Breaking the Stereotype
Asian parents. They value grades above all else; anything less than a hundred percent means doom for the poor student. The stereotype is wellknown in the Bay Area, and there are definitely parents who put that kind of pressure on their children. Luckily for me, my parents don’t fall under that category. I am a fairly average Asian kid who presents the same problems to my parents as many other Asian kids do, but instead of forcing me to do hours upon hours of math problems or get perfect scores on all of my tests, my parents have supported my interests (which don’t include math) and considered improvement more important than A’s. This has played a major role in reducing the stress in my life.
Last year, I failed a math test for the first time. Now, you’re probably thinking, “you failed a math test and yet your parents let you live long enough to write this essay? Impossible!” Thankfully, it’s not. I was extremely worried about how my mom and dad would react. My friends, who receive much more pressure from their parents than I do, were more scared that I was. I’m sure they pictured me being kicked out of the house or locked in my room for fifty years. The reality? Of course, my parents were very disappointed, but instead of grounding me for life, my dad simply told me to get a copy of the test from my math teacher and study the problems I missed until I thoroughly understood them. I received no punishment or major scolding at all. My parents cared more about making sure I understood what I was learning than the actual test grade.
Evidently, my parents are quite different from many other Asian parents in the Bay Area. After all, I received not a B, not a C, not even a D, but an F†on my test, and yet their response was much better than that of some parents when met with an A. I am truly grateful for this, as well as the fact that my parents did not create an athome math boot camp in order to improve my grades like some parents do.
Sometimes, I wonder how my mom and dad have lasted the past thirteen years. I am a stubborn kid who doesn’t like math and science. My interest in liberal arts won’t be as useful as STEM in getting me a good job, but even so, they support my reading and writing, and they don’t try to force me to take the other road and go for STEM instead. I give my parents a lot of stress, but they rarely yell at me, and they give me a lot of freedom to make my own choices. Of course, this may be because they have already given up on my ability to compete with others at my school in terms of math and science, or maybe it’s because I haven’t reached my “teen rebellion” stage, but whatever the reason, we get along unnaturally well compared to a lot of people my age. Because of our good relationship, I have survived middle school with minimal amounts of stress. What little I did feel was mostly caused by my unfortunate habit of procrastination. I know I will also make it through high school the same way, and that I will face much less stress than many of my classmates. I am insanely thankful that my parents broke the Asian parent stereotype, because the way they have raised me will definitely help me live life to the fullest.