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Is controlling parenting uncommon or common in Indian culture?

Discussion in 'Parents & Siblings' started by Loving2011, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Loving2011

    Loving2011 Silver IL'ite

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    The last time I posted this on yahoo, an Indian man got mad at me and accused me of generalizing. This isn't my intention, but I'm just trying to find if other people have been in the same boat as me. Is what I experience common in Indian culture or is it uncommon?

    I'm almost 28 and my Indian parents don't believe in the idea of being an independent adult that can do whatever you want. They think that grown daughters should always obey and listen to what the parents say. My mom's logic is "I gave birth to you. I put a roof over your head. You do what I want." My parents justified themselves by saying that "This is a part of our Indian culture. We aren't Americans ." Now that I'm independent and make my own choices, my mom guilts me for being too Americanized.

    While I'm in control of my life right now and know how to stand up to my parents, I do look back and find it hard to explain to Westerners how I had to seek approval from my parents on everything. My social life, my dating life, my clothes, my feelings, my opinions...everything was controlled by my parents. I remember telling a friend "I can't move out of my parent's home, because they won't let me." She said, "What do you mean? You're an adult. They can't stop you." It's just that I was raised that I still had to answer and please my parents, regardless of how old I was.


    I live in an area where I don't have much contact with Indians, so I'm not sure if most Indian families believe that their adult children are free to do what they want. Is it safe to say that a lot of Indian parents still want to control their adult children? Or am I a rare case?
     
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  2. deepa10

    deepa10 Gold IL'ite

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    No, u r not a rare case and most of the Indian families (as far as i know and heard of) are like that and I dont find its of a big issue/mistake. Now, since whole world is getting modernized and we ppl moving to that culture may feel that parents control us. But this behaviors of our Indian families helps us to stay us a family rather than individuals. My parents are also like that.

    Now I am married, yet they want to know what i do, where i go, am i safe and give me advice telling not to go out on late-nights..etc..etc. :rotfl I guess this is a way of showing affection on us and I am happy that they care abt me in this way!! :) Its JMO!!
     
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  3. Priya16

    Priya16 IL Hall of Fame

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    The most difficult for your parents is dating life.They are not raised in that culture and they would be very happy if you find someone and married and then they let you go away from there house.

    For right now,for there ability of there mind and there beliefs they are worried about you as a parent.My sister had a teenage girl and she too worried about her.

    Parents wants you to have good life means marriage and settle in life.They get worry that you get exposed by some guy and end up in bad shape.They really don't want to see that even they might not be prepared for any negative outcome.

    That's could be the only worry for them.You know what you are doing but for them it's very difficult to understand because they didn't go though all these.

    I hope you would understand there concern and do right choices or try to be.

    All first generation Indians might have to go through this.I may also fall into your parents shoes one day.How much we prepare for the day,it's just a worry that my daughter won't fall into wrong hand and won't make wrong decisions.
     
  4. Loving2011

    Loving2011 Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks for the replies. It helps me feel less alone. At least I can just say that my parents' culture is influencing why they did what they did. I know I shouldn't feel embarrassed, but I did feel embarrassed and guilty when non-Indians judge me for not "growing up and standing up to my parents." It's just that my family didn't believe in this "Once you're 18, you're free to do what you want."

    I'm definitely grateful that my parents are always offering to financially help out if I'm struggling. White-Americans tend to have parents that say "Go do it on your own. We're not here to help you."

    My parents let me date when I was living with them, but I was only allowed to date Indians and my mom had to know everything. Dating a non-Indian wasn't possible when living with my parents.

    When I was 24, I had someone help empower myself and I learned to set boundaries from my parents. I try to respect them and be polite, but now I know how to do what I want without feeling guilty. At age 25, I moved out to a different state for a job. My parents were crying, but they learned how to live with it. I've been doing pretty well on my own, and just try to do what's best for me. If I make a mistake and my parents say "I told you so," I just learn from it and move on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
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  5. Priya16

    Priya16 IL Hall of Fame

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    Obviously we get effected by friends.But they there parents didn't migrate from India.Suppose if your parents from Europe or even china,they don't have to struggle to adopt American culture.
    India culture is a unique in some ways.Since you have those parents,it's your responsibility to understand little bit about your parents and where they come from.

    At the end all they wanted is your welfare.Don't discuss much about your parents with your friends(becuase they don't know ABCD's of it).The more you give information the more they explore you.

    Only think about something if you are unhappy yourself but don't try to think something by influence of others.
     
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  6. teacher

    teacher Platinum IL'ite

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    I have always lived away from home but even now my mom has a million and one questions about everything:) As a teenager I think it was about what could happen, etc but now it is a way of sharing my life. It does get better-and a lot has to do with how you share information as well. Some of these issues also have to do with their experiences as immigrants.

    I can't tell you how many of my 'white american friends' have controlling parents...it has to do with what is controlled:) Besides, it is not so unique to Indians..it is present in a very different ways in other sub cultures as well.
     
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  7. hemalathaK

    hemalathaK Platinum IL'ite

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    Generally speaking , most parents do not want their children do some mistakes and repent later.In fact they absolutely hate seeing their children suffer and being unhappy.
    That's the reason behind all this controlling.May be their way of displaying affection is wrong.IMO.

    To say about me, I am in the same boat.But I sit and explain them about the consequences and the unpleasant experience they will get.It's so simple.
    You say that you will learn from your bitter faults and experiences.Parents ask children to learn from their (parents)experiences.
     
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  8. Loving2011

    Loving2011 Silver IL'ite

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    Hema-I wouldn't call my experiences or faults "bitter." I see my mistakes as gifts and valuable lessons that can further me in life. At my work, we say that we learn from screwing up and that growth comes from discomfort.

    Even though my parents mean well, I don't agree that some of their beliefs and actions are in my best interests. I had posted a different thread (that is still awaiting moderation) about dating Indian men and asked if other if other Indian women had similar experiences. My parents don't want me dating non-Indians, but I've had better experiences dating non-Indians.

    Another example is how my parents didn't want to me to move out. Living on my own has been one of the most happiest experiences in my life. It is also a great opportunity for personal growth. When you're happy and relaxed, life goes much more smoothly obviously. If something makes me unhappy and miserable, I don't believe in doing it.

    While I can understand my parents' fears about dating non-Indians and being a single woman on her own, I'm confident that this is what's best for me in order to take care of myself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
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  9. iyerponnu

    iyerponnu Gold IL'ite

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    Loving2011,

    I think Priya16 got to the nub of the issue.. First generation Indian-Americans or Indian-Brits struggled hard to be accepted in the new land, against all odds, yet they also managed to stick to their 'culture'..the one thing that they could identify themselves with.. When I meet the 60+ year olds who came to London, 30 or 35 years back, and hear their stories about how they struggled initially, it would seem like something from the history texts!! The women all generally look at me or my other friends and say that they wish that their sons would marry girls born and brought up in India (like us!!) They are/were not willing to compromise and choose girls who are born and brought up outside of India... One very sweet woman I know was really upset when her son chose a university outside of their county. It was only an hour's drive from where they lived, and she cried for about a week that her darling baby was moving away... Needless to say her 'non Indian' colleagues were quite amused... What used to be even more amusing was her taking a week off just because her 'baby' was home from uni... (he used to come every weekend, and for holidays..) I am only citing this example to show that it's not just parents of the girls who think that way, but also of the boys!!

    And well to return to the original question, no controlling is not parenting.. Control usually is the by-product of concern,but there is a very very fine line between being concerned and being controlling.. Most parents, what ever be their nationality cross that line without even realising it. They want to know everything that happens in their child's life, trying to micromanage from where ever they are. Most children start suffocating and try to split, whereby they are named traitors.. for having deserted the 'parents who struggled to give you all the advantages'... You have an advantage in that you are away from ur parents for work.. Enjoy responsibly and keep them posted about urself. Yes, it is quite an Asian thing to really keep the umbilical cords quite close.. (Incidentally it is not just Asians, Italians are notorious for being 'family orientated' too... )

    Mythili

     
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  10. Loving2011

    Loving2011 Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks pyonnu for the response.

    I don't expect Indian immigrants to adhere to American ways, because there's no law that says that you have to give up your beliefs, especially if that's all what you know.

    My definition of control is when someone has "My way or the highway" attitude and does everything in their power to influence someone to do something that they initially don't want to do. It's one thing to give advice and suggest something, but forcing them and making them feel like there's no choice is a different story.
     
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