Dim Sum Diaries
I just read this thought-provoking entry by Ernie at LYD, about Asian parents and all the dysfunctional crap associated with them. It made me think back to my childhood. Every physical need was provided for, but sometimes it seemed that our family lived in an emotional vacuum. My dad in particular always expressed himself by yelling.

Once when I was young, my family and I were at this party/gathering. Dad was talking with his friends, and I, being a precocious smart mouth at a young age, made some silly statements. My dad was smiling the entire time, but I guess he was pissed off. Later on the drive home he yelled at me for embarrassing him in front of his friends. Then he cuffed me on the side of the head.

The only time he may have shown me some physical sign of affection was on a plane trip to Hong Kong. Both my sister and I were pretending to sleep and he stroked my hair lovingly for a bit.

So then you grow up and go to college and move on with your life. You don't realize how much your parents affect you until you have your own kids. If I get pissed, my first impulse, like my father's, is to yell. I have to make a real effort to speak calmly and not go off on a rampage. More often then not I do yell. However, I don't want my daughter to treat her future children that way so I have to be careful. My dad has completely changed his personality since I got married and had kids. He is now content to play the role of the doting grandfather.

Now that I am older, I can objectively place myself in my dad's perspective that night. Maybe he was tired and didn't know how to effectively deal with a recalcitrant kid without yelling. Perhaps he was merely reacting as his parents had dealt with him.

If I had to deal with my daughter in a similar situation, I'd probably speak to her quietly and tell her to cease and desist, otherwise its time out. Its something I have remind myself, each time I am tempted to yell, to pause and take a deep breath and remember. I must remember that this "legacy" transmitted by my parents has to end with me, otherwise the dysfunctional cycle continues.