#Opinion

Why Don’t Parents Appreciate Their Daughters?

desi moms and daughters, desi parenting, daughter's freedom, parvarish, indian parents, indian moms, sexist remarks
Parents Appreciate Their Daughters: It has been years since I last heard my family appreciating me for what I achieved in my life. I still remember that glitter in their eyes when I pursued a course of their choice and donned the clothes and behaviour of their choice.

But today, when I finally explored myself, hidden in the layers of societal expectations and pretence, that glitter seems to have lost forever. All I could see is fumes of disappointment and pity that, I always fear, might turn into flames of rage and enforcement. And I am sure, as a millennial woman with a different thought process and dreams, I am not alone in this perpetually strained relationship with the family. But why do parents fail to acknowledge that their daughters have an individuality of their own and want to build a life that they love, and not society? Why do parents find it difficult to appreciate the daughters who are defiant and want to challenge patriarchy?

To be successful, to own your life, to own your choices and to own your bank balance is a reality that every woman deserves to live in.

Often, this alone is enough to fight out the battles that society pitches for each woman who wants to defy. But, being discriminated and discouraged by your family everyday, being indoctrinated with patriarchal ideologies and being forced to conform to misogynist customs is a major setback in the path of success. And this mainly happens with women because families feel entitled to guide and take decisions for their women. Also because anything that a woman does on her own can never be good enough when compared to men and if it against family’s traditions.

Whenever it comes to the life choices of women, log kya kahenge precedes her personal preferences. Her clothes, career and thoughts should first align with the culture, family beliefs and society and whether she agrees with the decision or not doesn’t matter. If women try to raise their voice, they are choked by discrimination, demotivation, unfair restrictions and the gaslighting that they are too naive to have a choice and opinion. “You haven’t seen the world yet. It is difficult for a woman to survive in society by making it unhappy. When you will be a parent to a girl, you will understand our pain” is all I get to hear when I question the injustice happening with me or around me.

But dear parents, the difficulties in being a parent to a girl are because people are still reluctant to change their mindset in terms of women’s freedom.

And if you only join this trail, how can we break the cycle that passes on the patriarchal restrictions on women through generations? If you don’t appreciate your daughters’ choices and her courage to be different, how will the status of women change in society? How will a parent ever be confident and proud of the daughter who is out there conquering the world?

So dear parents stop taking your daughter for granted. She has value, aims, choices and freedom of her own. You should not obsess over the cultural and societal values that restrict women from claiming their basic rights. You should rather encourage her to build her own identity. Stop assuming that a woman is weak without support from society or the family. Stop assuming that your daughter will ultimately agree to all your demands and restrictions just because she is a woman and cannot possibly survive on her own. Do you have these assumptions when it comes to your sons? Do you expect this selfless devotion towards the customs and beliefs of the family and society? No, rather you raise them as Raja Betas who are free to dominate, disagree and defy because they are the inheritors of the family fortune and your support and security in old age.

It is high time we accept that an educated and empowered daughter can support her family and herself.

She doesn’t need anyone’s approval to make her decisions and live on her own accord. Once this is normalised, parents will automatically be less conservative and more supportive of their daughters. They will no longer treat her daughter based on her gender and provide her with the love and support that she deserves. Her success will make parents proud and not apprehensive if society will accept her or not.