Russian-American kids vs. American kids



My parents sent this to me and for once, it was an e-mail that was both funny and true. I read it to my American husband and he also agreed it was dead on.

Just for fun, I’ve made the American kids lines blue and the Russian-American kids’ ones, what else? Red.


American kids: Move out when they’re 18, with the full (emotional) support of their parents.

Russian-American Kids: Move out when they’re 28, having saved enough money for a house, and are two weeks away from getting married.


American kids: When their Mom visits them, she brings a Bundt cake, and they sip coffee and chat.

Russian-American Kids: When their Mom visits them, she brings 3 days worth of food, begins to tidy up, dust, do the laundry, and rearrange the furniture.


American kids: Their dads always call before they come over to visit them, and it’s usually only on special  occasions.

Russian-American Kids: Are not at all fazed when their dads show up, unannounced, on a Saturday morning at 8:00, and starts pruning the fruit trees. If there are no fruit trees, he’ll plant some, and will build a deck while he is at it.


American kids: Always pay retail, and look in the Yellow Pages when they need to have something done.

Russian-American Kids: Call their dad or uncle, and ask for another Russian-American Kid’s dad’s or uncle’s phone number to get it done.


American kids: Will come over their parent’s house for cake and coffee, and get cake and coffee.

Russian-American Kids: Will come over for cake and coffee, and get borsht, vodka, a salad olivye’, a choice of two meats, bread, a dish of babushka’s desert and fruit (and as much to take home after).


American kids: Know a few things about their parents.

Russian-American Kids: Could write a book with direct quotes from them.


American kids: Think that being Russian is cool.

Russian-American Kids: KNOW that being Russian is cool. 


  1. Anonymous August 26, 2010

    Wow, I don’t find a single one of the Russian things true in my experience. Must have a weird family…

  2. Anna Tarkov August 26, 2010

    They’re not all true in my case either, but the majority are. Really, NONE are true for you? Wow.

  3. Anonymous August 26, 2010

    Maybe the too much food, but that stays at their house (which is a 1000 miles away).

  4. Anna Tarkov August 26, 2010

    What about the connections thing? Where American kids look in the Yellow Pages? If that’s not true for you, then you’re missing out on some deals :)

  5. Anonymous August 26, 2010

    You have to remember, my family came over in ’78, we’re not really part of that late-’80s deluge. My mom actually worked for awhile at Jewish Family and Children’s Service, resettling new arrivals.

  6. Anna Tarkov August 26, 2010

    Hmm, that must be the critical difference. We came in 1989 :) I wish we had come earlier, believe you me, but it’t not like I was consulted :)

  7. Anonymous August 30, 2010

    That’s pretty much exactly my experience, only this makes Russian parenrts’ behavior sound nicer and less imposing than it actually is. Ha! And my family is a ’78 family too, funny.

  8. Anonymous April 3, 2011

    hahahahahahahahhahaah im from Uzbekistan and this is like ALL true. Even though im not russian but Uzbekistan used to be part of USSR so maybe they got influenced by Russians but OMG this is 100% true for me and some russian families i know. And i think russian way of how parents love their kids are better than american way where they just leave them out and practilly dont even care about them

  9. Anna Tarkov April 4, 2011

    I wouldn’t say the Russian way of parenting is necessarily better in all cases. While I kind of prefer it myself, there is definitely something to be said for American parenting. Since it’s more hands off and more permissive, kids are given more freedom to develop and saddled with a lot less guilt. Overall, I think both parenting styles have their pluses and minuses for the kids and the parents.

  10. Anonymous April 9, 2011

    yea you are right but one thing i agree on russian parenting is how russians are afriad of their parents and have respect toward them(well its starting to change now) but like 6 years ago when i was in uzbekistan and russia every kid had respect to their parents and in USA most are not even afraid and act like they have respect but talk about them behind their backs and in USA they say hitting kids is bad but i beleive you need to hit kids(little bit) when they do something wrong but not constantly then thats where physological problems occur and only hit them when they do something wrong at least my opinion what do you think

  11. Anna Tarkov April 10, 2011

    I definitely don’t believe in hitting your kids. My parents never hit me and my sister and I think we both grew up respecting them. I think hitting is a failure of exercising other parenting skills. It’s a last resort that isn’t worth the possible damage it could do to a child. Also, not all US kids disrespect their parents and I’ve seen plenty of Russian ones that do. Maybe it’s a bit problematic to call one style of parenting the Russian/Chinese/Indian/etc one and the other one the American style. It’s really about very permissive, hands-off parenting vs. very involved, deeply caring parenting and it can be done equally well on either side of the globe.

  12. Anonymous April 14, 2011

    well every1 is different and im saying yes there will and is people that grow up respecting parents without getting hit but only SOME and as you can see chinease and indian parents hit their kids most of the time and they have a HUGE RESPECT towards the parents. But everyone is different but I think respect toward parents depends on the kid and the environment around him meaning how he is bring influenced not only by his parents but by others around him and lets face it we can not control kids environment all the time

  13. Irina May 24, 2015

    Actually, only time would indicate, what is plus in this case. How kids will treat old parents after all.

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