Mummy Corner: Saying 'I Love You'

By Gina Batmunkh 2021-03-09 15:24:57


Every day I tell my son before he sleeps or goes to school the phrase ‘I love you’. It comes out naturally, and I always get a response back ‘I love mummy too, love you to the moon and back’. But as I was talking to my colleagues, that wasn’t the case with mostly traditional Asian parents, and it doesn’t mean that they don’t love their kids. Sometimes just have to pause and read between the lines.



It is the most direct way to express feelings of affection towards another by saying ‘I love you‘. It is quick and straight forward. However, for older generation Asian parents, this seems far more sensible. Sometimes you hear the word 'Authoritarian Asian parents', and it certainly annoys some people I believe, at least me. Personally, I do not like this term and it seems some people often neglect the small gestures of love that the parents give. 


Authoritarian - exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others: an authoritarian parent. Source:



Somehow, I feel like Asians have not been raised to be vocal when it comes to affection. I’ve never heard my grandparents saying they love their children, or to each other. And again, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their kids. I have seen my grandparents always prepare food for their kids and grandkids whenever we arrive at their house, even when we visit them without notice. There is always food on the table, and always welcome us with a warm hug any time of the day. And I will always remember and cherish those memories forever.


I think it is not just me when you say to your parents or in-laws that you liked the dish very much which they cooked. The next thing you know, they start making the dishes almost every day and every time they see us. That is one way of expressing love. 



In addition, every time I come back home from long hour flights, there is always warm food, a clean bed and towels have been prepared for me. Practically, every single thing has been prepared. And with the following questions: “Are you hungry? Those in-flight meals are not really food.” Or “You must be tired. Rest early today”.


The above situation applies to my parents-in-law too. Prior to my arrival, they prepare everything from groceries to necessities. Even my mother-in-law brings washed and cleaned fresh fruits in a lunch box to the airport when she picks us up so that my son and I can eat them on the way home. Always grateful to parents on both sides for taking care of us and do things from their heart. 


Even though our Asian parents and grandparents are hardly expressing their love vocally, but these small gestures are going noticed and appreciated. So always appreciate the things they have done for you throughout your lives. 



Start saying “I love you”, and it might not be easy to say it for those who didn’t grow up saying but make it a new year resolution. Probably it will sound awkward at first, but things will get easier over time.


We've written a whole Parent & Kids issue on love languages based on a book called 'The Five Love Languages' by Dr Gary Chapman. The book mentions about 5 distinct ways of expressing and experiencing love:


  1. Quality Time

  2. Words of Affirmation

  3. Physical Touch

  4. Acts of Service

  5. Receiving Gifts


Read our other Mum series articles like this one on managing screentime.