Time brings changes. Indian Parents are no different. As children, we grew up in very different times compared to the times that our children are growing up in. Are these changes good or bad? Well, frankly delving on that question is not going to get us anywhere. Our reality is different, and we need to make the best of it.
Here are some things about Indian Parents, that have certainly changed for the better!
1. Lesser Corporal Punishment (a.k.a Hitting the Child!)
Many people of my generation will agree with me when I say that hitting children was quite common. Not just at home, many of us got hit by our teachers in school as well. I certainly got hit many times. ? I remember a funny story of an Indian who lived for a long time in the USA, had a child born there and after few years came to India for the first time along with his child. As soon as they landed in India, the parent gave one whack to the Child on his back at the airport. When the startled child asked why he got hit, the parent told the Child, “I have wanted to do this many times in the US but I could not. Not that we are in India, I can be an Indian Parent. That was for all your past Karma.”
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Thankfully, both in Schools and Homes, corporal punishment has reduced a lot. Today Indian parents are realising that they do not NEED to hit the child. You can raise a well-disciplined child without raising a finger.
Parents who resort to corporal punishment are usually adopting a style called ‘Authoritarian’.
2. Not-so Angry Fathers!
I hate to generalize but sometimes I feel that our Fathers were really really ANGRY! Angrier than Amitabh. Fathers would be angry if some object was not in the place that it was supposed to be, and they would be angry if food was not hot. A Father was the Man of the house and he behaved like it was his duty to be angry. Sometimes, my dad behaved as though his default emotional state was Anger. And like Newton’s Laws, state of Anger would continue unless and until acted upon by an unexpected force of happiness. Over time I think Indian men have mellowed down. That’s good because Angry homes are not exactly great for the child.
3. Fading Gender Stereotypes
Roles of Mothers and Fathers used to be very clearly defined back in our days. Today the boundaries are getting blurred, if not erased. I think slowly we are approaching a point where we will read about Gender only in Biology and History classes. I mean, when you see more men in Parent Teacher Meetings than mothers, you know that things are changing. With more women going to work, lesser support from grandparents and un-affordable nannies/support staff, men have had to step up. And boy (or is that girl these days?), have they stepped up or what? Today, they are second to none even when it comes to diaper changing. This is a positive step in the right direction and is very beneficial to the child and its development.
4. Conversational Parenting
Back in my days, Indian parents and children did not have conversations. Certainly not with Fathers! Fathers would talk and children would listen. The role was clear as to who the Talker was and who the Listener was! And most of us did not dare ‘talk-back’ to the Father. The hierarchy was clear. Sometimes when my Father used to talk I used to feel I was listening Bhishma taking his Pratigya and in the background, there was thunder and lightning. Now slowly monologues have started becoming dialogues. And this is a good change. Talking more to your child and listening and encouraging conversations has immense benefits.
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Do you practice any different parenting style other than the mentioned ones? Or does your parenting style change depending on the situation?
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