From our traditional culture of arranged marriages to our parent’s obsession with getting us to choose only medical or engineering as career choices – there are numerous things Indian parents have been doing since they became parents.
From comparing their children to “Sharmaji’s son” or resorting to the age-old “Because I said so” to get their point Indian parenting skills leave a lot for the wanting. Today, however, I want to discuss points, which even we so-called modern parents may be guilty of.
#1 Having a Monetary Safety Net for Our Kids and Their Kids
Saving for “seven generations” is considered a virtue in India. Why though? Do we feel that our kids aren’t capable of standing on their own two feet? Trust them, and teach them the survival skills to go out into the world and make a truckload of money for themselves.
So instead of crushing your desires and saving up for their marriages, take that foreign vacation you’ve been putting off and enjoy your money, while you still can.
#2 Letting Go of Your Sexual Desires
There, I said it – the big white elephant in the room. So, let’s talk about it. Yes, it’s a sensitive topic, especially for us Indians. Having sex after kids doesn’t have to be that big a deal. Buy a good baby crib or toddler bed so that you can get your kids in the habit of sleeping in their own beds while they’re still young.
Let them sleep peacefully on their beds, while you reclaim your marital bed. Think about it. Which culture in the world puts their sexual desires on the back burner just because they’ve become parents?
#3 I Couldn’t Do It, but I’ll Ensure That My Child Gets to Do Everything
This thought of living your dreams through your kids is just wrong, so wrong. So you come from a very strict middle-class background and weren’t allowed to take part in extracurricular activities. That does not mean that you have to make up for it by burdening your kid to become a Michelangelo or a Messi.
This is not as uncommon as you think. I had a parent whose kid is not even two years old telling me that he wants his son to become a popular figure – be it sports, music or football. He was supposedly very good at playing the piano, but being the only brother to four sisters, he had to man up and focus on studies. So, if his son grows up to be a scientific genius, I hope that will not be disappointing for his father.
As Rumi said, “They come through you, not from you.” So, remember you’ve done your job – now let your kiddo explore and enjoy the activities he likes. Maybe he’ll make a career out of it, maybe not.
#4 Giving Unwarranted and Outdated Advice
Telling kids that they have to respect someone, just because they are older is not necessarily good advice in every situation. Instead, we should teach children to think on their own and let them pay respect to whomever they really want. Respect shouldn’t be demanded, it should be earned. Allow them to question everything and give them honest answers.
My mother still gives me advice, telling me to “respect” my husband and “serve” him his meals first every day. While I disregard this outdated advice, by loving my husband and eating our meals together, I also silently promise myself never to trouble my children with such outdated advice.
#5 No “Me Time” for Yourself
Being a parent is a full-time job. This shouldn’t translate into giving up all of your free time and dedicating your entire life and soul to kids, so much so that you forget your own individuality.
Don’t give up your hobbies, saying that there isn’t any time now that you have kids. That’s just wrong. Which kid will want to hear that his parents sacrificed their entire lives for him? So, go have fun. Take that couple’s massage or that weekend getaway, you’ve been planning. Sign up for that yoga or bakery class you wanted to. Make time to live, so that you come back to your kids refreshed.
Are you guilty of stocking up for your next seven generations? Have you tried to impose your dreams on your kids, or have you vowed to let them follow their own path? Share below!