Parenthood is imperative to every human. It is the stage of life where we would challenge ourselves as a responsible adult and a parent to handle children produced by us. We have seen many jokes and memes regarding Indian parenting. Is this all a myth? Or is this all a minority issue? Is there something more it and we are yet to discuss it?
Every parent from the world has their lectures about parenting. We all think that good parenting is all about making that child successful in life, just like the so-called nourishment of sapling into a strong, and fruity tree? The real question here is, what is parenting? The style of parenting differs from one country to another, with different cultures and habits.
Among the parenting memes circulating on the internet, Indian parenting memes top the list. These memes are having more depth inside them than it lets us know. Those memes are the voices of the children who couldn't raise their voice at their respected homes as "making a statement in an argument is called disrespecting the elders in Indian parenting."
Indians are the most conservative group of people compared to the other countries. They hold onto their traditions, values, culture, and even superstitious beliefs as descendants of their ancestors.
When a baby is born into this world, its first connection is established through the parents. A child sees the world through the parents' eyes first so, the relationship between the parent and the child forms the "foundation of the child's life."
India is a country that possesses unity in diversity. It is a land with different traditions and values. In India, there are trends of joint family and the nuclear family. The child is brought up in such a way to uphold family values and tradition. The child must learn to value people and relations. Yes, loyalty to the people is an important trait that everyone must acquire, but upholding their values without any justified reason is dangerous.
How important is it for us to uphold other people's values more than ours?
Is being the trophy daughter or son in everyone's eyes is so important than one's individuality?
These are the actual questions laying down the road now.
Indian parents fully believe that the child is part of their family, relatives, and the community. And also, the child must realize every decision they make has consequences for the whole family and the community. The children's decision-making and ambitions are chiefly dependent on society.
"To be real, independent and good being " should be life's motto, and not "To satisfy parents dream, being trophy individual in the eyes of society," as this is what is practiced here in every household. On tracing the leads, we can see that parenting tends to have variations based on multiple factors, including personality, cultural background, literature level, societal status, economic wealth, religion, and family size. A high percentage of parenting styles emanates from the way each parent, was raised. Every parent also tends to believe they are well-grown individuals in their mind.
''Parenting is more than scheduling chores for female children and bragging about your son's score sheet.''
The following are the 12 places where children are affected the most today.
. Education of the children
Indians are known for their very high maths knowledge. It is because Indian parents believe that getting good marks is all that is needed in life. Publically comparing the child's score with another child is more common and ordinary. It is shameful when parents cause their children to lose their identity and unique individualism, all in a quest to become like the child with the highest score in the class.
Number game is all that matters here. Their children's 88 won't matter if the next-door child got 91. We need to stop comparing our children to others. Failure to do this demoralizes them and makes them lose their self-esteem. Please realize that a "well-formed mind" is more needed than a "well-filled up mind."
Parents think that their best parenting style is showcased when the child scores legit. More than they acknowledge the child's individuality and other interests, they recognize the marks alone. All they need is to brag their child's 90% maths score with their friends or relatives. These instances get clogged up in the kids' minds, and they will start believing that the mark is everything. It is imperative to gain knowledge more than the mark or grade.
. Society's opinion
Every Indian child would have heard this phrase at least once in their lifetime- ''What others think about you matters more than what you think about yourself.'' In India, when a child makes a decision, the authenticity, and understanding of that decision do not matter. The primary focus is usually, ''what will some uncles say if you fail, on this step?''
When society's opinion is a priority instead of the child's wish, then parenting has failed.
LGBTQ, as we all know it today, went through many strikes and brawls for more than a decade to bring its law passed in India. Numerous teenagers are scared to open up about their feelings and sexuality. India is the land where we can still see the honor killings for love marriages trend, yet discussing the sexuality of unique children is sour taste.
The law might have approved it, but people are still narrow-minded. Most parents don't care if they are spoiling their child's individuality and happiness, all they want is for their children to be what society needs. They want what's natural for all, and they want their offsprings to adjust to every single phase of their life accordingly.
Just a few years ago, Baba Ramdev told me that yoga would cure homosexuality, and even some doctors are trying to find a cure for it.
Can homosexuality be cured like some disease? If the answer is no, do accept that being gay or lesbian is natural too! Period!
. Career options
India, a country with youngsters who contribute almost 30% of the population (16-24), everyone gets to this career choosing phase after their high school plan. The most popular career options appealing to most Indian families are medicine, engineering, and banking & finance.
"Other than these careers is called a disgrace to the family"
Indians believe that their children's career choice represents their status in society. Every time the child tries to opt for other career options, they are treated poorly at home and meets strident examples such as "That uncle's son is a doctor, his parents must be proud of him."
Every parent is the child's first hero. Be proud of whatever they choose, and support them throughout it. There's something called a "sandbox," which is set up in all parks and playgrounds to ensure the child doesn't get hurt when they fall. All parents should be that sandbox, who should support them throughout their process, if they get hurt, let them be. They will learn from their mistakes. They need to grasp to stand up on their own and live their own lives.
A career is a big step in a person's life. India's unemployment rate is very high, so in the Job analysis interviews, they would select a person, who's more fit for the role according to what résumés say. We have heard cases where many students commit suicide. An analysis shows that there are two reasons for that
1. Couldn't choose the career they wanted
2. Didn't like the career they were given...but there is this third option which is always masked,
3. It is because the parents and society tried to mold the child into some statue which is not what they are destined to be.
Society, parental pressure is what pushes them to these suicide. In a case that happened in Tamil Nadu, a girl named Anita committed suicide, after scoring 1176/1200 in the state board examination. She aspired to become a doctor, but she failed the NEET exams, which pushed her to suicide, but the reality is the pressure that was put onto her about being a doctor is what drove her. If every career is treated as the same and given importance and magnitude, this won't happen.
Showing one career option as legendary and pushing down others is not a good way of parenting. If everyone is a doctor and engineer, who will be the journalist, researcher, chemist, and teacher?
. Alternative cultural views
We all are attracted to western culture. Every time people tend to get attracted to something different from theirs. In many people's eyes, other people look great with how they carry themselves than the way they do.
Parents need to teach their children to respect every religion and ethnicity. They need to teach that "the world is a family together under a common name of human". We can still see that in the rural parts of every state, they exist caste classifications, and honor killings, happening. When their children engage in inter-caste or inter-religious marriages, what they sowed as a seed, blooms into a tree. If you plant hate and secularism into the children, they might hold onto these values more.
. Sex education
Many taboo topics are lying in the community of the society, and the main important one is "Sex."
Parents think it is awkward to discuss sex with their teenage children even when they get to the age of knowing it. Harsh Vardhan, an Indian minister, announced that he's against this sex education in India.
Indians think that talking about sex might reduce their values and traditions and the conservative habits they follow.
In 2018, a sex education initiative was launched by our prime minister Narendra Modi, but still, the action or executive plan is not in practice.
Due to this lack of sexual education, porn websites went on a hike in India, and these adult websites started exaggerating intercourse differently. They started portraying forced and abusive intercourse. Teenagers think that male being dominant and female being submissive is what intercourse is.
Due to the lack of sex education, the cases of HIV/AIDS and other STDs(Sexually transmitted diseases) start booming high in India. India is also the country that is going through a population explosion currently. It is because contraceptives which are a part of sex coaching were not brought into awareness by the rural people.
. Lifestyle and fashion choices
Fashion is globalizing the market right now. Everyone has interests in their lifestyle choices and fashion fantasies, which is seen as a crime here.
To shave the head half as a female, wearing ripped pants, coloring the hair, tattooing themselves, wearing piercings are seemed to be the weird culture in India.
What makes us unique is our personality, and we must learn to embrace it. No society has the authority to control its citizens' lifestyle of fashion style. Everyone has their own life to live.
. Dominating and controlling behavior
In Indian families, the parents tend to be dominating and controlling. Mostly it would be the father who dominates his spouse and his offsprings.
A family that supports each other and helps each other out will have peaceful mental health and ambiance. The base of child growth is a good family environment. It is not compulsory to give them every luxury but to treat them with respect.
. Fighting in front of children
Another big issue happening in India is these family issues. Yes, it is happening everywhere globally, but it differs in India because "they make sure to normalize fighting in front of children. While anything intimate is kept inside the bedroom."
What can we expect from the nation that is normalizing hate and shaming the acts of love?
The best gift any parents could give their child is showing that they are happily married, and though they have fights, they reconcile too. Parents should always display how attached and understanding they are with each other before their children.
. Seeing children as their retirement plan
Many Indian parents see their child as an investment. It is the country that has normalized asking dowry for marriages.
There was a period when male children are made literate, and females are kept within four walls of the kitchen, and the male side family demanded dowry for their son. Most parents do this to get back the investment they put in for their son.
Now females are equally competing males in every challenging field, still, the issue of dowry is happening in parts of India, and it is because they see their children as their retirement plan. Guilt-tripping is the biggest weapon of every parent. Parents are the best pro at making you blend into the dream they designed for you.
Educating your children is your responsibility, so stop guilt-tripping them into becoming what your selfish desire wants.
. Arranged marriages
It is said that "A child is lucky if the child's parents are good, But he/she is blessed if the partner is good too." We cannot choose our parents, but can't we choose our partner? The one who will share the parenting responsibility of the future children.
A study says that more than 87% of marriages are arranged marriages in India, and the man is averagely 4.5 years older than the woman.
There is this fear that, if he/she likes a person, parents kick against it because they think that their child would choose the wrong stranger who might put them in distress. So one big question is, "how confident are you people are that the strangers you choose won't hurt them or put them in distress?"
Yes, the divorce rate in the arranged marriages is said to be less, but the real important question is, when the mental ambiance rate of arranged marriages is analyzed, how much do you think it will show?
Marriages are made in heaven, so stop trying to fix every aspect of the children's life.
. Keeping children as puppets even after the espousal
So there is this thought in child's minds that they can make decisions after their marriage. They would start involving in their children's marriage space, demanding a grandchild. But on the contrary, we can see the daughter-in-law fight and abuse their mother-in-law in almost every part of India. Soon, it will start taking a mental toll on them, and finally, they start controlling the life of their children and successors.
Why do we need a change?
Most of the Indian households provide for their family, but the emotional and supporting upbringing is missing. Be it education, career, or life partner, Indians are so rigid emotionally. Parents should learn to be their child's best friend and one who they lean on instead of making them do their biddings always.
In India, every child is fixed with study hours, play hours, and bedtime curfew. Yes, discipline is needed, but it doesn't give you the right to rule your child's life in a military, rigid schedule.
Controlling their educational choices, fashion choices, career choices, Personal Choices spouse choices, business choices, and finally deciding when they should provide the grandchildren is all happening now. If parents decide every aspect of the child's life, the child would look like a puppet manipulated by the strings. A child is not some home appliance that the parent buys to have possession over.
Prioritize the emotional, strength, and well-being of the child more than what others might say. Those others you call as a society won't stand next to you always as your child will.
How children are affected mentally
Mental health was the most underrated topic in India until many suicides were caused by depression and stress. More than the work and educational stress, emotional and societal stress is breaking the Indian child. A study published in 2017 by Lancet says, '' one in seven Indians, which is 14.3% of the total population, is suffering from mental disorders.'' The National Mental Health survey says that 10.3% of them are adolescents, and India only has 0.75% psychologists for 100000 population.
Children of conflict-ridden family environment succumb to this the most, the fights happening in the home, the emotional distress, the disappointment of not living up to the parents' expectations puts the toll on the children. A child at 15 even gets to suffer anxiety and many mental disorders. Physical abuse and beatings are on one side, but this mental suffering is the most difficult to handle.
What Children expect from the parent?
This whole article is not a single voice, it is the cumulative voices of many, the voices that are in need to be heard, and something which should be considered as a social issue. Every kid has his or her own set of friends, there is this famous quote of Vladimir Lenin,
"Show me who your friends and i'll tell you who you are"
So parents can realize that the child's friends are the one who knows everything about the child rather than the parents’ knowledge about the child’s likes and dislikes. So please be that best friend a child expects you to be. Be the support that they are expecting. Realize that making your child fear you or walk around eggshells near you is not the ideal parenting
A famous movie quoted that
"Before 4000 years we don't know if the human beings wore a dress, after 4000 years we won't know if they are going to be dressed, we are living this in-between life where we fix what is right and what is wrong, and we again are the ones who alter it accordingly to us, so instead of trying to fix up what's ethical and unethical according to the society, live up and do good!!!"
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