Western vs Chi­nese par­ents

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Lisa Linssen

Hon­estly, I have to ad­mit that my par­ents do not re­ally take a big part in my life. In the end, it comes down to the fact they have their own life, I have mine and we are very re­spect­ful of each other’s life choices. My par­ents would not tell me what to wear, where to spend my va­ca­tion, not to drink al­co­hol or which car to buy. In their eyes, th­ese are all de­ci­sions I have to make for my­self.

Some­times, I find this dis­tance a lit­tle bit dis­ap­point­ing be­cause I would like some sup­port and ad­vice from them.

At the same time, I some­times listen to my Chi­nese friend’s con­ver­sa­tions with their par­ents, and I am glad that my par­ents do not in­ter­vene in my life as much. It is not un­com­mon for my friends from China who live in Europe to be sent on blind dates by their par­ents. Some­thing that would be un­think­able in my own fam­ily. Ac­tu­ally, it is quite the con­trary. They have never met my boyfriend, and a meet­ing is not sched­uled any­time soon.

Cer­tainly, my fam­ily might be a bit ex­treme, even by West- ern stan­dards. But gen­er­ally speak­ing, I think that Euro­peans grant their chil­dren more free­dom to make their own de­ci­sions. It is be­lieved that if a child is happy with their par­ents, they will nat­u­rally come back to them when­ever they need their par­ents again. There­fore, par­ents should try to in­trude less.

As far as I’ve heard, in China, the fam­ily is much more in­volved in the lives of their chil­dren. It al­ways seems much more like a fam­ily de­ci­sion rather than one done by the child in­di­vid­u­ally. Also, a lot of my friends live with their par­ents, so the par­ents’ in­volve­ment is nat­u­rally much higher.

I have met peo­ple in China who broke up with a part­ner be­cause their par­ents didn’t like them. Cer­tainly this can hap­pen in any fam­ily, but I be­lieve that many chil­dren in China seek ad­vice from their fam­ily and listen more to what they say.

Of course, the dif­fer­ences in parenting and par­ent-chil­dren re­la­tion­ships are a cul­tural thing. Of­ten on so­cial me­dia, the ques­tion of whether we owe some­thing to our par­ents is raised. Most peo­ple in Ger­many I know would ar­gue that we don’t. I think this ques­tion would be an­swered dif­fer­ently in China.

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