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Asian Parents Frenzy

guamboyguamboy Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
I am currently a high school senior. I am waiting to hear back from colleges, and this is a reflection of my high school years. These past few days have been ridden with bad anxiety. However, this anxiety does not root from my fear of failure, but rather from my failure of disappointing my parents. My parents both grew up in Korea, and did not go to college. I grew up on Guam, a completely different environment from that of my parents'. Because of this difference in cultures, my parents are unfamiliar with the US education system. They do not realize that simply cutting off my social life and putting me into a million tutors aren't a one-way ticket to Harvard (or any other Ivy). Going to an Ivy-league school is not a choice; it's a privilege. I don't know how successful I would've been without my parents' leash around my neck, but with their forceful means, I am able to compete with other prospective Ivy League students as I patiently wait for the decisions to come. My main point is this: how can we put an end to Asian parents' madness? Their naive understanding of the college application process hurts their children emotionally. Every time my parents talk to me about colleges, the distance between us grows further. I don't remember the last time I had a conversation without my dad throwing a message about college. It's completely unfair for Asian parents to put this kind of pressure on their children. Sometimes, I wonder if they are so pushy with college because they want us to succeed OR so they can brag about it to other Asian parents? Does any student/parent relate to this?
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Replies to: Asian Parents Frenzy

  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 8,892 Senior Member
    guamboy wrote:
    Going to an Ivy-league school is not a choice; it's a privilege.

    Well, it's also made possible (or impossible) by a lifetime of choices.
    how can we put an end to Asian parents' madness?

    We can't, and any attempt to do so will end in frustration and futility. Whether it would even be desirable at all is another matter, and one that has been debated ad nauseam, so I hope this thread doesn't derail into that discussion.
    Does any student/parent relate to this?

    What do you expect to happen in the Parents forum? Disapproval and approval in some ratio, no solutions, no agreement. I'm sure many, many can relate (I can, even, as a long-time teacher in Asia, in the heart of the belly of the beast of the tiger mom), but so what? If you want commiseration, the high school life forum would probably be better. Here you're more likely to get anecdotes about other parents, and when parents judge other parents' methods, conflict is sure to follow.
  • epiphanyepiphany Registered User Posts: 8,256 Senior Member
    Well, I relate to it because I encounter this misunderstanding about the importance of "a name" all the time. It's based on ignorance, and the only thing you can hope, as their dependent, is their enlightenment by other parents, but particularly if you can locate more knowledgeable Asian parents to correct these misunderstandings.

    As to choice vs. privilege, it's more a question not of that, but of what is necessary or essential to succeed, not to mention relative to the field of study chosen by the student. In some countries it may be "necessary" to get into a certain stratum of college in order to get even recognized as legitimate in the job market. Not in the United States of America. This is a failure to become acquainted with an entirely different culture, not to mention a failure to compute the thousands of opportunities available in this country vs. in other countries.
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 8,892 Senior Member
    epiphany wrote:
    In some countries it may be "necessary" to get into a certain stratum of college in order to get even recognized as legitimate in the job market. Not in the United States of America.

    Not all Asian applicants will end up pursuing careers in the US. In China and Korea, the name on your diploma very definitely matters, something I've had to come to terms with to some degree in my many years in Seoul.
  • myactualnamemyactualname Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    My parents are sort of Asian (my family's ethnic background is really complicated lol) but they aren't bad at all with me; my brother, on the other hand, is a different story. My friend's mom, however, seems exactly how you are describing. She is an immigrant to the US from China, and her opinion on whether or not my friend is a failure rests on his grades and what colleges he will get into (and he's only a freshman!) She really does control his life- tutors, Kumon, anything to get him into a prestigious med school. Nevermind that he doesn't need any of this (he's already way ahead of most people intelligence and grade-wise) and he's still a freshman!

    I think the reason she, and so many other Asian parents I know (including some family members), act like this really is out of care for their kids. Many of the Asian parents I know are immigrants, for whom one of the main reasons they came to the US is so that their kids could have a better education. I think many of them really are trying to give their kids what they think are better lives and greater opportunities. unfortunately, such as in my friend's case, they are really just 'burning them out' and making them lose their freedom and love of learning.

    Anyways, my parents aren't really like this, so I can't say anything firsthand, but from what family and friends' parents have told me, it is out of real concern for their kids. Of course, its not like they'd admit it if it was to brag...
  • epiphanyepiphany Registered User Posts: 8,256 Senior Member
    Not all Asian applicants will end up pursuing careers in the US. In China and Korea, the name on your diploma very definitely matters, something I've had to come to terms with to some degree in my many years in Seoul.
    Naturally. I do and did know that. ;) I am speaking about the parents I meet, 98% of whom are permanently here, as are there offspring. It's possible that I encounter a skewed population in that regard. And most of those who will seek jobs in China and Korea have applied as Internationals; those parents are remaining overseas. Student will get educated here, then return. But that's a small percentage of the parents I meet. The overwhelming majority are U.S. residents and will remain so, as will their offspring.
  • guamboyguamboy Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    @myactualname consider yourself lucky that you don't have to grow up in this kind of environment. I realize that this pressure comes from parents' concern for their children, but such concern is not always translated properly. In the eyes of the children, it's pure tyrannical ignorance. The path to a good name school is not as smooth as an Asian parent thinks. You can't just pick up a pen and pencil and start grinding as they wish you would.. thanks for trying to empathize
  • guamboyguamboy Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    @epiphany unfortunately, Asian parents only seek enlightenment from their superiors. In this case, superiors refer to anyone with a child that went to an even more successful college (it is unlikely that the parent went to a successful college themself). This creates a never ending cycle. The inferior, if successful in sending his child to a good college, will 'enlighten' other parents.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 8,226 Senior Member
    @citymama9: I'm pretty certain that rates of depression among Asian-Americans (at any age level) aren't higher than average. In fact, I believe they are lower.
  • guamboyguamboy Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    @PurpleTitan perhaps so. But we are speaking of depression among Asian-American students during the college application process. I don't think that any other students are faced with the same kind of pressure.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 26,841 Senior Member
    We see a lot of students with this dilemma. I think it is harder if your family doesn't live stateside, too. It may be harder to get a guidance counselor or other parents to inject reason into the process. Sorry -- if you can get them out here to CC, we try to help. Hang in there.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,075 Senior Member
    @guamboy -- I understand what you are saying. You probably feel that you don't get praise or encouragement that you would like for many accomplishments, because in your parent's eyes they don't measure up to very lofty goals.
  • prof2dadprof2dad Registered User Posts: 483 Member
    edited March 19
    The OP's pain is indeed not unique. It is an issue that the Asian American community, in which I am a member of it, would need to address.

    But I do want to encourage the OP to see this entire thing from a different perspective: what is your alternative? Can you imagine what you would need to go through if you parents did not bring you to the US? What if you had your education in Korea? I think you are simply much better off here. :)
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 3,762 Senior Member
    OP, you have made a huge effort. Whether you are admitted or not, you will be the same person you are today. No dumber, & no smarter. Try to realize that, no matter what happens.

    Based on what you have said, it sounds like they will be disappointed, no matter what. Try to prepare yourself for that. Try not to let them transfer that feeling to you.

    It may also help for someone to tell them that perfect grades and test scores alone will not get you into an Ivy. Ivies want to see extracurricular activities, and achievements that can't be developed with a book, a desk, and a tutor.

    Also, remind them that in the US there is no job that you can get to from an Ivy League school that you can't get to from a Big Ten University (for example).

    Finally, consider that your choice of majors has a bigger impact on your future than your choice of school. Investigate what majors are right for you and choose well.

  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 8,892 Senior Member
    epiphany wrote:
    But that's a small percentage of the parents I meet. The overwhelming majority are U.S. residents and will remain so, as will their offspring.

    I'm sure this thread shouldn't be limited to parents you meet.
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