Chinese parents and paying back your debt


Source: China Daily

No, I’m not talking about making my Chinese in-laws to pay back my student loans, but about filial piety. On paper respecting your parents, elders and ancestors sounds all very good, but what it’s actually like to live 5 meters from your Chinese parent’s or in-laws?

Disclaimer: This post is recommended to be read with a hint of humour.

Chinese parents love helping their children, even after they have grown up. They come knocking to your door and wash your floors. They make special Cantonese soups and fill your fridge with fruits so fast you simply don’t have enough time to eat them all. Chinese parents will give you advice from left and right on how to dress, how to furnish your house and what to eat. “Parents know best” is their motto.

Well, who wouldn’t want someone to cook and clean for you? Now comes the trick! There is no free lunch.

Chinese parents don’t do things for free, they will expect you to pay it back someday. Some parents want red envelopes with cash on holidays. Some want their children to pay back by spending more time with them and taking them on various trips. Some expect you to listen to all their advice just because “I made that soup for you when you were sick”. In a way or other you will need to pay back.

“Did I raise you up for nothing?” is one of the favorite saying of a Chinese parent. They will remind you how they brought you up in difficult situations and will use that information to get you do what they want.

“Look what neighbor’s kid did for their parents!” is another pet phrase of Chinese parents. Here kids aren’t brought up with praise, but with criticizing and noting their shortcomings. And no matter what you do it is never enough, you will never be as filial as that famous “neighbor’s kid” (which you have never seen, is he a legend?).

So what do you do when you feel like you will never be able to pay back your debt? If you are an independent Finn you will probably try to avoid accumulating that debt and refuse help as much as possible. Of course in a Chinese family it’s much easier said than done.

How about you? How are you paying back to your Chinese parents or in-laws?