueless idiot around the house. Since I was considered a failure (I never change my behavior and I always talk back, got punish for it.) they were determined to make me lower than my sisters and told me that the money that I later on make would support my younger sisters college. I consider running away but then again, I want my diploma, so I stayed (I also wanted to bring my shelfful of books.) My dream was to be a bestselling author and I knew that they’ll shut the whole idea down so I hid all my drafts in another account. I’m getting punished even more often and my siblings viewed me negatively (though I never got along with them in the first place). It was really frustrating and counting down my years to freedom (18) was my only comfort.

  17. The Asian parent so-called ‘sacrifice’ is tiresome. Most parent world over make life choices for the benefit of their children and family but it seems the Chinese are good at selling this as ‘sacrifice’ to provoke guilt and obligation.
    It’s actually called priorities. Parental priorities are not a sacrifice, they are choices based on circumstances and goals.
    A stay at home mom is not sacrificing her career if the parents think it is in the best interest of the family. If a career is such a high priority, then why bother having a family?
    A family that chooses to emigrate is not sacrificing – they are pursuing opportunities. If there is any sacrifice, it is alienating their children from the extended natal family back in the home country. I’m really not sure it’s so great to grow up cut off from extended family but seems that many immigrant Asian parents sacrificed that part of their children’s upbringing.

    A Chinese friend of mine talked about how her parents worked day and night in the restaurant they owned and that’s why her grandmother had to raise her. Well, between the lunch and dinner rush, the restaurant is closed. Why couldn’t one of the parents just come home and spend a few hours with the kids? Instead, they worked and worked to amass 3 real estate properties – impressive but at what cost to family life? Meanwhile, 2 of the 3 kids see no point in having children, and the one that has procreated has only one child who can’t stand the grandma who is a virtual stranger to her parents because grandma chose to spend most of her parenting time in the restaurant. Like many Chinese people, my friend is indoctrinated in this trope and speaks of her parents “sacrifice”. In the same breath she will explain how when her mother retired, she hated her presence in the house because this woman was a complete stranger yet expected instant familial obligation and bond. It’s not sacrifice, it’s dysfunctional.

    1. Great points about “sacrifice”. I’ve always wondered if that is really just double speak, because sacrifice is about choosing to lose something of value of ones self for the benefit of the other. But it seems that at the end, its the children that pays that price. This isn’t sacrifice – its just taking from the child.

      I’d like to point out about your point about how children of immigrants usually are disconnected from the extended family and a rich understanding of their cultural background. This is such a good point.

      I wonder if there is a whole spectrum of Asian parents who uses these languages but some are really narcissistic parents who wants the glory of “living in the west” and leaving their children with emotional damage.

  18. Hi Will, guess what, I am a Asian Canadian mother, I immigrated in Canada few years ago, I have a son who 12 years old. We had some tough conversations on what we don’t agree each other’s. He was upset as well as me. I was doing some research to try to understand my son then I bumped into this article. I read the whole article and all the comments and I tell you , I appreciate your article. It helps me to understand the stress that you guys face as having strict Asian parents. I will adjust some aspects on my side to improve the relationship between us. But at the end of the days, Asian parents work hard and sacrifice a lot when they choose to move the new country with the hope of having better future for their children. However, sometimes it can be to much pushing, I fell bad for anyone of you feel hating your own parents and I get it. But I am sure they all love you.

    1. So glad this helped in some way. I’m happy you were able to take the time to learn more, understand, and empathesize – something not everyone does. It can be tough to understand sometimes given our different cultures/experiences. I also totally acknowledge your struggle and situation and realize/respect what you’ve had to go through, so of course, I myself am not too mad or angry about every one of those Asian parent behaviors

  19. Wow I came relate to all this since I have asian parents too.Okay since the pandemic started my grades have been dropping so much I usually get A’ s and B’s ony report card and even if my grade’s went higher they still expect me to get a A on every subject.They always say go to harvard become a nurse and make money and marry, have kids,but my dreams wasn’t to become a nurse but a artist and the thing is that I have married so many fictional character in my mind like Kiyomi Sakusa,Todoroki, Bakugo, Hanako, andany more.They always put pressure and stress on me and it is almost time for the EOG and graduation and I am scared that I won’t graduate and pass the EOG because of how much stress and pressure on me.And if I don’t pass they will probably take my phone away or smash it and I don’t want my phone to be smashed because if it was smashed I can’t talk to my friend and I usually talk about my problems to her. she is the greatest friend I ever had, she makes me feel better if I am sad, or overwhelmed by all the school work and when ever I talk to her I just feel like my problems just disappeared. And recently I have been feeling depressed and even if I tell my parents they won’t believe me and always put the blame on my phone like bruh how. And I am sorry if my story is messy and ik I shouldn’t type this when I am in class.And whenever I feel motivated to do my work they always tell me to sweep the floor and stuff and then when I say something like ” I am doing my school work can you tell ( brothers name) to do some so I can do my assignments” they always reply with a ” no, girls are suppose to do these work because it is their job and boys are suppose to do heavy thing that boys are suppose to do, what will you do if you get a job you can’t act like that or you will get fired and then no jobs want you cuz you are lazy, all you do is stay in that hole and never come out you did nothing today all the work was what your brother did” and I am just staring at her like 👁️👄👁️ I never heard her call his name. Like bruh chill.and why am I not surprised when I get compared to my brothers and strangers telling me how they went to harvard and became a doctor like all my parent think is all doctors excuse me but what is going inside your brain. anyways I’m sorry for my grammar and how messy and how out of order my story is anyways Peace have a good day or night.

    1. I agree to this. I want to be an artist too, but my mom keeps telling me to be a lawyer since ‘omg you argue with your sister so much, be a lawyer’. My ultimate dream is to become a good digital artist, but my mom only gives me 1 hour a day to draw and everything else is studying.
      Once, when I wanted to draw more, she was at the dining table and she took a steak knife and threatened to smash the ipad. The worst part is, that I couldn’t do anything about it.
      She says that she wants me to rest my eyes, but I do take eye breaks. That’s just her way of making a lame excuse so I can’t draw. I don’t want to be a lawyer anyways. I’ve always had stage fright; ever since Kindergarten when my mom forced me to play violin in front of an entire crowd of people at a talent show. I remember distinctly looking out into the crowd and seeing my parents frowning at me and feeling pathetic. My mom knows I have stage fright, yet she still made me go to the town’s spelling bee(3 years in a row), to practice theater, and to completely embarrass myself for 2 years straight at debate lessons.
      Another thing is electronic control. I have a computer, of course, but that’s just for education and I am seriously limited with it. How come my parents are so readily willing to spend thousands on education but not on my happiness and well being?
      My dad is a little better, as he praises me and makes me feel appreciated. The one problem is; my parents are divorced and I’m literally never at my dad’s house.
      Oh well.

      1. goddamn I feeel you, exactly. I ve been dancing for 14 years and Im doing some part-time dance teaching now but I also finished my master degree of engineering so my parents want me to work in that field, spiritual abuse , using lame excuses… anything they can do. I think we just gotta keep going keep doing our thang. if you gotta a dream you gotta protect it.

  20. My parents have made me an introvert. My brother is heavily favored over me and it just makes me angry that they’re older yet they have more privileges and less responsibilities. He gets away with literally everything. I argue like all siblings in existence, then they get extremely mad. Get good grades and just dismiss it as “what I’m supposed to do” and talk about all the amazing grades and perfect records that THEY got. My allowance is literally like 10 dollars per year. What can I buy with it????? BOOKS. I quite literally use my school computer for internet browsing.

  21. I’m sick to death of in general Asian (and muslim) parents being especially strict and harsh and telling me off and nagging and saying it’s for my own good no matter how much it pisses me off and thinking being responsible for me means bossing me around and intervening with my business no matter how old I get it’s so not the best if it makes me feel that way too and having to stay under their guidance and responsibility and not letting me go until I’m married (especially as I never WANT to) or for my whole life just cuz they raised me and I’ve been and still living on their provisions I just want to move out of home the moment I get the chance I’ve got personal boundaries that they won’t respect themselves!!!!!

  22. I’m sick to death of in general Asian (and muslim) parents being especially strict and harsh and telling me off and nagging and saying it’s for my own good no matter how much it pisses me off and thinking being responsible for me means bossing me around and intervening with my business no matter how old I get it’s so not the best if it makes me feel that way too and having to stay under their guidance and responsibility and it letting me go until I’m married (especially as I never WANT to) or for my whole life just cuz they raised me and I’ve been and still living on their provisions I just want to move out of home the moment I get the chance!!!!!

  23. Even though my parents are Asian, they are truly awesome. They let me play outside 3 hours in the summer, 2 in spring, 1 in winter, and and 1 1/2 – 2 in the fall. They might get mad at some points, but they get me what I want and really love me. Even though they don’t like video games, they still get them for me. Our family also always has a good time discussing at lunch. Although I do not like it when my mom gets pissed because that never ends very well, but she gets pissed for good reasons. (Never about grades, just effort)

  24. I agree with this post so much. My parents never appreciate my scores. I used to hide having social media because my parents were against this saying that it wastes your time. But then they found out that I had them, so they took away my phone. I started having anxiety and when I finally found the courage to tell my parents – they didn’t believe in mental health – they said they are going to take me to the doctors. I told my parents about my anxiety and the fact that I didn’t feel as if I had freedom because they controlled all aspects of my life. The only change they did is support me because of my anxiety, give me my phone and allowed me to use social media. The type of anxiety I have is social anxiety and Asian believe in a lot of social interaction, I always got nervous even about the idea of talking to people. My parents still force me to talk to people on the phone, they tell me that I need to get over it. They don’t understand that I can’t do it with all the stress.

    They think the main subject is science, then maths. I’m in set 1 for science and maths – the highest set ( group ) in UK – but I don’t really understand science. Most of my family did accounting and maths related subjects, so my parents wanted me to be different, do science and be a doctor. I made myself believe that it was my favourite subject but after a few months, I gradually decreased my score. I also found my liking for ict, and I haven’t told my parents yet, because I know they won’t like it. I hate the fact that my friends can just ask their parents if they want to go somewhere, and they’ll say yes. But I get really scared to ask my parents anything. Whenever I go out, i always have to lie to my parents, like I did a few days ago. But whenever I lie, they somehow also find out and they hit me and say that if I lie one more time, they are going to kick me out of their house.

    Also getting my phone back doesn’t mean I get any freedom, they always check my phone. They read all of my texts to everyone and do not like me texting any guys. I do not have any privacy, and I cannot talk to my friends without my parents asking me who it is. I got angry because of this and made a new social media account, where they do not know the password of and I talk to whoever I want, whenever I want.

    My parents, being Asian-British, hate other races (racists) . They keep telling me that my religion and culture is the best in the world and you only get born into it if you did something good in your last life. I do not have the courage to ever tell my parents that I’m atheist. My parents are also homophobic, whereas I’m neither.

    I had read many articles before this regarding parents, and had also found out that my parents were really toxic. They still do control me, but I know that when my brother becomes my age, they would do nothing like that to him. I had always wished I had an older brother, who I could tell all my problems to and wouldn’t criticize me. But since I don’t, I keep a diary telling all my secrets and hoping that the future me had finally found answers to all my problems.

    I’m happy that I’m not alone, but it’s nothing to be happy about. I’m sorry many of you have toxic parents like mine, but I hope you all soon find the answers you have been looking for. Once again, thank you for your article.

  25. I definitly agree what you say about good and mad to asian parent(I’m a english learner so I type isn’t very good).I have same feeling with all the comment.My parent always believe what they believe is right and I have no excuse for disagree.My parent always saw you need have at less 90% above on your report card, do they think get a 90% on report card is very easy???they don’t care about how you study hard, they just care about score.So sometimes I lie to them that I got 93%(I only got 86%)When I was 8th grade I was push me so hard finally get 93% in report card, do you know what they said, they said just keep up and nothing else.When I drop little bit(91%) then they will yell at me and ask me why you got 91% what wrong with you, then my free time is cancel.Right now I’m scare to get a higher score because I can’t keep it very long.Same as other I only get watch movie and no video game for two hours.But I hope all of you can have a good future.

    1. Yes, while effective to an extent, this parenting style isn’t perfect. The lack of praise and high standards can cause extreme stress

      1. teenager suicide rates are very high in asian countries.
        do you know why? there’s a crap load of tangled mess with how twisted asian society is, but this is part of the reason.

    2. that is exactly my parents. Except the thing is whenever my parents and I argue, they try to make their point “win” and I can’t really defend my point/opinion. My dad would also take a slipper or so and smack me in the head with it when I can’t understand something for a long time. When he’s not intentionally trying to spank me (he doesn’t anymore since I am older), he raises his hand and I still flinch. My mom is always comparing me to other children, saying how they’re so good and I should be more like them. It’s very annoying. But trust me, my life isn’t as bad as it sounds, my parents are actually really nice!

  26. out of curiousity i googled asian parent because im asian and i wish to be a parent but too scared to be a parent. im 28 now but i cant shake this feeling of “what if i cant be a good mom?”
    i saw a lot of emotionally/physically/ or just being both abused kid. so i scared i might just add the number.
    but its a good article, it sum up well. i pray i would never do such thing.

    1. Well, your concern and worry are a good sign that you at least care enough to make a positive change since the worst don’t care to do this. Do you think professional therapy and books may help you work through some of the stuff and identify behavior practices that can lead to better parenting and communication as well as working through many of your own issues? I personally know I won’t be a perfect parent, but I’ll try my best and I can learn from the mistakes of my parents to do a better job in certain areas. There are certain things are obvious clear no-no’s that society frowns on (physical beatings, sexual abuse, etc.), so it’s about not doing those – making sure you have the willpower and ability to not doing those before you start

    2. I have Asian parents and the only problem I have with them is that they sometimes belittle me and scream at me for every small thing I do like once I hit my computer on the table once because my dad wasn’t being of much help at all and was frustrated so he just screamed at me. But when I showed him that I got an A+ he belittled me by saying “It was because I helped you” like if it wasn’t okay to need help.

  27. This all comes down to values, and why you think you’re on this earth. That’s for each person to come to terms with.
    I knew a man who worked as a fireman. His main focus was always on helping and showing love to others. He lived in a modest house and wasn’t poor, or rich either. This is a true story btw.
    When he died, there were 700 people at his funeral. Everyone had a story of how Henry had helped them.
    To me, that is success. But of course for each person it’s different.

    1. And your example of the fireman is an example of why the Asian parent obsession with ‘face’ (social standing, showing off and competing for social status against others) is so morally bankrupt. The typical Asian immigrant parent would denigrate this fireman for having what they consider a low status job, that doesn’t make enough money, and where he has to USE HIS HANDS!!! (this is like Downton Abbey snobbery, where someone who has to work and god forbid use their hands in a profession is considered lower than someone who inherits their wealth. To Confucian-believing Asian parents, the scholar with the Ivy League degree is at the top of the social and attainment hierarchy, never mind if this scholar is researching useless crap that never helps anyone.)

  28. I am relieved to see that I am not alone in this situation. I am asian-american. My parents are very successful so they expect the same for me. My oldest sister, Sherry is attending Harvard, so they always compare me to her. Whenever my middle sister and I are doing something we’re not supposed to me doing, I always get into trouble and she doesn’t. In my family, I am considered a failure. My grades are slipping lower and lower, and my parents are always mad at me. Lately, I’ve had some times where I just start to randomly cry, and start feeling hopeless. They are constantly nagging at me to do more work, and I am getting stressed out. I am trying to figure out a way to tell my parents about my depression, but I can’t seem to find a way without making them mad. Whenever I try to explain this, they always think it’s an excuse. I am only allowed to play video games with my friends on weekends for about 1 hour a day. Otherwise, I can only visit them by biking there, and they live very far away. I can’t even listen to music while I work because ‘it’s a distraction’. It’s almost as though they don’t care whether I’m happy or not. I am 11 yrs old btw.

    1. Thanks for sharing. That’s a very common situation. Many people are dealt bad hands in life with subpar parents. I recommend reading Hillbilly Elegy or Can’t Hurt Me. They are inspiration for making the most of your situation and seeing it f or what it is.

    2. OMG everything you said was so true. My parents never let me listen to music while I work and they hit me if I don’y listen. I mean hit by like real hits and it hurts.

      1. my dad used to take out a slipper and smack me in the head. You’re lucky that you only get smacked. Yes, I am Asian American. I am 11.

    3. Bruh, Same thing here. I am 15 years old and attending high school as a sophomore. Both of my parents are not that successful but they want me to be very successful. My dad doesn’t allow me to play video games at all and he would take my phone away every day until dinner even on the weekends. I am so tired of this and he is even pushing more, “If your GPA is not 4.0 then you have to move out of your room and sit in the living room for the whole day.” like I can do nothing other than schoolwork. I am so desperate and don’t know what to do.

    4. i feel the same way and i can relate to you a lot. i am frequently compared to my sister which makes me feel terrible and i often have to go to my room (by making an excuse of attending online class) and cry. they keep pressurizing me into different academic coaching classes (which teach completely out of sync) and tell me i should focus on school, but then the next day they’ll be screwing me for not getting enough marks in the coaching class though they told me to try my best at school. then later they tell me that i had better get into the next level of NSO even though NONE of it is in my portions. i honestly don’t know what to do and i feel like i’m blank right now. im sorry for everything you had to go through :(

  29. Greetings boys, I’m somehow late cause I just bump into this article. I am either not Chinese citizen nor Asian American ( I’m Malaysian and Chinese people are like hardcore tiger mom’s children ). My grandpa and great-grandpa immigrate into Malaysia from China so my bloodline is still considered early Malaysian after my dad. I don’t go to gov school due to my horrible chinese. Students there were hard-minded by parents and go to tuition till mid-night after school in somewhere 7 pm in subjects they suck in.
    I’ve scroll through asian and depression related post and articles as well as reddit. I found some related posts in reddit similar to ur guys’ problems for months. One of them was a very traumatic story that an Asian teen who lives in Greenland, physical abused just because he just raised his voice to his mom which is an asian sin. Forced to be hard at grades in white school, did not have ANYTHING, was mentally tortured being called a retard ( which gamers these days call ourself tbh ) and have to lie to his white friends who invited him to play console with them that his console was broken although he don’t have one.
    I don’t live like u guys because my parents don’t live through like u guys even though they started low class live, their parents don’t expect them A and just to try their best. If u guys think that I am better than u, then u r wrong. Why, pretty fucked up at home bored so badly that I snuck in my room to watch youtube ( hardly caught ) and every time I got caught, things will get harder for me to get into the internet without permission ( I was afraid to be bitten ). My mom would say that reading books will work to keep up from boredom but I literally digested em and asked for more ( yes I wanna be an engineer and I am a sci-fi fan ).
    I always understand the cause of these limitations in my life cuz of my parents including: No going out like kids back then in rural areas alone which questions me why the world is stupid, Not buying vid games cuz I dun like console and I knew that spending on video games is kinda scary to me and lying is like a overused sin I did ( I knew either to lie or tell the truth to keep me safe cuz I defied reality XD ).
    I was diagnosed with depression then bipolar 2 without telling even tho my mom taught me to tell her no matter what but I think I can solve the boredom problem and get a therapy when I am financially independant by myself. If u guys read post and article about asian related depression stuff then u know that asian kids were afraid to be bitten as being called a brat who wants attention, weak and sensitive by their parents who don’t believe in mental illness ( Warning: it may apply to other races and people )
    I was trying to check out ur problems so I can try to help out without even pissing ur parents off with a mental method of using ‘us’ and ‘we’ so I can try to convince them ( Not really cuz I’m busy with school ). So show yourself to the light and gimme ur email to create a sharing chat instead of posting dumb long comment in a web that I can get lost in and yes I am a hypo-maniac while writing this hoping that u guys can discover me ( Thats how I make a comment in such topics ;)

  30. I agree with everything you wrote. I’ve found that in many cases ( my own experience) the best way for an Asian-American child to “succeed” and be “happy” is to be a bit stubborn, rebellious (in a good way) and break away from the ethnic community. The tribal ways can be selfish and the crab mentality is relentless is keeping one from being happy and prosperous. I am Filipino and what makes the Filipino culture particularly toxic is its complex mixture of Asian rigidity and old school Catholic self righteousness and judgmentalism. I’ve seen sensitive souls totally destroyed, many by suicide, because of lifelong judgment, “God has cursed you because you do not obey your parents” lies.
    I thank you for being forthright and broad-minded, this blog will save the lives of many, and will help many lost souls to find their authentic path.

  31. I can also relate to this. However, my parents tell me: “in Tests, I don’t want to see anything below 90%” This is the sort of pressure that I feel constantly, and makes me frustrated to me asian. My mum also takes away things I like if I stuff something up. Once I was caught playing games while I was taking a short break. She put restrictions on my computer and now I need her password to log in. She also keeps my phone with her and won’t let me take it anywhere. I only get it for 20mins a day. She also restricts me from meeting up with friends, making me stay at home and study. Like Matty M, I will be a better parent than they ever were to me and will let my child be their own person and not control them through their lives.

    1. This paragraph is 95% accurate for my Asian parents. Number 6 is super accurate. Although this is stereotypes it is somehow one of the most accurate things I have ever seen.

    2. Same!!! Except for my parents are even worse with grades. I have to get 100% or they get very mad, even if I’m doing something 2 GRADES HIGHER. I can’t play video games with any of my friends at all. It’s as if they don’t want me to have friends.

      1. Yeah, unfortunately, we’re usually born into this world with unfair/unideal circumstances. The best move is to make the most of your situation

  32. Thank you Will for this post, my parents always had been so rude and make up the worst excuse but say their right. I always have to listen and try my hardest for good grades, and when I get my As, they don’t care. You showed me that there is hope and to be positive and agree to what they say. They don’t understand modern society so they think they’re always right. For example, my mother said we didn’t practice hard enough, and we had our reasoning, work proof. But still, she would keep repeating what she says, be a hypocrite by watching her shows all day. And than, blame it on us in which she just told us to work harder which we were working. I don’t blame them for not understanding this age, but I just don’t like how they act about it and say they know everything. I want to never treat my child like that, can you send me some more tips on how to deal with them or per say, help them understand? Thank you :D

    1. Recognize it for what it is. You can’t change them. They’re doing something’s right and something’s wrong. Once you’re old enough, you can make you own decisions.

  33. Hi Will, thank you for writing this post and shining a light on both the negatives AND the positives. I was angry with my parents for having a mindset that their children should be 100% obediant and owe their parents ALL their time and energy, so I wanted to vent my anger by reading about how terrible Asian parenting can be. However, your post balances the two sides of asian parenting. I’m no longer frustrated with them, but rather I understand that the issue stems as a product of our environment, leading to an unhealthy relationship between parent and child. It is true that our parents can’t be changed, as change only comes for the willing, so it is up to me to define boundaries and even burn bridges if I have to. It is only this way that won’t lead to an utter destruction of the mental and physical health of both parents and children.

  34. I can agree with many of the points, especially with the one with the emphasis of the rest and recovery. My asian parents are so strict till they do not allow me to rest for games after a day of revision and studying, as they would like to say “Have you ever seen any gamer become successful when they grow up?” I have always tried to say about youtubers and many of them, like pewdiepie, start from a point where they too do not have much supporters, but even with all these plain and obvious examples, they always want to find excuses to debate on this point, by saying Youtubers will not last long in their jobs. They have this broken mentality that children must be pushed beyond their comfort zone and limits in order to become successful in life. They will most of the time neglect many important aspects of their children: their happiness, relaxation etc.
    The one point you missed out is the comparison of their children to other children, such as their relatives and friends. I never get why is it so hard to please an asian parent? I tried my best to give them the best results in tests, but they would always compare me to their relative’s children. Even if I have fulfil all their expectations and requirements, they would always create another element or aspect to compare me with. For example, if I fulfilled their expectations for exam results and academics, they would compare me for my personality, if i fulfil that again, they would compare me again to another aspect. I never knew why are they so competitive and with unlimited standards and expectations, like as if they were never satisfied for your past achievements, or even grateful that you have better qualities that others don’t. They always choose something that we don’t have, and compare it to others who have that element. Why can’t it just be the opposite?
    I understand they are doing it for the better of their children, with the hope of shaping a brighter and better future for us. But not all methods of parenting can work for all children. Different children have their own limits, own strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect. I hope in the future parents can actually understand their children more better commenting on their abilities and making comparisons. In this way, both parents and children can lead a better life together.

    1. Edit: It’s been half a year, and I realised the motives of this. My parents are doing this to push me to greater heights, and I really appreciate their efforts to shape a brighter future for me, instead of being addicted to electronic devices. I now greatly appreciate their efforts and the time they spent to ensure I am doing good in my studies, and I consider myself lucky to have such supportive parents for me.

    2. Edit: It’s been half a year, and looking back at what I wrote, I realised it’s the opposite. I have not been understanding my parents and why they are treating me so strictly then. I realised they were trying to push me to greater limits and I greatly appreciate their efforts and support to shape a better and brighter future for me, instead of being addicted to electronic devices everyday. I have learnt from my past mistakes, and are appreciative for whatever my parents do for me, even if I do not like it, as it is all for my own good. I feel lucky that I have such supportive parents, and would treasure what they are doing for me from now on.

  35. This was a great read and many of these are very relatable. I can only remember one instance of getting a reward and that was solely because I made a deal with my parents that if I got the highest mark in the class, I would get a bike (since my brother had one already and I didn’t). In terms of working hard, it can certainly be worse for a girl. I was expected to do all the cooking and cleaning before I could even start my assignments – I was even punished if I ever admitted I didn’t know how to cook something or if I didn’t get a full Indian dinner ready on time. There is also another common mistake Indian parents make, they compare their children to other children. I was compared with my cousin so much, “Why can’t you be more like her?” to the point where I resented her as a child (and she hated me too because her parents compared her to me all the time!). I’m currently writing a script based on some of my experiences and this article certainly helped me to take a walk down memory lane. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for your input. That’s a great point. I’m reading a book on the science of happiness, and it talks about how happy people are happy for others who do better than them when they compare and unhappy aren’t. I think it’s that culture’s way of “pushing us” but it may unintentionally backfire from a happiness viewpoint

  36. Damn thank you so much for writing this it makes me feel good to know im not alone. and my parents are one really paranoid and overprotective which i am bothered about im almost 16 and i cant bike to the end of the street to play basketball with my friends. also i get like no breaks this is probably the thing i hate the most. my parents think playing video games is like a one way ticket to being homeless i dont even have ant gaming console or anything i would play angry birds on my phone for 15 min and get yelled at and called addicted. what really hurts is when i do homework all morning on saturdays for about 3 hours and once i finish i cant relax, i try to sit on the couch and play a game or watch a video on my phone. but in less that 15 someone in my family would yell at me.

  37. Hi this helped but also made me cry when I saw the comments.
    I relate to this mostly. I am realizing this mindset is really nothing to be proud of. My parents don’t want me to be a doctor after knowing about corona. That’s how overprotective and paranoid they are. They banned sleepovers for me b/c they scared I might get raped or they won’t let me go on a playdate because I already saw friends at school. I mean I get it. They are trying their best to protect me and guide me in a new country. I totally get it. I get what their mindset is and they always mention that they will always be here for me. I am obedient and do everything they say. If one is not willing, their outcome is not as beautiful. I feel stupid everyday. People see me as one of the most positive girls they know. But honestly it’s what I try to do to fake it till I make it. I cry almost everyday. (Over math problems mostly) Sometimes I burst out in tears for what seems like no reason. But it’s because when they say things, they have NO idea of how I feel.. For example “Oh, it’s just because she is surrounded by unsuccessful friends.”or “You don’t TRY. Why don’t you just TRY” Like how. What if I am but under unnecessary pressure. I actually struggle with math and science and exceed in English/ss/spanish. That proves having the Asian mentality doesn’t work for me. I am strong and hide so many feelings. Once, I couldn’t take it and stood up for my sister that went to a birthday party and received makeup as a goodie. I said, “You ruined her day. She was all happy and finally went to attend something fun. She is social!” Well guess who cried again. They accused me of being too American and that I have to stay focused on studying. I don’t even know where I belong or who I am or what I love. My childhood is slipping away and I feel maybe I am not living life to the fullest. You are right about you can’t change them, but can change you. It does help. I wish my dad spoke English and my mom was more understanding and I could feel more confident. I wish I was popular in my school and got more social opportunities. I was face timing one of my white friends today and we did work together and my mom kept yelling at me during the FT saying I should hang up. That is so disrespectful to me and my friend. How can I be social with that kind of burden. I am athletic. I did field hockey for my team only for one season and I already became offense within one month of experience.Well, she doesn’t really care. She is only willing to pay for tutoring that doesn’t help. I am creative. I sing good. I am nice. I could be a potential celebrity even. I get everything she tries to do for me she works hard. I never expect anything anymore. But I would rather not be on this Earth in my life as an Asian. Thank you for your facts and I am looking forward to feedback :)

    1. honestly i can relate so much my parent are also super overprotective as i cant go anywhere without them or go to just the end of my street. also my parents think playing video games is so bad i dont have any gaming console and dont play that many video games i also sometimes wish i was in a white family. now i would honestly just have a ps4 then go on vacation. all of my friends have video games and i feel left out. but i am a bit popular at school but thats real skill. im funny and kinda good at basketball. but im popular because of skill im not tall im acctually super short caompared to everyone else so im not popular because of my genes im not like some people who are super good at video games and i dont have a lot of money. to conclude thanks for typing that long comment because it made me feel good reading it

  38. Tbh, Asian parents nag a lot and force their child to become a doctor or lawyer or engineer. Their basic theory is that getting anything below A* is being a failure in life. Unlike non- Asians, Asians are forced to do things that they don’t like to do. The way how Asians’ parenting methods is not good. Because back in their day, there were no such things as Google, Facebook, mail, etc…. Not even Wifi. So they had to rely on books only. And the only way to be rich and famous is to become a doctor or lawyer or engineer. This concept is still carried and used even though the technology has gotten better ( even better up to the point where we don’t need to use books to find pieces of information. And I am not proud being an Asian at all. I really wanted to be an American! Anyway, thanks for good article! Have a good day!

  39. (Sorry I’m saying this so late lol) but I just came across this article and I can relate to 9/10 of the things u said on here. my parents are very hardworking. But, they are SOOO overbearing. I barely have anything in common with them. they were all straight A students who did really good in school and was always favored by the teachers. while I have C’s Bs and occasionally As. If I forget to retake a test I have failed, or forgot about an assignment that was past the deadline, my mom takes something away from me that I like to do. just today, I forgot to retake a test I was supposed to take and now, she punished me by not letting me see my friends or draw. and I LOVE to draw. I’ve been doing it since I was 2 and I’ve progressed so much and I feel like I’m almost getting to the height of my skills but my mom thinks I draw too much and she only lets me draw on the weekends. now, I can’t do that anymore because I forgot to retake that one test. my dad took away so many things away from me. I’m 14 and I had an Ipad but then, he took it away and now, I don’t have any devices. I had an Xbox but he took that away as well because of my “attitude.” I was really only trying to stand up for myself for my self dignity when I felt he wasn’t treating me right. but he always sees it as attitude and rebellion. I’ve even tried to nicely and respectfully stand up to him but he still didn’t get it. my dad wants me to go a good college with a high paying job as most asian parents want. But, that’s not even close to what I really wanna be. I want to be a professional Manga comic creator. an artist. but everytime I bring it up to my parents, they tell me that the income is so low I won’t be able to live like that. Let me say this, I have barely ANYTHING in common with my parents. my parents were such a goody two shoes . for example, I LOVE to read Sci fi chapter books, comic books, and Manga. But my parents don’t like it when I read it. because they always used to read classics, and nonfiction books. I’ve tried getting into those but I have no interest in them. I just love the way artists draw manga and comics. and its inspired me. I will read like, a few volumes of a manga series, and my parents are like, “all right. that’s enough. too much manga. too much comics. too much Sci fi.” but, I just really love the way people tell stories through pictures in manga, and I really just want to read those three things. they think it’ll hinder my learning process but that’s not true. but I don’t think they’ll listen to me even if I did tell them. I mean, they would. but then they wouldn’t change one bit. my parents are making a big deal about it. I’m sure if they were reading this comment, they’d see me as embarrassing them or something. but I just feel alone whenever they do these things to me and I feel like I have no one else to talk to about this. and they just make me hate school more and more and they don’t realize it. I am so embarrassed because I have no electronics. just a a school chromebook that was provided to us. and that’s about it. I don’t have a phone, Ipad or an ACTUAL computer. i remember when my friend asked me for my phone # and I told her I had no phone and she started laughing. I mean, who doesn’t have a phone these days? my dad is the one who doesn’t let me have a phone. surprisingly, my mom is okay with it. its just my dad who doesn’t want me to have one. I’ve told him how embarrassed I’ve been because I don’t have a phone. he just shrugged it off and didn’t care. I HATE the feeling when someone asks if you have a phone and u say no. especially when you’re with a group of people. they just look at u with pity and its so painful living like this. I used to have so many friends who had no phones too. but one by one, they each started getting phones and I am the only one who still doesn’t. when I say no when they ask me if I have one, I almost feel like crying. And, I can’t watch TV on the weekdays anymore because apparently, I need to spend more time studying for school. Hopefully, I’ll have a phone by highschool. I would be VERY ashamed to show up on the first without a phone. I feel like my parents don’t really care about my feelings. they always want us to give up our hopes and dreams so that we can listen and do what they want. my parents hurt me so much emotionally that I’ve developed so much resentment towards them. I remember when I had several missing assignments in half my classes towards the end of the school year. Me and my mom were in the parking lot of a mall and she was full on YELLING at me because I wasn’t doing very good. My mom is an asian american. But she somehow STILL acts like a typical asian. my parents HATE it when me and my sister quote or watch memes. they think its so stupid. but that’s the point, really. that’s why its so funny. if we played a meme song in front of my dad, he would immediately cut us off and tell us to stop playing it. and if we quoted one together (which me and my sister do quite often,) then my dad would cut us off in the middle and tell us to stop. I wish he could have at least told us nicer and more polite rather than just cutting us off. They sometimes tell me and my sister that they used to hate their parents as well. and from the sound of it, it sounded like they’re parents were alot like a typical asian parenets way of parenting. But they don’t realize they’re doing the EXACT same things they described to me and my sister. and I just wish that they could understand me. But like many asian parents, they are always set on the things they want to do or say. anyway, thx for this article. it really actually helped me feel better. and sorry I just said things here and there lol I just wanted to get all my thoughts down.

    1. Dude I feel your pain. I’m 16 and my parents think they can control my life. I try to be a good son but they will take away stuff i like just because my grades aren’t straight A’s. Also one of my teachers had replied in my assessment “lack of knowledge” mad my mom explode leading to her taking my phone away and bans me from using any social media, and then proceeds to beat me.

    2. Manga is disgusting, but otherwise I agree with you. I am a student in Year 7 and I fear to show my mom when I get C’s and B’s, she is super strict but has a different perspective on money and risk, but she forces me to study through the weekend, saying “Oh, value your chances” etc. She is also unpredictable and I’m scared of her.

      1. Could you explain to me why manga is “disgusting”? It’s just an artform and a way to tell stories. What’s really disgusting is that you are describing such a broad subject with simply just the word “disgusting”.

    3. Hey mate, as with most of the comments on here, I really relate with you. Not an Asian American, but an Asian Australian, 20 living at home with my mum (dad passed away a while ago). A lot of the things you mentioned, I’ve had to put up with both my parents. However, now being an adult, I feel like my mum is really emotionally and financially manipulative in order to keep me in line at home. So many rules about going out with my friends and being social makes it a real challenge to actually enjoy adulthood. I mean, what adult still needs to ask permission to go to a friend’s party? On top of that, being told that I am a burden to her, getting verbally abused, as well as being expected to still help pay for shit around the house, while getting told that if I do not follow her ridiculous rules, I’ll have to find somewhere else to live. It’s a pretty tense situation. I am currently studying to become a teacher, which I really enjoy, and the only time that my mum appears to be proud of it is when she needs to brag to all of her family friends and relatives that I’m doing something at university. Otherwise, she will always just go on about how I could later work for the United Nations or that I should have chose to do something health related, neither of which I am passionate about. All of it has really impacted my psychological well-being and self-esteem. The only saving grace is that I really enjoy the job that I am doing now, which is filled with supportive people. Oh, and of course I have access to alcohol, which I have to drink in secret. Yet another ridiculous rule that I have to live with because my mum doesn’t like drinking!

      1. Thanks for sharing. Yeah, parents try to enforce their will and desires on you, some of it is selfish and some is with good intentions but bad practice. Their leverage is money. Once you earn enough on your own, you are free

        1. This is super important, the earning your own money and being completely independent of them . Just one word of caution – I am an adult, having long made my escape, and am married in a successful career, totally independent. HOWEVER, my parents are so angry with losing the ability to control me that they start contradicting themselves:

          They are still young but they like cruises, which I think of as for very old people or for very mentally-old people who are too lazy to learn about any new place and want only to be served pre-digested pablum, and to eat predictable cruise buffet food so they never have to try any ethnic cuisine that is not their own cuisine. My parents lie about my job when they meet other people if they think that the other people’s kids have good jobs — ***then my parents get insecure and they make up crazy lies about what I do for a living.***

          But this is where they contradict themselves! They periodically get really angry that I don’t let them decide every aspect of my life and they complain that because I have a really good job that is high paying, I am arrogant and don’t listen to them, and don’t let them decide what town to live in, what car to drive, what type of person to marry, what color to paint my walls (no joke….)

          And then they really blow their fuses and contradict themselves again and say: we regret having a child because you are so disobedient…..and then a few minutes later, say, actually, we should have had more children because you were a failed experiment, and maybe one of the others would have turned out ok. They are jerks and honestly, I don’t love them anymore. I don’t need their approval and now, I look back at their behavior the way a doctor might look at some sort of pathology — oh, I see this pattern of raised red bumps…is a sign of this type of bacterial infection….*hmmm*

    4. Ugh omg yes my mom call anime and manga dumb and not educational EXCuse Me MisS I don’t know you anymore you not my mom. Like can’t asian parents stop controlling us like puppets ( btw srry if that was mean but to me they sound controlling) and make us what they expect us to be. ik they love us but can they not put stress on us and ask what we feel .They never understand us and blame social medias and phone for our mental health. And I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

  40. My parents are super paranoid. I can’t even go to a friends house. If I go outside, I’m quote “going to be kidnapped”. I can’t play video games, and I am practically being forced to be a doctor.

  41. Hello Will Chou,

    Thank you so much for posting these facts. I felt sad but felt relieved because I know I wasn’t going crazy.

    Talking about Asian parents, there are lots of things of talk about (pros and cons, positives and negatives, etc.) I am not sure whether or not Asian parents aware or acknowledge that us Asian children honor to have these parents because they have sacrificed their entire life for us children regardless they are living in the country or immigrants. I hope they see that most of us Asian children sacrifice our own dreams to fulfill THEIR dreams. Us Asians are one of the successful people in the world. We’ve contributed a lot of knowledge and helped to build a better community and world. I am proud to be Asian. But that’s just in general… in personal, most of us hid our tears because we cast away our happiness to make our Asian parents happy.

    I read all the comments regarding this post, and I am happy for the ones that don’t have strict parents. You are now doctors, pharmacist, etc. But please don’t forget that those are your passion, that’s why your life went pretty smooth. On the other hand for the Asian children, we were struggling with mental issue.

    For instance, myself, I am 30 now. Let’s rewind to when I was 18. I wanted to be a fashion designer after graduating from high school. My parents, both, are tailors. Naturally, I was walking on the right path. Unfortunately, NO! My parents forces me to study pre-pharmacy when no one in our families have had a degree in medical field. I was just 18 but I thought a lot about them because I was thinking my parents have sacrifice for me to have a better life by having a good education and profession. I agreed with them and studied pre-pharmacy for 4.5 years. Did I succeed? Sadly, no. I got so sick with a migraine from studying these courses, so I had to stop. That’s when they realized I have no passion for this field.

    I understand they love me a lot. And here’s a “bad” thing about Asian parents, they love and care for their children to a point that they don’t pay attention to their children’s wants. They think their choices are the best and the best for them. I am 30 now, but I am still struggling with them because all these years in the USA I have been there eyes, ears, mouth, and legs. Meaning they are non English speakers. Everything is on me. Even the easiest thing which they can manage they wanted me to drop everything and do it for them. They don’t say it, but they make you feel that way and make you feel guilty. I thought after I had my bachelor’s degree (in accounting), I should have the right to choose my own life. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop there.

    A year ago I had to “love myself” more because I was in a depression. I went to see a psychologist, and they told me I AM the one need to untied the knot that has been tangled all these years. A year ago, I met my fiance (father my child), and he’s actually “the key” to unlock the cell I had been in for the 20+ years. I wrote a letter to parents and moved out. I took a big risk which I knew, but I can’t live with my parents because I had curfews and can’t go anywhere without them.

    Anyway… I will stop here because it makes me sad for keep going. I wish Asian parents can be more open-minded whether they are immigrants or living in the country.

    1. Thanks for writing in. I read your entire comment, and I can relate on many ways, no exactly but enough. I too can see how Asians are generally very successful in America but their extreme views and rigidity hold their children back from the potential they have. They have a lot of pros and I’m proud to be Asian too. Yet I understand they have cons too. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, we all have problems …. and? We can sit here whining about them or succeed in spite of them. We have the control to decide to forgo the opinions of others, especially our parents, and pursue our dreams. We have our own will and freedom. Don’t let others hold you down — you have the ability to make it happen.

    2. I agree with you mostly. Just live for yourself, that’s it.
      But I don’t agree with you said that “My parents force me to study prepharmacy when no one in our families has had a degree in the medical field.” Don’t think like that. There is no relationship between your parents and you.
      I hope you can raise your child as you wish to your parents, but don’t tell your child “I didn’t get the degree in the medical field, neither do you.”

  42. same goes for me all the mistakes with how Asian parents treat there child’s are true and speaking of those 9 reasons i am 9 and i am turning 10 this year and my mom and dad don’t trust me to do anything even though they tell me “i love you” in the end there mad at me for something i didn’t do or something like i hurt my older sister they tell me i can’t hit her but she can hit me and they don’t care. My sister even calls me a dog all they do is just stand there and tell me tips.

    1. Many parents don’t see the full picture. My parents would catch me doing stuff to my siblings but my siblings would “get away with it” I was mad, but I had confirmation bias. I was only remembering the times I did get caught and not when I didn’t

  43. this made my cry because it was so true. i cant tell u how many times i wish i was white or i wish that my parents were different. now that im going through this i hope i never treat my children the way my parents did.

      1. How about Asian parents considering grown up children as an ATM?. I feel so exhausted because my mom keeps taunting me how I should continuously pay them back in form of money for raising me so yes, they made me pay them huge sum of money (excluding their vacation expenses and expensive gifts from me). They supported me financially only until high school, after that I did bachelor’s master’s on my own hard work.
        Recently, I stopped giving them money after doing it enough . I still send her money but not as regular as I used to. I am struggling to save money for my future but she keeps being sarcastic that I am bad daughter for not sending them monthly expenses. They own a nice house (bank loan fully paid by my other sibling as a payback to them), dad is still working and making good money, and mom also makes some money from renting property. I just feel like our parents are being more and more greedy even though they have enough . How can parents love be so selfish like this?. I promise, I would never do this to my kid, I will support them until they are independent adults . I would never expect any money payback just for raising them. For me Middle class Asian culture sucks, I have no financial freedom as parents become too greedy, for them their kids are like business investment who has to return them monetary value. I don’t mind helping my parents in need but because of their endless greediness, My sibling and I am slowly starting to resent on our parents.

        1. I agree. That’s not your fault. Of course, you’d resent your parents. My parents have talked about this cultural expectation to me too, yet I don’t get the sense they want me to send them money. They have complained that their own parents expected this and it cost them a lot of problems. Of course you’d be angry — especially without college or grad support from them. From a personal finance perspective, there’s so much more you can do by investing that money for yourself. Plus, it’s worse that they’re already doing well and sitting pretty financially.

          Let go. Say no. Ignore what they think or how they whine. You’re a free adult. Explain to them rationally why as best you can — show empathy but explain you want to invest in yourself and they have enough money. Don’t feel obligated to response to everything. You have no obligations to let these chains hold you once they stop paying for you.

  44. This is a good article and eye opening. I hope my parents could stumble upon this article because I’m a product of tiger parenting. Right now I’m on my senior year of electronics engineering even though I never wanted to be one. On top of the things you’ve listed, my anemia worsened because of bad health habits like sleeping very late and waking up very early and then stressing out about your grades. One time I had a 99 and they jokingly said “Why not 101” I know it was a joke but I worked so hard for it and I couldn’t stop my tears.

    1. Well, you can share this article with them. But that said, you can’t change your parents. Believe me, I’ve tried. We all have… for years. Getting enough sleep will make a huge difference. I tried many techniques but what did it for me was an obligation — waking up early for my job

  45. I suppose I’m pretty lucky. I’ve been a physician for the last several years and have a Chinese-American background. I knew of some crazy stories growing up in terms of strictness but I’m glad my parents were not that strict with me. As long as I kept up my grades (which weren’t very strict, I just needed to be an A- student or better, aka 90+), I could play all the video games, sleepovers, whatever. For me, the career choices were more doctor/engineer/professor – they did not want me to be a lawyer for sure and although many of my family friends and family did it, they did not want me to do finance either. I agree with some of the points – but the reason my parents wanted me to be one of those 3 jobs was mainly because it represented (in their eyes) the highest representation of intelligence – the MD/PhD (or even both!) . Granted, these degrees are now a dime a dozen but my parents preferred degrees over money. I chose medicine initially out of the 3 because I’m bad at math (asian bad, not regular bad) and I hate research and I felt in medicine because there were so many different fields, you could eventually find something you love (and i did).

    1. Thanks for your story and perspective. That’s great that it wasn’t too bad of an experience and you found your passion. Interesting how your parents wanted degrees over money

  46. Thank you for writing this article and shedding light on some of the truth about Asian parents. I want to follow my dreams and be a musician when I grow up. But obviously ( in the mind of an Asian parent), that field of work makes less of an income than say a lawyer or a doctor will make.
    So do I follow my dreams to the disapproval of my parents and relatives? Or do I do something I hate that will supposedly earn me more of an income in life with praise from my parents? I’m stuck. I feel that whatever path I choose in life, I’ll end up losing in the end.

    1. It’s a tough call. Some people successfully do both, leveraging the musician thing as a backup until it takes off. The book Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau goes into detail on that. Others take gap years knowing that they have to go 100% with no back up plan for a while to succeed

  47. Well I’m lucky. I have the best parents in the world, and they are Asian. My brother is a corporate lawyer, and I’m a newly minted doctor. Mission accomplished. Growing up my parents sacrificed so much moving to the US and worked their way up the ladder. They moved just so my brother and I won’t have to experience the difficulties they faced living in their home country. My parents worked hard to provide shelter, food, education, and fund our hobbies (I love video games and although my parents hated it, they still bought it for me because it made me happy.). They always put our needs before their own. They never once forced me and my brother to become a doctor or lawyer, but they did make it known that some degrees provide security while others are risky and downright useless. Sure I became a doctor because helping people is great, the financial stability, but also I can help give back to my parents in the best way possible (helping them medically). Additionally, I did it for the prestige. I know they like to talk about me and my brother’s accomplishments and that’s perfectly fine. I want to make it known they are the model parents, and in return I worked hard so that I can honor them in the best way possible.

      1. If you had asian parents you would be writing the exact opposite, the stereotype is usually correct. They act like the nicest people in the universe in public, then when you get home they scream about you about literally every single wrong thing you do.

      1. They are good at making sure people live their lives and pushing their own agendas onto their kids, sure. But, the emotional abuse, manipulation, and toxicity of most asian parents offsets any good they do. There is just so much wrong with their thinking.

        1. Would you rather be Mexican American? African American? South African? Ethiopian? Australian? I’d rather not. Asians are thriving in America. My goal is for this blog post to promote an objective analysis on what can be better and what they do right when compared to data, science, and analysis of successful people. I tried emphasizing this point in the intro saying that Asian parents aren’t all bad. That’s why I will write a post on what they do well. I’d like to make this article you read a place of constructive growth rather than a breeding ground of pure negative energy, which is what I feared and will not permit in the comments any longer. Sending you love

    1. I am proud of my hardworking Asian parents. The reason for what they did just want us to have a better life. “From Zero to One” is harder than “from One to Two”. Immigration is always a hard thing. But our parents did it and raised us. I believe Asians are the most successful immigrant groups among all races.

  48. thanks for this. Atleast i can live another day. i share in your views am also an upcoming writer in this subject

  49. If you know your mom has never gotten grades as good as yours, then don’t let her standards get to you. She is obviously being a hypocrite, and may even be jealous that she will never match up to you. That, or it’s the patriarchal views that are common in Indian society that makes her act this way.

  50. My Indian parents are absolutely the worst!!! I could relate to every single one of these. I mean on my report card this grading period I got two 101’s four 100’s and one 99, and I heard my mom say “That’s not good enough!” Like what do you expect from me lady!!! And also have you ever experienced when you have to work while your younger or older brother just sits there playing video games, I’m a girl just so you know. And it is so obvious that my brother is my mom’s favorite no matter how much she denies it.

    1. Hi Pooja, glad you found value in this article.
      You can’t let your parents’ distorted extreme standards distort you too much. Also, never let envy or resentment or “fairness” distort you either. Set your own standards. You are already a rockstar! Tell yourself that.

    2. I can definitely relate with you and all these points. My Indian parents take all my things if they don’t seem satisfied with what I do and are absolute hypocrites. I got my test results back recently and once they see all my amazing grades, which I spent hours of effort and practice into, they just ignore it and only focus on everything else. They always try to find some excuse after another and assume things which aren’t even true. I honestly can’t live the rest of my life with them. I don’t know why they have no absolute grasp with the rest of modern society but are just incapable of everything. I will be a better parent than they ever were to me and will let my child be there own person and not control them through their lives.

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