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Posts: 1633

Shifu

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Q: Why don't Chinese children say, "I love you" to their parents?

7 years 37 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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Posts: 1893

Emperor

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Well, hey! If your parents constantly reminded you that you're not as good as other children and that you owe them a living...how much love would you have in your heart?

 

Pragmatism...they don't need to express their love...it's just understood.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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Emperor

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Have you ever heard a Chinese parent say that to their child? I haven't. Even after years of not seeing her daughter, my ex's parents never gave her a hug. Never. They were pretty indifferent about her. Same with my wife.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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In China, the way to express love is not from words, they do actions to show that such as buying sweet things- a scarf ,a pair of shoes etc . Or they said other words to instead that, such as "wear more cloths in winter" or other regard words. Children and Parents could feel that.

 

That's why they don't tell each other "I love you". 

 

Simple reason.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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The only people that I have seen cuddling little kids are foreign teachers. The only people I have seen playing with little kids are foreign teachers. Kind of covers it for me.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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sadly the relationship between parents and their children is a business relationship.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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I think the simplest answer is because they have never had their parents say the same words to them.

As my gf constantly points out...love in Chinese culture is implied through action and subtle means and not through words.

I really feel sorry for most children here...because without that validation from their parents how do you expect them to ever feel good about themselves and be confident?

I know it's a cultural thing but it's something I will never understand.

 

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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I never said I love you to my parents either man. And I love my parents, they're great. 

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1559

Shifu

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No why. 

 

But if you don't buy me the Apple 3-piece set, then you don't really love me.....wait, what?

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 23

Governor

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In different cultures, there lots of difference of living.   The same with food, the western food and eastern food,  some Chinese people couldn't stand the flavor of olive oil , could they say olive oil is bad? the expression of love is different too,  western grown up in the family which always said"I love you". you couldn't understand the family which has no"I love you".

 

Noted: I add quotation market. 

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2020

Peasant

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I actually agree with what ArthurS said above (so I upvoted it), and I think his commentators mistook his explanation to mean that the relationship between parents is solely economic.

 

From pretty much everything I've read about interpersonal relations in China, I've come to understand that lots of things that we (Westerners or whatever) may directly say out loud to others is transmitted much more subtly in Chinese culture. This is a commonly brought up point when it comes to using and developing "guanxi" between people, and its why foreigners new to China are oftentimes really freaking confused by what's going on, because nothing is directly said to anyone. It's said indirectly through a bunch of actions which we don't understand at first (or ever, as is my case). 

 

More to the point, in the case of saying "I love you", it's totally weird to us, who have been using/hearing this word our whole lives not to hear it here. But while the relationship between children and parents is debatably more economic in China than, say in the US (due to a ton of social/economic reasons), I don't think its fair to assume that there is no love between them. For me personally, I've come to understand that when my girlfriend's family says something like "wear more clothes in the winter" that this is their way of saying "we care about you and your health". It's the same way that Chinese strangers will complement your rudimentary Chinese (because they don't give a shit about you really), but Chinese relatives will say that your Chinese is terrible, even after studying it for a decade. They are expressing that they want you to improve, because, once again, they care about your future. 

 

This is a good question, which showcases a major difference between China and some "Western" cultures. 

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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Thank you Arthur for your explanation, you do more in your brief time on this board with your level of English than I have managed in a much longer time here with English as my first language.

However, be aware, there are some here who don't WANT to understand, sad, but true.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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