{mosimage}I came across this interesting debate in NDTV recently on a program called "Indian Youth Unplugged". It was just a debate with no conclusions, quite interesting to watch. This blog is my take on the "Indian Parenting". I seriously opine that Indian parenting is truly protective, sometimes over protective than being supportive. I don't mean to say that this is the right / bad way of parenting because I had seen the cases with best & worst of the results. The results depend on how the level of understanding of the parents, to be precise in most of the cases - father. No matter how old any individual is, they are still kids to their parents, but in the eyes of a typical Indian parent even 30 yr old man is a "child". This is the basic reason for Indian parents being over protective.

So in all important situations like choosing career / marriage, they tend to behave as if they choose dresses and toys for the kids. So any typical crossroad situation will have this dialogue "He / She is a kid, the doesn't know about this wild wicked world, so just follow my words & wisdom...". To certain extent I could say that this is right, like you needn't ask your 3 yr old kid about his / her choice of school, but it is a necessity to ask the consent of a college going child. Sometimes the parents who know well about their kid as well as the current scenario end up in choosing the right career path for their kids, while others end up in messing the young one's life. There are few more reasons also why the parents tend to go overboard when it comes to making decisions - 1. Trying to get their unfulfilled dreams through their children, 2. In competition with the neighbour / close circle's children, 3. Sheer Ego.

{mosimage}My first ever choice of career in my life was Catering & Hotel management. I loved to do a degree in Hotel Management since my 9th std and I was harbouring that dream for about 3 years. When it came to +2, I was not let to buy even an application for the course. Both my parents looked that career down, with a comment "Sarakku master velaikku college-le poi padikkanumaa?" (To become a cook, do you need a college education?). Years later when I was in UAE, the hospitality industry was in a boom with acute shortage of certified as well as experienced personnels, offering exorbitant salary, I just gave a dry smile when I saw those advertisements. Ofcourse I am not in a bad career now so I have no regrets for choosing Engineering, but it was my first ever "crush".

Now comes the interesting part of the parent's behaviour with the first instance being - "Trying to get their unfulfilled dreams through their children". My father wanted me to do M.E after my graduation. This time also I differed, so as a compromise I took management. After the PG, there was this gap between my graduation and employment days. He used to ask me whether I could take M.E atleast then. Out of frustration I asked him what should I do with an M.E, with my interests lying somewhere else. He said that after M.E, I could do a PhD and pursue teaching / research. He continued that he wanted to do a PhD in his life, but circumstances didn't allow it, so he wanted atleast me to do one. I was like "God! Save me, me alone..".

May be philosophically, I should have tried to fulfill his ambition, but I couldn't even identify with his aspirations, which had I tried to fulfill might have completely distanced me from my dreams. Who knows..? Had I done that, tommorrow I might be "ordering" my son to pursue something I couldn't do and the legacy might have continued. I am not complaining because sometimes I too feel like doing what he did. E.g. I have a strong orientation towards music, as said already it is my second oxygen. I hadn't got the resources to learn Carnatic music and now I feel I am old to start learning music from the basics. So I used to say that once I have kids, I'll put my daughter in fine arts like music and dance. Who knows whether she'd be inclined to fine arts or be a tomboy.
In the parent dependent society like our's, the children have no other choice than to meekly accept the career / education decision of the parents, because it is the father who normally pays the tuition & hostel fees. Since the children are left with no choice, they tend to live throughout with the frustration of not pursuing what they wanted. I have a similar experience. Whenever I wanted to do Computers, my father used to be dead against of it, so I couldn't do IT then. But that fire was on inside me for more than 10 years, so after I became financially independent I pursued a certification in SAP with my own money. Seeing my persistance, my father had atlast gave in, now morally supporting me in establishing my career.

Next reason is commonly found in the competitive metro lives - "In competition with the neighbour / close circle's children". Mr. X's son is going for Abacus classes, so my son / daughter also MUST go. Poor souls, that kid might be already jam packed with tuition and other classes. So squeeze sometime from the busy schedule, or steal some time from the kid's playtime and put in the classes. Poor kids, with their mind alredy pre-occupied in lost playtime, they tend to not to do well ending up in frustration or becoming rebels. Fortunately I didn't face this situation. I enrolled in Hindi classes on my own intrest, like I found out the "Guru" and went alone to the first class, after a week on my Guruji's instruction, I took my father to meet him, all when I was in my 7th standard.

{mosimage}The next reason is mostly creating problems in "Love Marriages" - Sheer Ego. Many parents couldn't digest the very thought that their "kid" is actually a grown individual who can take their own decisions. They are actually shattered when their children makes a strong decision and conveys it to them. The very common dialogue in this situation will go like this - "We knew what is good for her right from her dresses, to education to others and chosen things accordingly, so won't we choose who will be right for her ?", or "When the children wanted anything, they came to us, but ignored us for the important decision of their life. Aren't we needed anymore?". I am not advocating love marriages or against the parent's resistances, but just wondering how many parent's might have actually given the thought for the proposed spouse. I know few cases where the guys / girls in love, who were really gem of the person, but just rejected or not even considered just because there were "loved" by their children.

Accepting / Rejecting the "proposed" person is subject to parent's discretion, but if they were open to discussion like why they don't want to take in the guy / girl in question, raise their apprehensions, chances are there that at the end of the discussion, things could have been sorted amicably. Also most of the lovers when falling in love itself, start with the notion that "our family won't accept this affair", so preparing themselves to elope / rebel against. Before deviating from this point, let me stop here on this issue.

On the whole why Indian parents are over protective is because they look their children as "kids" till they breathe their last. Thats why every decision the youngsters make comes with a problem. I could see the immediate senior generation of father's who are bit opened up / broadened in their thoughts and treat their children like friends. Previous generation had only two careers in their mind - Medicine / Engineering. But the above mentioned generation is more than willing to accept any decent profession as careers, but look for achieving best in that. Also with other factors like woman also becoming finacially independent, nuclear family concept that reduces the gap between the parents & the children and sharing responsibilities, things are looking brighter provided if there is more interaction between everybody in the family. So I believe the Indian parenting will be more of supportive than protective in coming years.
About myself
Author: MaheshwaranWebsite:
I am a SAP Consultant in my late 30s, residing in the happeing IT City - Bangalore. My interests vary from reading to travelling to handicrafts to photography. My latest interest is on Body building. May be this vivid interest keeps me going in my life without getting bored.