No matter which Asian country we come from or our socio-economic status, many Asian parents share certain quirks and traits that are simply instantly recognisable as an “Asian Parent Thing”. 

While we love our parents, some of these behaviours can sometimes get a bit out of hand. Hands up if you identify with any of these 15 common behaviours that your parents are guilty of:

1) Doing everything at loud, maximum volume

Ever woke up to your Asian mother talking loudly on the phone or vacuuming the floor? Perhaps your Asian father sneezing loudly halfway across the house, yet the sound seems to be right next to your ear? 

There is no decibel too loud or too embarrassing for Asian parents, in private or in public.

2) Commenting on your physical size/ other people’s physical size 

A study should be done on how many Asian parents gave their children eating disorders by continually commenting on their weight. Who needs a body scale when your parents can tell you if you have gained or lost weight with just one glance?


3) Comparing grades and offspring’s achievements 

If I had a dollar for every time my parents told me someone did better than me in examinations or in life – whether it is a cousin or a classmate – and invested those dollars in Bitcoin in its early years, I would be a multimillionaire right now.


4) Reusing plastic containers and bags

In your parents’ home, there will always be at least one cabinet dedicated to keeping washed plastic containers, and another filled with plastic bags that are storing other plastic bags. 


5) Not believing in dishwashers

Image: Pexels/ Cottonbro

Asian parents do not need a dishwasher. Well, in my case, I am the dishwasher, so an electronic one is not needed.


6) Telling you that you will only appreciate them when they die 

“You will know how good I am only after I die!”

Asian parents like to contemplate death a lot – specifically, how much guilt and regret you will feel after they move on to the afterlife. While this used to affect me a lot, it has now lost its power when I hear it. Whatever makes them happy, right?


7) Not knowing what a verbal apology is 

I can barely remember the number of times my mother has verbally apologised to me (an account she would disagree with if she were to read this, I am sure). However, I do remember plates of cut fruits after arguments waiting for me on the dining table, which was usually the closest I would get to a peace offering or apology. 

Oh well. I take what I can get.


8) Judging you and everyone else 

“Why are you quitting your job? Do you think the economy is good?”

“Why is your friend’s tattoo so big?”

“Your friend looks fatter than the last time I saw her.”

I can only be thankful that these comments are not made directly to the person-in-question, and just to me.


9) Overfeeding you and your friends

Image: Pexels/ Katerina Holmes

On the one hand, Asian parents will say you have gained weight. On the other hand, they get offended if you do not finish at least two plates during meals. Someone, please make it make sense.


10) Interrogating you on things you did/ are going to do

“I am going out with a friend!”

With just one sentence, suddenly I find myself being interrogated about who I am going out with, where I am going, how long I will be out, when I will be back, which friend it is, will I be back for dinner… you get the drill.


11) Would rather trust a random WhatsApp/WeChat audio clip than your mainstream media sources 


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For people who warned us to not trust strangers, Asian parents are surprisingly gullible when it comes to random audio and video clips forwarded on their social media chats.

I can still remember my horror when I was told that the government would be flying planes filled with disinfectants over the country to rid the country of the coronavirus at midnight, so I should close my windows.


12) Asking you when you are bringing a partner back/ getting married/ having babies

Image: Pexels/ Jin Wedding


I was told not to date until after I turned 18. However, I didn’t get the memo that sometime after midnight struck on my 18th birthday, I should have a boyfriend. Apparently, this is also a common occurrence with other single Asian children of adult age. 

13) Hoarding stuff unnecessarily

Have you ever had to sneakily throw things out, because if you threw them into the trash, your parents would fish it out saying it can still be used? Asian parents love to hoard things “just in case”. 

My usual answer to this is to tell them to make use of it, because I won’t be anymore. It is why I am throwing it out.


14) Putting things where they do not belong in different tins 

Frozen fish in ice-cream containers, sewing supplies in biscuit tins – we love that Asian parents love to reuse, but it still does not help with the disappointment when we are expecting to have ice-cream and see… fish.

15) Making their children their everything

For all they do and say, which can be overboard at times, Asian parents’ actions come from a place of love for their children. If we are loved and respected, that is more than a lot of people can wish for.

If we both constantly work to build a healthy parent-child relationship, that is truly a relationship worth having, no matter the quirks or foibles.