Differences in Western and Asian Parenting Style

The chasm between the parenting style adopted by parents in Western countries and their counterparts in Asian countries is almost as wide as the geographical distance between the two sides of the hemisphere.

If you happen to be an Asian bringing up children in USA or UK you might be alarmed at the soft, hands-off approach of parenting used by parents there. If you on the other hand happen to be a Westerner living in the East, the harsh disciplining practiced by parents will undoubtedly shock you and even terrify you enough to call in the police or the child right activists.

The differences are so glaring that while in an Asian country like Singapore or China, no one bats an eyelid if the parent decides to discipline an errant child with a cane in full public view; in the West even a light reprimand may cause the child or the neighbors to lodge a complaint against the parents who may be questioned or even detained if charged for child abuse.

Another significant difference in parenting style is exhibited in how in Asian countries children even to the age of five years often sleep with their parents or in the same room whereas in the West even a new born is made to sleep in own cot in a separate room. Both have their reasons in doing what they do and both find it difficult to relate to each other’s parenting style.

The reason why the parenting styles in the East and the West are so different is because of how the society has evolved over generations in these regions.

The Western countries have tried out the harsher variant of child disciplining methods and found them ineffective. Education; awareness of human rights and child rights issues coupled with strict laws have made parents wary of being accused of child abuse if they as much as raise their voice against them.

Moreover a more permissive society in the West influenced deeply by media has led to a general laxity in rules in homes and schools which gives room to youngsters to do their own thing.  Many parents do not want to project themselves as role models rather want to befriend the child to bridge the age gap. In other cases, with both the parents working full-time, there is not much time to deal with child disciplining issues.

On the other hand, in Asian countries the familial bond is very strong right from the beginning. Rules are laid out with parents and grandparents being available as role models. There is little tolerance for indiscipline and respect for elders is not a privilege but a right enjoyed by elders and imbibed in children right from the beginning.

Ironically corporal punishment practiced in some of the schools in Asian countries like India can actually be traced back to the time of British occupation. However, it is now widely accepted that corporal punishment and other forms of punitive action for children are not only physically hurtful but also mentally and socially demeaning for children and the practice has been discontinued in most schools.

Many parents in urban Asia are also moving to softer approaches for disciplining children but many parents who belong to the old school of thought still believe in the adage of ‘Spare the Rod and Spoil the child’.