Maybe It’s Time for a Little Hardass Asian Parenting

October 28th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

It was pretty clear to me as a kid that my batshit-crazy aunt and uncle were so entirely consumed with their unhappy marriage, that they took a very sloppy, broad-handed (machete as opposed to scalpel) approach to Hardass Asian Parenting. With four young kids at once (three little boys and their wide-eyed older sister), it didn’t matter so much that one had good piano fingers, one was good at wind instruments, and two were good at violin–everybody got piano lessons. Everybody got the same math grades using the same math books, or they were grounded. Hell, everybody got the same haircut, and if they cried… well, they didn’t cry. And when it came to teaching life lessons like self-respect and dignity, the execution was simple and equally blunt–keep the boys inside and don’t let the daughter ever leave the house looking like a tramp. Example: (machete) my female cousin was never allowed to leave the house wearing shorts.




So of course, homegirl always left the house in a floor-length skirt and promptly yanked it off behind the neighbor’s bushes so that she could skip to campus with the teeniest, tiniest, barely-shorts-pretty-much-undies attire she could. This eventually evolved into miniskirts and half-shirts, then minidresses and half-buttoned blouses. And so on and so forth. All the while, she hated her parents, and the look on her face always said so–a disastrous outcome, by any standard.

I always thought that if they hadn’t been so heavy-handed about the damn shorts, then my lady cousin’s gams wouldn’t have been so desperate to BREATHE, and she wouldn’t have felt forever obliged into adulthood to incorporate “tiny” into her daily wardrobe. Why didn’t her mom just tell her, “Listen, you’re skinny. You’re pretty. Wear whatever you want. I believe you will make the right choice,” and call it a day? I bet she would have ended up and smart pantsuits and cute, knee-length pencil skirts paired with cardigans by college. And the girl could avoided the years of lying, the hiding, the scowling moments spent wearing her stupid summer pants while grumbling “I hate you. I HATE YOU!” next to her mother. Right?

Hmm. I guess that scowly tramp face happens no matter how you’re parented.


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