Tumhare Bhale Ke Lie Keh Rahe Hain: How Indian Parents Control Daughter’s Life

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Controlling their daughter’s lives is a common feature by which you can define Indian parenting technique. It includes everything from whom their daughter will talk to who they will marry. As if the boundaries of individuality and adulthood are almost invisible to our parents, who are blinded by social norms.

A grown woman in our country still has to live her life as per the guidelines of her parents. Any deviation from this and you won’t get another chance to exercise your agency. Issi din k lie toh bda kiya hai is their first response, if a physical assault is thankfully not their automatic response. Emotional blackmail is used to make daughters feel guilty about their behaviour, because how dare they question the decisions taken for them by their parents.

Controlling parents believe they are protecting their daughters

From forcing women to get married to telling them when to have kids, everything is others’ decision but a woman, and this disruption of her agency starts early in her childhood. Very often, parents don’t even think of it as something wrong because according to them, they are doing it to protect their child and give her a shot at a better life. Hum tumhari bhale k lie hi toh keh rahe hain, haven’t we all been told when we choose to challenge parents’ authority. But how can a woman love her life if she has never made a single decision about it? Will she ever be happy, living a life made from someone else’s choices?

Young women are very often sent back to their rooms, to change the clothes they are wearing. Reason? Anything but because they weren’t approved by the parents or perhaps the male authority in family. Their education is chosen not based on the merit of colleges but the distance from home. Later in life, their careers are curtailed prematurely because daughters will not work in night shift, or because rape cases in the city have gone up.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Indian Parents Have Unreasonable Expectations From Their Married Children?

Despite stemming from a protective parental instinct, policing of daughters” lives by parents is nothing but a short cut taken since larger social changes seem impossible. And since women love their parents, feel obligated towards them for providing a good upbringing, they often endure this policing as a way to return the favour. But in controlling their daughters Indian parents only increase their dependency over other people in their lives. How will they make a decision for themselves in future, if they are not used to this process of exerting their agency on their life? Also, this controlling behaviour also makes women resent their parents, souring their parent-child relationship, forever in many cases.

Dear parents, if you truly love your daughters then you must help built their self-esteem and confidence and the only way to do so is to let them handle the reigns of their lives.

Views expressed are the author’s own.