Healthy parenting 101 needed?


Today, the internet in my house kind of shut down. And no internet means that I have time in my hand for a little diary entry while waiting for my laundry to finish.

My friends and I were talking about an interesting topic the other day. Dhanya, my friend, who came from India was (still is) in a phase of her life where she has to figure out what comes next. Her family, although not as conservative as others, was pushing her towards going to the US. She agrees, but what comes to her mind was doing her PhD there, whereas her family has something else in mind for her. You see, they think that in the US, it would be easier for her to find a partner for marriage. Yes, they are saying for her to go to US for husband hunting.

She further explained that this is how it usually is in India. She was lucky, compared to others, that her family did not arrange a marriage for her. While young women her age in India, usually marries someone that their family introduced to them. Do you know that there are websites for parents to put an ad of their children for arranged marriage? Like tinder for parents? Yes, precisely. I find that really hard to believe. Not only that it is exactly the premise of “Because I Said So”, but also at this day and age, parents still always try to have some control in their children’s lives.

Who knows? If my parents were alive, they might also try to tell me what to do with my life. Partially, I would be grateful for that, but in my head, I would also want to have a conversation with them. Sometimes I would feel lost in life, and it would be nice to have someone to converse about this. Although it also depends on how they give advice, or how they would comfort me.

Which brings me to another side of this whole debacle. Another friend of mine, whose anonymity I would grant for the fear of his/her parents reading this, loves their family very much and talks to them almost every week. Like me, they also feel lost sometimes, and they would pour their heart out to their parents. Upon hearing all of these, their parents would get worry and despite their effort of hiding it, it would always show in the form of ‘not-well-thought-of” suggestions and advices that completely disregards how their child would think and feel.

You see, it is always easy to have some kind of anxiety and depression when you are so far away from home, especially with some unsolved traumas. This idea is somehow very had for some people to understand. That on some really bad days, it would be really hard to just get out of bed, or do daily chores such as washing your dishes, take a shower, or even sleep. Some days it can be really productive, but some days your depressed mind can be crippling.

So.. suggestions like “why don’t you get a hobby, or travel sometime”, and “you can try getting a part-time job”, or “don’t go back home, just find a job there after you’re done studying”, can be a real burden on the child’s mind. Those things are easier to say than done. And imagine, if that child ended up getting a part-time job, while struggling with his/her depression, finishing his/her studies, and having to figure out what they should do next, with having in mind that their parents do not want them to go home for fear of him/her not getting a job… there is just no safety net in sight. It just feels to them that they have to have things figured out, while thinking, “I couldn’t even go home, because they said it is not okay..”

The most heart-breaking part is that the child loves their parents very much. And for fear of making them worry, sometimes the child just clench their teeth, anxiously thinking of figuring out the next step, while having to be productive each and every day, and not being able to talk about this with their loved ones. And then with no news for days, their parents would say, “hey, where have you been? Don’t be a stranger and talk to us”, or “don’t make your parents sick by making them worry with no news for so long”. The child would feel like they are running out of time. This just adds to an already crippling anxiety.

I know what you would say. Of course, their parents would not really feel that it is not okay for their child to go home. The child would know that. Intuitively yes, but it is always better to say it directly, especially to a child with already a problem with depression. Sometimes what is logic to us, is not entirely intuitive for other people, especially people with mental health issues. Remember that it is always good to say things in line with, “It’s okay to not be okay”, meaning that in this case, it would be good for the parents to say, “It’s okay if you want to go home for a bit and think things through after you are done with your studies”, or “It’s okay if you don’t travel or if you spend your free time taking care of yourself mentally, meaning having enough rest and talk to your loved ones, instead of spending your energy on a part-time job you don’t like.”

Then, imagine that the child would see a safety net in sight, a safe space where it is okay for them to not conform to life’s unrealistic expectations. They would then have an easier time living their life each day, and hopefully figure out in their own time what they want to do next without any unnecessary pressure. They would most likely be able to take well-thought-of decisions for their own life, without any anxious thought of worrying their parents. In addition, they would feel safe talking to their parents about anything, without fearing of having yet another thing to shoulder.

If I had those types of parents, I would be arguing with them almost every day. It’s different though for my friend, as they are the type of person who do not want to hurt their parents’ feelings.

These intricacies in a parents-children relationship are something that I myself have experienced up to a certain age, but not beyond. It is something that I miss dearly sometimes, but at times I am grateful for the freedom and independence that I currently have. Although lonely at times, I know that my family is always within reach.

More soon, 



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