The Asian Parent Syndrome

by Original Bitter Asian Men on September 14, 2008

One of the major factors contributing to Asian Male bitterness is no doubt the parents. Now don’t get me wrong. Asian Parents are generally loving, caring, and doting; nevertheless, there are two very important factors that Asian Parents have on their kids, especially their sons, that instill bitterness.

Academics Over Social Life
The first factor is the pressure. Oh, the pressure. If you think you know what parental pressure is, and you’re not Asian, you are wrong. Asian kids are consistently expected to do more and do better than their peers, and hell, even kids twice their age. Therefore, almost all Asian children 1) will play an instrument (a dignified classical instrument at that, and certainly not electric guitar) 2) will study math at an accelerated pace – I was doing calculus in middle school 3) will participate in as many extracurricular activities as possible (all academic though, never sports) and 4) take standardized tests early and as many times as necessary to achieve a perfect score.

Asian parents instill the notion of ‘you must succeed‘ (by which they mean academic success, not social success) so early that by the time they reach high school, Asian kids are walking zombies reciting scientific facts like gospel. This problem is only exacerbated by the Asian trait (so common I swear it must be genetic) to compare children. Inevitably in any Asian child’s life, they will hear a line similar to “Why aren’t you taking calculus yet? Jim Wong’s son is a year younger than you and he is!”, or “You only got a 1550 on the SAT? Sally Lee’s daughter got a 1590!” or “What, you mean you’re not valedictorian!?” Though all Asian kids are driven by their parents to be geniuses, of course, only a few of them are actually capable of being geniuses. Those that aren’t live constantly under the vague impression that their parents wish their kids were better, while those who ARE, of course, live constantly under the vague impression that their parents believe they COULD be doing better.

Obviously such academic pressure leaves no time for a social life. Dating isn’t mentioned in the Asian household, and girls only come up as a topic of discussion if they’re horrifically smart and if your parents want to compare you to them. If dating is allowed, of course, the girlfriend must be Asian and must be smart (though not as smart as you, of course, as that would hurt the Family Honor). The end result is that Asian kids are disproportionately Book Smart over Street Smart. They can explain to you the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus but never grasp the fundamental rules of dating. Of course, there are Asian kids who don’t listen to these parents. They might go out, switch girlfriends monthly like they’re football players, and never study and always party. These kids are disowned and never mentioned to the relatives.

This trend continues into college somewhat, until about the age of 21 or so. By this point the Asian child’s path in life is relatively clear, and the Asian parents begin the OTHER inevitable lines that every Asian child hears in their lifetime: “Why haven’t you met a nice Chinese/Japanese/Korean girl yet and given us grandchildren?” Asian parents are usually oblivious to the fact that they’ve systematically destroyed the social competence of their children, yet they expect them to be smooth maverick playboys as young adults, charming women all around. An Asian son who fails to maintain a steady girlfriend and fiancee faces increasingly irritating ‘advice’ on how to find women and insinuations that he might be gay. This vicious one-two punch of social emasculation and later social expectation pretty much means that the Asian son is under constant pressure from the time he enters grade school to the time he’s produced grandchildren.

Despite it all, Asian kids generally love their parents very much. We respect family and our relatives. We don’t go out getting drunk and knocking up some random girl, not only because it’s a generally Bad Thing to Do, but also because of how much it would hurt our parents. Asian kids take care of their parents long after other kids have shuffled their parents off to nursing homes. In short, despite all the grief Asian parents are capable of dishing out, their kids still love them – a fact Asians don’t get enough credit for.

Inheriting Stereotypes
The other area where Asian parents cause their sons no amount of grief is not really their fault. Actually, it’s the stereotypes that the former generations cause the latter generations to inherit. Let me explain.

One common criticism to the points we make on this site is something along the lines of: “Of COURSE girls don’t want Asian men! Asian men are sexist pigs who expect their wives to stay in the kitchen, not speak unless being spoken to, walk five paces behind their husband, and bear as many children as necessary until they give their husband a son!” This is where the stereotypes come in. While it’s true that maybe two generations ago, such views were valid, things are not the same today. And yet the view still holds. It’s so bad such that Asian girls born in America, having seen how their father treats their mother or how their grandfather treats their grandmother, swears she’ll never date an Asian man, because she mistakenly assumes that all the Asian men her age will treat her like that. This assumption is fallacious as any Asian man born in America will likewise have seen how his grandfather has treated his grandmother and sworn never to do the same. Yet this will never help him because Asian girls will run away from him in needless fear.

White girls, too, while not having witnessed such Asian sexism firsthand, usually will have heard generalized accounts on how subservient Asian women are, and will have heard statements of varying validity, ranging from the fairly sad but true such as “Asian husbands will put their work before you” to the completely invalid in the modern day like “Asian husbands will make you bind your feet”. The end result is the same. The modern girl who has her eyes on career and a semi-independent life will be told “Don’t marry an Asian – you’ll never see anything but the inside of a kitchen for the rest of your life”.

This inheritance of stereotypes is insidious in large part because the Asian male can do nothing about it. He can treat all the girls he knows in as gentlemanly a manner as possible (a move likely to put him on the Friends Ladder – see the Ladder Theory in our Links for more), and still the average girl will be told, by the stereotype

“Oh sure, he treats you nicely now. Just wait until you have to cook his food and bear his sons.”

That’s not to say that no Asian men today are like that – there are still some that are. It’s just that we’re all painted with the same negative brush that’s really frustrating. This stereotype is like saying that all Southerners must be racist, since not even fifty years ago blacks had to sit in the back of the bus and use separate water fountains – while calling Southerners racist, like calling Asian men sexist, might still be true for some members of the population, it by no means holds true for everybody.

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