INDIAN PARENTING: The GOOD and the FLAWS
“Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest
thing in the world to do”.- Matt Walsh
Our reasons for being, our strengths, enveloping us in unconditional love, while providing and looking out for us until their last breath- yes, we are talking about our parents. Our moms will often tell us that you will remain a child for us, even after you grow up. A deep, endearing thought isn’t it? But sometimes, we cannot help but wonder if this idea contributes to squashing our individuality; our capacity to grow?
In today’s evolving times, children have a mind of their own. If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably been at the brink of a transition, where adolescents and young adults have become more vocal about their needs and choices that they want to imbibe. Can we attribute this revolutionary breakthrough; this parent-child parody to an increased emphasis on equality and freedom of thought and expression, or a decreased tolerance for being ‘wronged’ (umm, subjective), or the awareness of a ‘generation gap’ while slowly tilting towards the Western culture.
Don’t get us wrong, we revere and embrace our parents, who are our world. In many Indian households too, this relationship is transposing with the era, but there are still some deeply embedded ideologies that may take a long time to transform. To all you parents, old and young, we know you are trying your best, and we want to say a big thank you.
Just like the sturdy Rock of Gibraltar, our parents too, want to be our guiding light and support systems, wanting to see us flourish. However, sometimes in our country, they tend to pin their hopes and dreams on us, so do we really get to do what we want? Do you remember the stoic and arrogant business tycoon, Mr.Yash Rai Chand in the mega-blockbuster Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham who cutting off ties with his son, when he chose to marry beneath their status?
Reminisce about Mr.Awasthy’s example from the movie Taare Zameen Par. He was so obsessed with his children’s diametrically opposite academic abilities, that his only concern was the marks. Both the mothers were portrayed as subservient, which is another problem in itself.
In fact, most Bollywood movies have portrayed a dominant power struggle. In a more positive light, take the graceful Swaroop Sampat’s character from the gender shackling movie, Ki &Ka. Playing the sassy boss woman; our Indian diva, Kareena Kapoor’s (pardon us, we are big fans) mother, she embodies a modern, working woman, along with being a liberal parent.
But, you know what guys; let’s gain a deeper insight into why there are such varied shades to an Indian parent. Sure, one’s mindset and worldly exposure matter too, but it is hugely attributed to their parenting style and how they, themselves were raised.
What are different INDIAN PARENTING STYLES?
This mainly refers to the psychological construct, representing strategies that parents use to raise a child. A leading child psychologist, once cited, “As parents, we need to understand that your child is not YOU- s/he is a different individual, and we need to embrace and respect this difference from early childhood to enjoy a meaningful and wholesome relationship forever”. There are 4 main approaches in this regard:
1. Authoritative: More democratic in their approach, such parents lay down a structure and the expected behaviour for a child, mainly in consideration with the latter’s views too. Along with parental guidance, emotional and physical support; freedom of choice, and task performance are provided.
2. Authoritarian: Akin to an aristocratic government, the parents are to be heard at all times, and there’s a command-action relationship between the two parties. The child generally develops low self-esteem and has more restrictions.
3. Permissive or Indulgent: Such parents want to perpetually look good in their children’s books, and tend to pamper them, arising a sense of false pomposity and entitlement.
4. Uninvolved or Negligent: Characterized by a lack of communication between the parents, the child often grows up and adapts to two different parenting styles. Also, the parent may not nurture and care for the child’s needs, pervasively.
Learning about the same, can you meditate about the style or raising that you have been subjected to?
The PROS and CONS of INDIAN PARENTING
As a platform run by Indian women, we are very proud of our heritage and our inner world ties. We, women, are fortunate to have parents who are there for us no matter what. Read on to know our take on more conventional families. Just like a coin has two sides, so does a phenomenon.
ADVANTAGES of Indian Parenting:
- Family ties: It’s true! We can boast of having the most endearing, close-knit relationships. Our parents foster in us a strong sense of familial identity, providing us with security and a stable roof, while also teaching us to respect the various associations we make. Don’t you just enjoy hanging out with your cousins on a Sunday afternoon? Another mainstay is that we are taught to share and prioritize.
- Disciplining: Indian parents are obsessed with discipline- that in itself is not bad, but the method is the defining factor. Well, won’t you address the same as well-bred and full of etiquette in the European culture? The definitions of bringing up children in a disciplined way are often misled in the Indian context. It is more of levying rules and regulations and enforcing children to adhere to them, without any leading from the front. or setting an example by own actions.
- Avoiding wastage: Most of our parents, teach us to efficiently use resources such as food, materials, and saving money from a very young age. No wonder, we Indians tend to be quite prudent and efficient in our dealings too.
- Taking care of the elderly: Our Indian values strongly support the notion of looking after our grandparents in their old days, which is just wonderful. After all, they have contributed to us living the way we do too. Old-age homes can prove to be mentally deleterious in that stage of life.
- Education: In the 21st century, parents encourage their children fully to achieve their academic and career milestones, whilst working hard and progressing in life.
- Strong cultural ties: Our parents tend to expose us to our celebrated customs by exposing and developing in us the various art forms such as classical singing, dancing, and painting.
DISADVANTAGES of Indian Parenting:
- Gender Bias: Reinforcing our traditional practices, parents often times, propagate these biases unconsciously. The blue-pink gender paradigm is a bit obsolete, don’t you think? From encouraging boys to play with cars and robots, and girls with dolls and kitchen sets at their young age, what are we really implying? Why are girls given a curfew, while boys can stay out till later? As women, haven’t we been rebuked for wearing short skirts, or dresses? We get the safety aspect, but it is more gender discriminating. Boys too, are motivated to have a fulfilling career, while a girl can pursue it “as her hobby”.
- Early messages: Coinciding with the parenting styles, phrases such as “Maar padegi”, “Your parent is always right”, “Do not answer back”, “ Sharmajika beta…”, “ Become an engineer or a doctor”, can be quite detrimental to the psyche. Parents prefer staying on a higher pedestal, and drive their children’s lives. Often they raise children who are subdued and lacking in self-confidence. Practices are changing, and we paying heed to the same, but Indian children in general, tend to be less financially independent or settled in their later years, as compared to their American counterparts.
- Over pampering: Parents believe that they are being favourable because they are adhering to their child’s needs, but honestly, they are setting them up for failures in life. When everything is available to them on the platter, the youngsters do not know how to fend for themselves and pick up the pieces. Even worse, birth order comes into play, where the younger child is always more indulged.
- Win-win mentality: The romantic notion of our culture focuses on our successes and triumphs fully- be it topping an exam or completing a race. Why don’t we celebrate losses and failures more openly, or even acknowledge and embrace them as part of a normal life? They should be our learning curves, making us more grounded and adept to handle the lemons of life. Parents generally steer clear from the same, thereby fostering an unhealthy competitive spirit. Likewise, we tend to forget to teach our children various life skills, which are so profound in today’s times, to lead to our success.
Contraband topics: Indian parents do not encourage a healthy conversation about sex and sexual orientation with their kids. Consequently, they become rebellious and tend to experiment on their own. To date, most parents abide by the conventional heterogeneous relationships and are ashamed of homogeneity. A decent exposure to lifestyle habits such as alcohol, smoking, or live-in only makes the youth more aware of the goings-on. On the contrary, they make more coherent choices in such cases.
To conclude, all we’d like to say is that as we are moving forward in life, our parents too, are adapting to the novel trends. Yes, they have come a long way from what the 1940s-60s parents used to be. We believe that we do have more liberalization today, but some deeply embedded ideas are yet to change. And we can too contribute to educating our parents more on this, there just needs to be willingness for open communication, acceptance, and adaptability from both sides.