Recently, I watched the Tamil web series Vadhandhi. As the show progressed, I realised that the girl wouldn't have been murdered if the mother and daughter had a healthy relationship. As a single mother, she believes that being harsh with her daughter is the only way to protect her, which ends up destroying their bond from childhood. Of course, then there would be no scope for a plot at all, but then it made me reflect on how strict parenting destroys the parent-child bond and has dangerous consequences. So, why does freedom for daughters comes with terms and conditions? Let's explore.
Unfortunately, Indian parents tend to be highly authoritative toward their daughters. The majority of parents have an influence on the decisions their daughters make. Some families seem to be very liberal about their daughters’ choices of clothing, education, career, friends, etc., but when it comes to marriage, they expect their daughters to marry the man of their choice. So, what changes loving parents into dictators when it comes to certain aspects of their daughters’ lives?
Why does freedom for daughters come with terms and conditions?
Men and women have always been treated differently, influencing how parents treat their daughters. In a patriarchal society like ours, daughters are not seen as individual beings but are perceived as the bearers of the family’s honour. So, if daughters do not conform to the conventional standards set by society, they are dishonouring their families. Moreover, when parents read about the rising number of crimes against women in our country, it instils fear in them to protect their daughters from harm. So, the concept that strict parenting is the best way to safeguard daughters has been passed down through generations.
Parents who raise liberal and feminist daughters are at the receiving end of criticism and judgment. This puts even the most supportive parents in a tough spot. They are conflicted between prioritising their daughter’s happiness and the opinion of society.
However, strict parenting has its own repercussions. In the series ">Vadhandhi, the strict parenting style of the mother drives a wedge between her and her daughter. This leads to her daughter becoming sneaky and rebellious. Strict parents tend to damage their relationship with their daughters. The more controlling parents are, the more they push their daughters away. Daughters of authoritative parents grow up to become rebellious and sneaky as they regard their parents as tyrants. In many families, daughters are not able to have open and honest conversations with their parents about menstruation, sex, relationships, men, sexuality, etc.
Strict Parenting Can Be Detrimental For Kids
As a result, they tend to look for affection from the wrong people, seek guidance from the wrong sources, get negatively influenced, and do unsafe things that sometimes end up getting them into trouble. And when things go south, they know for sure that their parents will blame and shame them. So, they either try to sort out the problem by themselves or take extreme decisions.
Strict parenting causes stress, anxiety, and depression. Being controlled by authoritative and untrusting parents, lack of privacy, sneaking around, lying, and being guilt-ridden is extremely stressful. All this, combined with the bad influences in life, causes depression. And depression is life-threatening.
In a society that is unsafe for women, daughters should be raised with the assurance that they can go to their parents in times of trouble. Parents need to realise that patriarchal society will continue to criticise them if they choose to raise their daughters against its conventional standards. It's best to disregard these judgements and focus on raising bold and self-sufficient daughters.
Parents should be progressive, open-minded, approachable, friendly, and spend adequate time with their daughters. This will help develop trust and confidence in daughters and encourage them to openly communicate with their parents about everything in their lives. When daughters are able to find a safe, understanding, and supportive place with their parents, why would they distance themselves from that comfort zone?
Opinions expressed are author's own.