We are who we are because of our parents and the way they brought us up. We’ve learnt things from them, such as moral values, goodness of heart, compassion, and even more practical things like financial planning. These have made us strong and independent individuals. However, sometimes Indian parents do things to us that don’t always have a positive effect. Forcing their children into an early arranged marriage, giving unneeded importance to marks and the worst of all, switching off fans to wake their kids up. Our adulthood can have many emotional and mental issues that are results of childhood experiences. To know more about this, we asked Girl Tribe by Miss Malini what their parents did to them that they would never do to their children, and the responses were incredible.
Most of us have been hit by our parents. Maybe it was a slap, a shoe, a belt or even a slight smack, but it has happened. Hitting anybody, especially your kid is horrible and studies have proven that it can lead to all sorts of trauma like PTSD, anxiety and even substance abuse! What a parent thinks is a momentary form of discipline is actually what may scar their child forever! Hitting your children in any way is not okay and is a terrible form of abuse.
“Sharma Ji ka beta” is a running meme and source of distress for almost all Indian kids. As kids, most of us were constantly compared with other children and it never made us feel good. It just led to unnecessary competition and pressure. Some parents even compared their children to themselves. “When I was your age, I was managing the house, earning a living and fending off invaders from the north”, is something we’ve all heard at some point. Comparisons are never good, and should not be made unless they genuinely have a positive effect.
We were often told to bite our tongue in front of elders and not say what was on our mind. Silence was equated with respect. This is not true! While it is rude to talk back to elders and disrespect them, it isn’t rude to simply speak up. It’s okay to be yourself and express your opinions in front of anyone, irrespective of their age or status.
Daal-Chawal may be comfort food but within limits. Indians run on daal-chawal and as kids, I am convinced we had daal-chawal and not blood running in our arteries and veins. While this parenting trick is questionable, it is not altogether unnecessary.
The eldest child, especially a son, was always burdened with foreshadows of “managing the house”, “settling down early”, “earning a good living”, “taking care of the parents” and more. So much so that many children who were the eldest followed a predetermined life path set by their parents. They were told exactly what to study, where to study, when to get married, who to marry, when to have children and more. In many Indian families, the eldest child assumes the most responsibility, while the younger ones are allowed freedom with their choices. This is not fair and should never be enforced upon anybody.
We will never teach our kids that women belong in the kitchen and men in offices. Enforcing gender roles from a young age can lead to rigid stereotypes which are hard to break. Many parents in the West have adopted a gender-neutral style of parenting which is quite cool. We want to bring up our kids in such a way that if they see movies like “Thappad“, they don’t relate to them as much as we do.
Some may agree to this and some may not. Piercing your child’s ears is technically a form of mutilation, but since your parents are responsible for you, it’s also not. While piercing your child’s years at a younger age negates the pain (since they will never really remember it), it doesn’t consider their choice. What if they don’t want holes in their ears? What’s stopping them from getting it at a later age when they know they want it? This is a mind (and ear) -bender for sure.
Just don’t do this, ever. It’s one thing to discipline your child in public, especially if they’re making a ruckus, but putting them down is another thing altogether. It makes children feel terrible, smashes their self-esteem, ruins their self-confidence and can lead to massive emotional trauma. Instead, talk to them openly about what you think they did wrong, hear their side out and then discipline them!
YES! This is a must. Most of us grew up with periods and sex never being mentioned at home and it led to a whole lot of wrong perceptions, shame and sometimes even extra-promiscuity. Talk about menstruation and sex with your children, especially boys. Normalise it because that’s exactly what they are… normal. Personally, my mom spoke to me about these and it made me comfortable enough to talk to her about it in the future, ask her questions and even let her take me to a gynaecologist (which was a blessing). It will help your daughters feel comfortable with their bodies and your sons be more respectful and understanding.
While many Indian parents are guilty of this, you don’t have to be. Be open to acknowledging your child’s mental health, taking them to therapy if needed and allowing them to express their moods and problems to you. It really will help you, your child and the relationship you share with them.
Parenting is tricky. It was tricky for our parents and will definitely be tricky for us. What do you think about this? Share it with us in the comments below!