View Full Version : Cultural attitudes toward mistakes/failure: East Vs West

Averon 2011
06-15-2011, 02:46 AM
Just wanted to know what you guys's opinions are on the sensitive topic of "mistakes" (& failure)

eg: child came last in an assessment at school.

Aussie mum: That's alright dear, you can keep working at it and maybe you'll do better next time.

Chinese mum: How could you be so stupid? You bring shame on the whole family. I've seen you do these questions a hundred times and each time you always get that one wrong, why?

OK, I am stereotyping a little bit, but I think to the child in question - the loss is the same. The Aussie child is just as upset as the Chinese child at having come last in the assessment but he/she copes better because his/her parents deal with it better.

From the mum's point of view, the Chinese mum is not necessarily any more upset than the Aussie mum, but Chinese mums feel that they have to project the upsetness in order to encourage their children to take action. It's like: If I'm not upset, he/she won't take me seriously. The Aussie mum just kind of tells it as it is.

I think that in the west, while the concept of sin is taken very seriously, mistakes and failures are given more opportunity to be forgiven. In Chinese culture, mistakes and failures sort of have equal weighting to sin.

From your cultures at home, do you think that failure is something that you could forgive yourself for or is it absolutely a cardinal sin to attempt something and not get the desired out come?

06-15-2011, 03:19 AM
Dad's from a long line of German Protestants. They don't do failure ;)

Seriously, my parents' backgrounds were completely different in this regard. He's a tough, tough one and has trouble seeing the need for any 'emotional' stuff.

My other side is Irish (and Scots-Irish) and Native American. It's a different kind of strict, where fun is absolutely encouraged, too.

I know these lead to/are stereotypes, but I sincerely think that cultural differences are in play in my family dynamics. And each parent insisted that the way they grew up was better! ;)

06-15-2011, 05:56 AM
OK, I am stereotyping a little bit

True. Perhaps you can ask the question without stereotyping? Closing this thread.