An Open Letter to Indian Parents

– Samyukta Kamat, II BBA 

Respected Indian Parents,

This is an open letter to you. This is not to humiliate you (read the whole letter before you jump into obvious conclusions or are quick to take offence, as you normally do) but to inform you on what we feel our relationship has turned into. To understand the value of something when it is within bounds seems to be an extreme concern. In today’s enterprising world it is but essential to be well equipped with an array of skills ranging from fields like academics to extracurricular. We understand the times were different years ago. We also understand the extent to which there were financial issues, political issues among other things. But what you are unable to understand is that ‘our generation’ does not have everything on a platter either. If your generation had problems, our generation is bound to have problems of a different sort. Staying focused and level headed is quite a task in today’s world of distractions. Despite this, some of us have accomplished quite a lot at such a young age. Some of us are already entrepreneurs struggling to stand up on our own feet; some of us are studying 12 hours a day to acquire a career of our choice. You need to realise that conditions like depression and loneliness are not uncommon among adolescents nowadays. There is a need to comprehend the fact that there is pressure from every angle on each of us. In such a situation we need support and love, not rejection.

Another thing is often heard is parents bragging about how they provide basic needs for their children and how we must respect that. In the first place I would like to point out that it is their responsibility and that they had a choice of not raising a kid. A mother does not question the fact that she has to feed her baby from her breasts, it is understood that with motherhood there comes responsibility and so she takes it upon herself to nurture the infant.

Parents often speak about ‘trust’ being an important factor in the relationship between parents and children. They claim to understand anything that comes their way. But where is the ‘trust’ factor when it comes to going out for a party or just a casual gathering? What they are oblivious towards, or rather would like to turn a deaf ear to, is that a relationship works on common grounds and that it is a two-way street.  In spite of repeatedly witnessing their wards standing to take up various responsibility and being rewarded for it, parents will never fully put their  trust in them.

Lack of freedom is another complaint from most teenagers. It is appalling to see parents holding their children back so tightly. What they will never fully understand is that when freedom is not given to children they will tend to exploit it more. Why do parents not understand that giving their children some leeway will do no harm?

Our media and press only contribute to their mindset, constantly feeding their mind with negative news relating to gruesome rape cases and murders among other things. One needs to take into account the fact that one cannot bring their lives to a complete standstill because of these incidents. Taking precautions is definitely feasible, but not completely halting. Not letting your child venture out because of these mishaps are almost similar to quitting your job because of one or two odd setbacks. Why are we allowing criminals to defeat us by instilling fear factor in our children instead of teaching them to stand up for themselves?

A still from the movie Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

A still from the movie Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

‘Age’ is often brought up during arguments. But why must age be a contributor in deciding what is right? Age can no longer be a benchmark to decide maturity levels. It is already proven that some people attain maturity at younger ages. Experience and circumstances have taught us to handle situations with full understanding and maturity, perhaps even better than a so called ‘adult’. So, surprise surprise, today’s generation is not so laid back either.

Let’s not compare, they say, but as soon as the results come to their notice the gambling game of comparing commences. Pushing the child towards his full capacity is one thing, but nagging is a complete different thing. One needs to understand that nagging tends to have a reverse effect and becomes a de-motivator eventually.

So, dear parents, we understand that you love us compassionately and that you worry for us and our future but what you don’t comprehend is that all of us will make it someday in life just like you did. Your intention may not be negative, but what you are looking past is the fact that you are killing us all slowly with your thoughts. You need to learn to accept the chaos in our lives and deem that chaos as beautiful because it will all fall into place someday and that is the day that our views will finally be in harmony.

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