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anyone Ethnic Chinese? Can I ask a question?

(6 Posts)
lljkk Sat 24-Dec-16 13:27:53

(yes I realise China is vast so many ethnicities... I've no idea which one the family is, so sort of generic Chinese culture question).

Not sure I'm handling situations well with one of DS's friends (Chinese family).

buddhasbelly Sat 24-Dec-16 14:13:20

What's the situation lijkk?

lljkk Sat 24-Dec-16 15:37:46

ta 4 reply!! Sorry this is long.

8yo Ds has an 8yo friend ("Wu") whose parents are from mainland China.

Wu & big sister are fluent in English, but the parents aren't; we can arrange playdates but not talk about stuff with nuance. The parents are very generous in ways that feel a little awkward. I don't know if I'm handling the situations ok. For instance, they used to foist big packs of sweets or chocolate biscuits on DS after a playdate at theirs. We never reciprocated when Wu came to ours & they've stopped with the play-date leaving treats (phew, but I hope I didn't seem rude, I just didn't like DS getting so much sugar).

This yr, they gave DS a gift worth ~ £20 for DS's birthday party (Wu does go to other parties). Later DS was invited on what turned out to be Wu's birthday (DS the only guest, we didn't know until we turned up, they didn't do anything very special that day, though) Considering their previous generosity, after that playdate I went to supermarket with DS & we bought Wu a rather nice Lego set (£20?) which DS gave to Wu on next school day.

Last week they took DS & Wu out for a Christmas shopping trip. My radar went off so I got DH to take DS to choose a gift for Wu out of our pocket earlier that morning (I think another £20 Lego set). We also gave DS some money for the outing & I think they spent about £20 buying DS stuff.

Am I playing this right?! We can afford it but not sure their family can. I'd be more direct to ask them about it if their English was better or I didn't fear I'd offend by turning down their generosity. On other hand, it's not huge spending. Don't want to escalate it any higher, though, or make it seem obligatory (on both sides).

What do you think?

SeaweedSa1ad Sat 24-Dec-16 17:16:08

If you're worried about the amount of money, just spend less and hopefully the other family will follow your lead in the future.

From my experience, it is common when turning up at someone's (Chinese) home to have a small gift - usually fruit / food will suffice. And quite normal if you have anything "nice" to offer guests to take with them on their way out.

Don't feel obliged to reciprocate, it's a cultural difference and if you don't do that, don't feel pressured to do so - it would be silly to expect you to follow Chinese cultural norms when you're not. No need for awkwardness.

If you want, you could always write a note / card to thank them for their kindnesses - kids can translate for the parents without the pressure of having to immediately attempt a conversation with you in person.

buddhasbelly Sat 24-Dec-16 20:30:49

Sorry for late reply - I second what sea said - I dont want to make a generalisation but yes I would say the gift giving is a cultural thing and about the concept of 'face.'

Fruit, if ever going to theirs would be a very good gift. If you want to make a fuss then Chinese new year to their ds would be marked with a red envelope, usually with money but a voucher would work just fine. But don't feel the need to if you feel it's too much smile

lljkk Sat 24-Dec-16 21:31:54

Neither boy eats fruit, far as I know, lol.
okay, I wondered about the Face thing.... or something similar.

They do some other culturally odd things, but nothing that has been as chronic or I'm not as sure about. I'm not British myself so pretty happy to roll with things, whatever happens.

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