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Family Cultures: Asian. *Note: There are so many cultures, religions, and lifestyles among Asian countries. Therefore, it is impossible to tell the characteristics of Asian people without specifying the country. This presentation summarizes most Asian cultures as a whole. Caroline Power.

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Family cultures asian

Family Cultures: Asian

*Note: There are so many cultures, religions, and lifestyles among Asian countries. Therefore, it is impossible to tell the characteristics of Asian people without specifying the country. This presentation summarizes most Asian cultures as a whole.

Caroline Power

Family characteristics
Family Characteristics

  • Hard-working

  • Modest

  • Humble

  • Polite

  • Respect elders

  • One-way communication: adults speak to children

  • Physical and verbal expressions of love are uncommon

  • Try to keep family’s reputation (honor family)

  • Self-sacrifice (only with family and loved ones)

  • Want sons because they carry on the family name (lineage)

  • Rarely show emotions due to sign of maturity and self-control

Family roles
Family Roles

  • Father: highly valued, authoritative figure, less involved, and provides for the economic and physical needs of the family

  • Mother: valued less than males, meets emotional needs of children but with less nurturance than Caucasian mothers; performs domestic chores; bears children

Family values
Family Values

  • Most Asian families are built on a hierarchy system. Commonly, the oldest male in the house will control all the family affairs.

  • The first-born boy is the most important child in the household since when he gets older, the child will replace his grandfather or father as the head of the house.

  • Traditional Asian families place a high value on the family unitrather than the individual. The individual is seen as the product of all the generations of his or her family.

  • In traditional Asian families, it is common for three or four generations to live in the same household. In an agricultural society, this arrangement was economical, practical, and one way to ensure the continuity of the family line (on the husband's side).

Work ethic
Work Ethic

  • Asian families are devoted to the jobs almost as much as they are devoted to their families.

Religious practices
Religious Practices

  • Asians come from a variety of religious backgrounds: Buddhist, Shintoism, Muslim, Mongolian, and more.

  • Family behavior is based greatly on religious beliefs.

  • In many Asian countries, religious organizations are highly respected.

  • Beliefs shared by the grandparents and parents may be in conflict with the younger generations. This is due to them being exposed to Western religions.

Views on education
Views on Education

  • Asian culture believes in gaining as much knowledge as possible.

  • Parents play an active part in this area.

  • Parents structure children’s lives for academic success (ex: music lessons, less TV/videogames, tutoring, etc.)

  • Students go to college based on academic scholarships rather than sports/arts scholarships.


  • Shame and guilt is used to control and train children.

  • Asian families tend to avoid embarrassment of family.

  • Family problems are hidden from the public, and handled within the family unit.

Common stereotypes
Common Stereotypes

Not all Asians are superior; some lack motivation, have learning problems, and have limited English proficiency.

The media’s portrayal of Asians doesn’t help these stereotypes.

  • Intelligent, hardworking, and disciplined

  • Math geniuses

  • Martial arts experts

  • “Put education before play”

  • “All Asians are the same”

Ways to communicate with the family
Ways to Communicate with the Family

It is highly unlikely that teachers will learn an Asian language in order, but there are several ways to work around the language barrier:

  • Teachers can have a translator during parent conferences.

  • For emails or newsletters home, teachers can translate the information using an application found online.

Barriers for the family
Barriers for the Family

  • Children acculturate more rapidly than parents do.

    • Conflict between two cultures (American vs. Asian)

    • Family reflects traditional ways of culture, and children see another way of life (American culture)

  • Asian children may speak and understand two different languages.

    • Use of English is limited in households where native language is only used

  • Things teachers should know when dealing with these families
    Things Teachers Should Know When Dealing with These Families

    • Teachers should create multicultural environments: “Cultural Proficiency: a process that begins with us, not with our students or their communities; a shift in thinking, for some educators, that moves us from viewing culture as problematic to embracing and esteeming culture.” P. 20

    • “Like adults, children’s current lives, future prospects, and attitudes about the world are influenced by their environments.” P. 26

    • Teachers need to be sensitive to cultural differences in parents’ behaviors and expectations.

    • How Asian parents support and monitor their children may differ from other races because those concepts mean different things to them.

    • In Asian cultures, both parents and children highly value instrumental support (meeting children’s daily needs and helping them succeed in school).


    • Culturally proficient leadership: The personal journey begins within (Terrell, R. D., and Linksey, R. R., 2009). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    • Teaching and learning in a diverse world 3rd ed. (Ramsey, P., 2004). New York, NY: Teachers College Press

    • Van Campen, K. S., & Russell, S. T. (2010). Cultural differences in parenting practices: What Asian American families can teach us (Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families ResearchLink, Vol. 2, No. 1). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.