Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Disciplining Kids – Are Asian parents too demanding?

Saw an article that a good friend had posted this morning.

The article talks about how parents have increasingly substituted yelling for spanking. Speaking as a parent, I am certainly guilty of yelling at our kids occasionally.

The article points out that often times yelling is related to irritability and anxiety. I think it is by and large true in our case. The reason for irritability/frustration with our kids is different for the two of them. The younger one really takes time at some activities which lands her in trouble e.g. taking more than an hour at times to finish a single meal. The older one more often than not gets into trouble because a)she is talking back/not behaving nicely to others or b) because she is being lazy with her schoolwork and not applying herself.

This got me thinking whether I as an Asian American parent am more irritable than the average because my expectations are more rigid? I am not sure. Growing up in India, there was definitely a very black and white attitude to acceptable behavior. And yes, there was definitely the extreme focus on academics that defines the Asian stereotype. We were expected to do well in school. My wife, who grew up in the US/Europe, also experienced a similar upbringing – her parents are from India and have similar values to other Indians of their generation – in India or elsewhere.

While we are more easygoing/forgiving than our parents, or at least we like to think so, is our behavior towards our kids largely governed by how our parents treated us? I think so. If that is the case, I do think, Indian Americans are probably stricter and more demanding parents than the average.



Racial stereotypes

You know how racial stereotypes are absolutely annoying. Check this video out. Very funny.

Interesting Science Experiments

Check this out. Arvind Gupta is my brother’s classmate from IIT and has done extensive work with poor children in improving their science literacy.

Daddy, I want to be white

Riya, our younger daughter, used to say this a lot when she was around four years old. She was at a preschool where the vast majority of kids were white. Her friends at school were white, her dolls were white, the kids on the TV were white, the people on the street were white but she wasn’t. We went through whole long-winded explanation on how there are different types of people from different parts of the world who look different but somehow that never entirely satisfied her. We have moved since then and now live in an area that has a lot of ethnicities. Riya hasn’t expressed a desire to change her pigmentation lately. It could be because she sees other nationalities around her and more kids like her that she doesn’t feel uncomfortable that she stands out any more. I certainly hope so.

Any similar stories and how you dealt with the situation?