Polite, obedient, feminine, compliant and oh, sanskaari. Found the traits familiar? Of course, you would. Indian daughters are supposed to be a ‘special edition’ made of these quirks. Who earmarks these, you ask? The mighty society, too busy judging the girl playing with a boy, or reprimanding another returning home after eight, or calling out the parents of the one wearing a “revealing dress”. Indian society and girls is a subject we ought to talk about far more often. Let’s raise some important issues here.
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When these aunties and uncles start attacking the character of your daughter just because of her preferences, you as a parent are supposed to stand with her to make her feel confident about her choices. But this is where Indian parents are going all wrong because they tend to give in to these standards and stop her from doing what she wishes to, with the mere remark, “log kya kahenge“.
What parents out their daughter through mirrors in her personality when she grows up. Let me burst the bubble for you, restricting her would not make her the “good girl” you want her to be. In fact, strict parents raise children with behavioural issues. It makes it tough for many daughters to be expressive about their emotions and suppressed feelings as we all know, burst like a bomb in the form of mental breakdowns.
Many Indian mums and dads still don’t bear with their daughters befriending guys because society is presumptuous and finds it quite hard to accept this friendship.
But have you ever thought how weak she’d feel when she’s around them? How will she ever ace that boardroom meeting in the future irrespective of the knowledge she has? A daughter is told to be malleable which ends up making her meek and submissive. Every time you tell her to learn to adjust (because apparently Indians glorify the compromises women make) you’re rendering her as a weak individual who settles for less than what she deserves.
Let me burst the bubble for you, restricting her would not make her the “good girl” you want her to be. In fact, stricter parents raise children with behavioural issues.
Advising girls on the choice of her friends is something one can see in most households to date. Many parents back this by the fact that they wish for the well-being of their daughters. Since they are experienced, they know who is good and who is bad for them. But if you do not let her see the world with her own eyes, how will she develop a perspective of her own? Falling down in life is inevitable and until she stumbles, she won’t know how to get up and start walking again.
Dating and marriage in Indian society become more of a social affair than personal. Instead of asking their daughters who they like, parents search for a groom that the society would approve of. Most parents loathe love marriages because there is a common belief that these alliances end up falling apart. Does this mean that arranged marriages are always successful? Not at all, this is a subjective matter. They are ready to marry her off to a stranger, but cannot let her date because that would spoil them. The societal pressure falls hard on the shoulders of girls and often debilitates them.
But if you do not let her see the world with her own eyes, how will she develop a perspective of her own? Falling down in life is inevitable and until she stumbles, she won’t know how to get up and start walking again.
Parenting is becoming more of an indicator of social status, especially in the case of daughters. Let’s make one thing clear, the girls you raise are not objects that you brag about. It is not a competition as to which one listens to her parents and abides by the choices of society more. So, just let her be, let her breathe. She deserves to voice her opinion because if it is subdued today, then she won’t have the courage to raise it tomorrow. Make her strong, dear parents, because sanskaar that society exalts might make her strive through the community but strength would help her fight this world!
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Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.