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1 April 2018

1 April 2018
Not too long ago, I visited my cousin’s family In Pennsylvania; the couple have four children: Caleb, Hannah, Sarah, and Rachel, age 5 to 10. Let me tell you, the couple are doing everything wrong in raising kids in the eyes of Hong Kong parents. By the first hour of the reunion, however, I found myself asking the parents what they had fed their kids to make them so heavenly.
The kids are active, polite, disciplined. They help each other, share food, and speak confidently. They are conscientious on cleanliness and health; they are strong and just wear a long-sleeved cotton T-shirt with a jacket, and shorts (I was wearing a down jacket and still freezing). Everyone talks with the indoor voice; no one is shouting at any time. Oh, and none of the kids has a mobile phone. During the time I was with the family, I only saw once that a girl asked politely to use the parent’s phone. It was declined amiably in a barely-audible voice without a fuss.
The parents let the kids do chores and occasionally reward each by 25 cents: do a load of laundry and put on hangers, wash dishes and dry them, clean the table and take out the garbage. Where does the money go?  The kids had a shopping spree at a Tuesday market where they used their own money to buy whatever they wanted: Lego figures, fluffy dolls, sweets, etc. Each kid easily burnt $10 with their “hard-earned” money in 30 minutes.  Through this, the kids learn the value of hard work, and learn how to budget.
What is the difference between their parenting techniques and most Hong Kong parents’?  They let the kids do their own thinking, and they do NOT nag. Hong Kong parents over-worried and don’t want to see any “mistakes”. For example, the couple let the boy choose two main courses in the cafe, which we all knew he could not finish, but they reminded him that if he could not finish, he would take the leftover home for the following day. They let the kids be responsible for their deeds, whereas Hong Kong parents would probably order food for their kids because “they know what their kids want”. Do they?
I am happy to see some parents, and children, are doing well and responsible.
Anson Yang