Stereotypes arise from minor facts being blown out of proportion. As a parent of a specific culture, you may feel people apply certain stereotypes to you and your parenting style. While it’s easy to label the people using these stereotypes as “racist” or “insensitive,” it is more beneficial to you to understand these stereotypes and where they come from. Being a parent is hard enough, so avoid putting unnecessary social stress on yourself by learning the origin of these cultural parenting stereotypes.
“Chinese parents love boys and hate girls.”
That’s the stereotype, at least. But the slight gender preference in Chinese parents for boys has been exaggerated to a large degree. Chinese parents have traditions for both boys and girls, and that of the boy is to carry the family name to the next generation. In China, where the one-child policy reigns over urban areas, parents are aborting girls in favor of boys. These parents are prompted with the question whether to have a boy or girl due to unnatural government restraints. In their point of view, carrying the family name into the future takes more importance than having a cute little girl running around the house. But Chinese parents in other parts of the world, including the United States, do not have to choose between having one boy or having one girl, making this stereotype mostly unfounded.
“Black parents don’t control their kids.”
Ever hear something like that or witness a young African-American child unattended in public? It’s unlikely that parents of specific race simply cannot control their children, and if that were true, evolution would have eliminated them. Yet, African-Americans live on, making us reevaluate this stereotype. In fact, different cultures see the growth of their children in different lights. African-American parents just happen to be from a culture where children are given more independence at a younger age. African-American parents believe that their children can control their emotions well and cooperate with others at an early age.
“Foreign parents don’t teach honesty.”
As many elementary school children may admit, American children are just more honest than foreign children and tell less lies. This stereotype has two origins: an American respect for openness as well as public honesty and other cultures’ acceptance of “white lies.” Because American culture tends to despise lies, American parents put teaching honesty ahead of other moral concepts. However, many foreign cultures do not place such an importance on honesty. Chinese parents are willing to accept lies, as long as those lies have a positive motive, such as protecting the face of one’s family or oneself. Due to these differences, it is not uncommon to notice a bit more lying done in foreign children. Nevertheless, that is not to say that foreign parents do not care about honesty.
“Hispanic parents are too easy on their kids.”
It may seem Hispanic parents just don’t care enough to be strict to their children but this is unfounded. This stereotype comes from differing concepts of respect. In many cultures, such as American culture and many Asian cultures, children should respect adults first and themselves second. But in many Hispanic cultures, parents teach their children to first respect themselves and take pride in who they are. It may be true that such cultures downplay the respect for elders to an extent, but Hispanic parents are not simply turning the other cheek when their children are rude to adults.