Restricted by Curfew! Asian Curfew!!
by Maikhanh Tran
I know many people can relate to having a curfew, but my dad takes it to another level. Growing up in an Asian household and being an only child, my dad has always been super strict and traditional. Even though my mom is my best friend and is always on my side, whenever I mention staying out late, she would say the default, “ask your dad”. Although I don’t have a set curfew, my dad expects me to be home around 10 pm, otherwise I can prepare to walk into my house to a frowning face, followed by a lecture for the next 2 hours.
In high school, there were many times when I got in trouble for coming home around 11:30 pm, which isn’t even late considering many other kids have later or no curfew. I’ve even gotten yelled at for staying out with my own cousins, so could you imagine how my dad reacted when I was with my friends? He always called me around 9:30 pm and asked where I was. These calls would continue multiple times throughout the hour, and I would pick them up depending on how brave I felt that night.
The lectures were so intense and it would result in both my dad and I yelling back and forth at each other, and I would end up in tears out of frustration. He didn’t understand. I told him that it was ridiculous and that it got to the point where I was scared to go home late by a few minutes out of fear that he would act out. I have to include that my dad drinks a lot, which also escalates the whole situation because I am talking to someone who is drunk and cannot really comprehend what I’m saying clearly. I always reminded my dad that I am a good student and it’s only fair that I get to spend time with my friends now and then to keep my own sanity. He responded by saying that he trusts me and that I can have fun, but there should be a limit. Whatever can be done during the day, should be done during daytime hours instead of at night.
I hoped that as a college student, my dad wouldn’t expect me to be home at a certain time anymore. He has gotten less strict throughout the years, but he still calls me around a certain time and asks when I’ll be going home. As a 23 year old, I am embarrassed to tell new friends that I have to leave hangouts early due to my curfew. All my other friends have learned to work around my schedule and only make plans with me during the day. Even my cousins younger than me could stay out until 3 or 4 am. Their parents aren’t as traditional as mine and all they ask is to know where my cousins are and what time they’ll be coming home. Why can’t my dad be as understanding? It really starts with how parents handle the situation and that they are open to changing more traditional ways so that their children feel comfortable in talking to them about anything. Having strict parents often leads to sneaky kids, and many of them might not have dealt with having a curfew the same way as I did and might have rebelled back.
I do understand his perspective as an Asian parent. My dad is extremely overprotective and thinks it’s dangerous for a girl to be out late. I know he just wants to make sure I’m safe, but he also needs to trust that I’m old enough to be looking out for myself. Even now, I am still trying to figure out how to talk to my dad about extending the curfew or not having one at all anymore.