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Communication with Parents


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I know its usually parents who are desperate to know how to talk to their children and not the other way round, but here goes.


My family is Chinese and we are THE typical traditional value family. Having that said my parents are actually quite open with our choices on religion, career path, partners and etc. They trust us to make our own decision and would eventually agree with our choice, even if they are not happy about it, they would let it go as it is our life and not theirs.


My relationship with my parents are not close, my parents plays strictly the role of a care-giver, they cannot be buddy-buddy with me or any of my siblings. which sucks because its rare as children we share secrets or worries with our parents unless its something like finance, politics, you know, the serious stuffs.


Every time i talk to them it feels like a great important meeting and the atmosphere is tensed, i end up with nervous laughs most of the time. The same can be said to my sister and brother if we was to discuss something. I wish we could have a more casual talk with my parents. my father, he cannot express his opinion without having to rise his voice or go into a rage, my mother would think that we are being rebellion if we expressed a different point of view and deemed us disrespectful. Eventhough in the end they would let us make our own choice, i want to have a casual, friendly chat without all the rage and voice rising. I know they love us and its a habit they cant help themselves, but still. It is stressful to talk to them and why i spend most of my teenage years avoiding talking to them about emotion and stuffs.


This is how distant the relationship with my mother is. I found out how to use a sanitary pads and what is period through magazine and friend. She never taught me how to take care of myself. Parents never talked about the birds and the bees. As the eldest i taught this to my sister and brother, only because i am self-taught and mature enough to be aware of this as i was growing into adulthood. Luckily i am not one of those confused teenagers and i was told to be mature and wise beyond my age. Perhaps its because of my independence that my mother never felt the need to teach me stuffs??


Now as an adult, i actually craved talking to my parents about stuffs. I want to know how they feel about my boyfriend, i want to know their expectation of my relationship and their wishes. Not "well, its your choice." or "oh, he's ok"

I actually want them to be judgmental because this is the man i'm going to marry someday and i want their advice. Both my parents are very good at reading people's behavior and good judge of people's character and i want to respect their wishes. It was very difficult for me and very awkward to bring the subject up in the first place and all i got was "its your choice, i cant interfere with your life." The conversation was over in 10 minutes. I have no idea how to chat to my parents without feeling awkward. I really envy my friends who's mother/father is their best friend.


I really want the opinion of posters who's already a parent on this issue, and i hope to be able to chat with my parents like how i would with my friends. Are there any good website about communication with parents?

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I can understand you want an opinion about someone who 'understands' your situation, i have a japanese girlfriend who was also raised under very strict concervative and traditional values and having the same unfortunate encounters I understand your situation very well.


Ok here goes.


As you have experienced showing 'direct' emotions and feelings towards your parents is as good as 'prohibited'.


Asians show their emotions thru 'indirect intention' , my japanese girlfriend (after interrogating her for hours to get a decent explanation ) said it as followed. If she would hate her mom, she would not directly yell at her or get angry. She would show her anger by not doing anything nice for her. But in a case were she really loves her mom, she would show her love 'indirectly' for instance , by helping her getting groceries, washing, doing the dishes.


So the only way (if this makes sense) is to get thru your parents by the means of 'indirect' intentions.


Asians are 'not allowed to lose face', this is why your mom and dad 'always' have this mask on their faces, this is why you can 'never' talk to them in a decent way. Because they are always under pressure not to lose their face.


I think its strange for a european person to tell you these things but in my opinion you were 'so close' or too close on this situation in your family that you can't see what's going on. I do feel you understand the situation, but these things are so subtle that you grow up with them considering as 'normal' but in reality the 'real meaning' of these things past and slipped you by, which you shouldn't blame yourself because sometimes people are with their nose so close to a tree, that they can't see the forest behind it.


So what to do?


Well thing is that you need to show your love and build a relationship with them thru 'indirect intent'.


In my experience what really helps is 'loving and helping unconditionally' , so what i said is that just like my japanese girlfriend you start doing things like 'helping out with the dishes, or cleaning or washing the car', these kind of contributions seem to be insignificant, but your parents will ABSOLUTELY recognize the subtle meaning of kindness behind it. Garenteed! , but the thing is you have to do it as a continues investment, not so much as an incident.


Next to that comes the public facade.


In my experience, and what is known as a al-round fact is that karaoke is a wonderfull environment, because Chinese people can sing and go crazy without being afraid of losing face. thereforee taking your parents to 'informal places' and doing wonderfull things together, for instance 'theme parks' or parks in general and arranging nice things for them is something in which they will value your virtues into making them happy.


So my end advice is: communicate indirecty.


I thereforee ascertain that information like this is an extra validation and addition to building a better relationship with your parents, it will show to be fruitfull in practise. It will bring respect to your parents and your parents will value and respect you vice versa.

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