An email: I want my parents to know the real me, why do I have to lie?

Many Indian women and girls can’t follow much loved and harmless activities because their grandmothers didn’t. Or sometimes because the activity might seem like a waste of time (or worse!) to the families of prospective bridegrooms?

How would you respond to this email by Too Independent?


I have always lived life my way. Tactics to get what I wanted include lotsa fighting and stuff. So I have always been branded selfish, ungrateful, insensitive. My relationships never lasted. Of course my fault. Like, when I acted touch-me-not, guy’s possessiveness became too much to handle and suchlike… I don’t want to give up my freedom and independence for anyone…

My sisters know everything about me. Both married and settled abroad. Truly, they are the best daughters. They share everything with mummy/papa. Clothes, career, life partner everything was chosen by my parents till they got married. And they are happy too. May be that’s why they overreact when I move off the track. But ever since I stopped open defiance and started hiding things from them, there is peace.

I have always wanted a bike and now I have saved enough for a Bajaj Avenger. I daren’t tell my parents. I don’t have to, I know… But I am getting sick of hiding things from them and lying. I am an avid back packer and go for adventure, camping trips alone… if my parents know this they will kill me…
What if I get a bike without their permission and cause an accident? I don’t make sense do I?

I have always disappointed my parents… may be I am too independent for them… No one seems to understand that I don’t enjoy hurting people… Why do I always have to choose? Could you share your thoughts on your blog… its not a big deal enough to blog about… after all in a country where bride burnings, rapes and dowry deaths are common, my peevishness seems very petty…

I learned biking secretly when I was in high school… Just as I was screwing up my courage to tell papa that I want a bike, he surprised me with a scooty pep after my high school.. I’m not saying pep is bad and it was really awesome of him… had some great fun with my pep. But desire for bike is burning more than ever, obsession may be…

More than that I want my parents to know the real me and accept it. That I wear short skirts; that I go for unplanned trips; that I am pranking my suitors away because I don’t want to marry at present; that I am trying for M.Phil and will go to City X. (was planning to lie and say I got transferred to City X).

What dya think? Lie or truth? But the prospect of handling the drama… Phew!!

And I know that as a parent you wouldn’t like your kids to lie to you… Hell, I would hate it too if my kids lie to me…

I am yet to learn the art of tact and sensitivity, but really trying…


Too Independent (26)


81 thoughts on “An email: I want my parents to know the real me, why do I have to lie?

  1. You cannot be too independent at 26! You OUGHT to be able to make your own decisions at this age and stick to them. If your parents cannot handle it, it is their problem. I think it’s a good idea to move out, and then gradually inform the parents that this is how you are. If you are not around, they cannot throw a tantrum, can they? Once you move out, their hold over you will gradually loosen and they will start accepting you as you are. Of course, they will look disapproving, but they will refrain from interfering. Go for it! Be yourself, be happy!


  2. It is a tremendous pity that conservative intolerant parents push their own children away, by refusing to be open to new ideas and to support their children, even when the children make choices differently from the parents.

    I think the best thing is to be honest. To tell your parents openly that this is what you want. That you love them and respect them, but that it is your life, and you hope for their support in choosing how, where and with whom you wish to live that life.

    Sometimes that is not possible, because the parents are too set in their ways, and too intolerant towards any ideas that are different. Then you have the choice of lying, or atleast modifying the truth somewhat, or tell them the truth and deal with the consequences. I recomment that, unless you’ve got reason to fear bodily harm in that case. If parents are bad enough that they’d actively hurt you just for making choices they disagree with, then you’re better off severing ties to them completely. You do not want people in your life (for any reason) that threathen you or harm you.

    You have the right to decide how you want to live your life. I am a father myself, and I can tell you that there are many decisions my son, and my daughters could make that I would disagree with. I would however still accept that it is their right to make their own choices, and no choice they make could make me love them less.


  3. I can so very totally get you! I am a rebel according to Indian society in my own way but usually I never expressed my feelings or opinions on a score o things coz hell will break loose.
    My parents nor my sis know that I think the religious teachings of my caste/ religion is not something I agree with, I don’t believe in arranged marriage at all or that I date!
    Yes I just don’t tell them coz I got no energy to bear the drama but since I am away from home, barely matters and I don’t want to go back to India and be restricted because of this.
    I keep complaining about all the issues that bother me especially position of women in India and am thinking of starting a blog on this (on advice of my friend who is probably tired of hearing me vent my anger and my inability to face it head on and do some activism).
    Don’t worry, you are not alone. There are years I have spent crying coz I wondered how all the other girls could fit into the role of Indian woman so perfectly while I tried and was so unhappy. How the hell could anyone be happy with their rights being restricted??
    Being abroad and meeting people who do not fit in their cultures has made me feel better and know that I just do not fit in. You either like it or not.


  4. I hear echoes of my younger self in your mail. The burning desire to do what your heart says. And the unshakable conviction that you are right. And the sad truth, that with such differences in the way your parents’ and your views, that only one of you can be fully happy. Why do you have to choose? Bad luck, karma, take your pick. Its a tough choice, but choose yourself. Tactful and sensitive – you either are or aren’t. You can try but it only goes so far (voice of experience!) So i’d say go full steam ahead with your plans for your life.

    But you owe your parents the truth. Their disapproval of your lifestyle would not overshadow their care and concern for you. You don’t have to sugarcoat it either. Tell them that you love them and you aren’t doing this for the express purpose of hurting them. But nothing they say or do will change your mind. It will be difficult yes. There will be tears, drama, lashings of guilt. But if in your heart, you know this is right for you. So state your case and then quietly stand steadfast like a mountain. In the absence of tact, sheer stubbornness goes a long way. Trust me. I should know! Good luck


  5. Being a rebel is a very good thing. But it has to come with responsibility. If your parents do not accept you the way you are even after being responsible, they should be told(which I know is not very easy), but atleast you shouldn’t be lying to them. I believe that no parent would want to harm their child. Their decisions are such that it doesn’t cause harm to their children, for sure.


    • The “rate down”s suggest that I haven’t made myself clear. At 26, if you are responsible enough, I don’t see anything wrong about being a rebel. (I’ve seen people who claim to be rebels and end up no-where because they lack focus and responsibility). Inspite of being responsible, if your parents still have an issue with you being you, they need to be told the truth. Lying won’t help much.
      Parents want to see their children happy. The whole problem arises when your definition of happiness and theirs does not coincide.


      • I voted you down both times, and here is why: your concern seems to be entirely about being “fair” to the parents, no matter what the cost to the daughter.

        That’s wrong.

        Parents who are likely to, and through circumstances like this one (living together) have the power to, make life hell for a rebellious daughter do not deserve to be told the truth. Telling them the truth means they will restrict the daughter’s life considerably. Is that fair to her?

        To hell with parents who do not respect the personhood of their grown daughters. (It’s always daughters, do you notice? Never sons!) I advise this daughter to lie her ass off if that is what it takes to live her life the way she wishes with no compromises.


  6. I’m reminded of a friend’s FB status update. It goes like this.
    He answers 3 ways. 1) He says yes and gives u what u want. 2) He says no and gives u something better. 3) He says wait and gives u the best.

    Thats my dad!! 🙂


    • Very nice! But how many years should be taking stuff from a father, and await his permission to say yes or no and make the decision on what to give? This is a beautiful sentiment for a 5 year old child, or even a 15 year old. But in a 25 year old … ???


      • Agreed. But it shows that if you look at your parents to decide, irrespective of their age, you should trust that their decision will never harm you. If you don’t want them to decide for you, be honest about it and tell them.


      • I completely fail to understand the popular belief that parents will always want the best for their children and will never do anything to harm them. Its one of the biggest lie going around in our society. Aren’t the dowry deaths from forced arranged marriages proof enough..?

        I pity adult grown up children who still depend on their parents for decision making and consider it virtuous to do things only with their approval. I hope people realize this without paying a very heavy price.


  7. Hiding/Lying is no solution.. It would create an image of yours that would lead them to make certain assumptions about you and your life, which might translate into a bigger crisis.. Why invite trouble??!! And if you want to avoid a head-on collision, try more subtle ways to let them know what you are upto!!

    My parents didn’t know that I drink occasionally. After coming back from a trip to Goa, while telling them about various experiences we had, I told them casually about how good wine is with sizzlers. and then quickly went on to other incidents!
    We did have a discussion on this at some point.. but by then the effect of ‘impact’ was substantially reduced 🙂


    • Well you can’t enjoy good food without wine anyway 🙂

      An alternate approach would have been to gift a good bottle of wine to your parents on returning from that trip! And casually say something like, “this was one of the better wines I had this trip”.


  8. You are not alone girl. This is the dilemma most of us Indian women face – to follow our dreams and lie or be truthful and have the dreams squashed. When I was 16, I went to see Kaho Na Pyaar Hai with friends, without informing parents. Those three hours were pure torture, because I kept thinking that if there is a fire now.. and I die (Uphaar was fresh in the mind at the time), my parents will be devastated at the fact that i lied to them! After that I realised that lying can serve no purpose. This is because the biggest thing you can lose in life is “trust”. Therefore, I prefer to have a conversation with my parents and inform them of my decisions and seek their opinions too. It is not always pretty, and sometimes there is a cold war.. but its better than living a double life in your own home.
    At 26 you are old enough to take decisions, weigh the pros and cons and present them to your parents. Usually, all parents need to know is that you have thought a decision through and are ready to face the consequences!


  9. I am girl. I am 25, I travel on unplanned back packing trips and I do ride a bike. Still cant afford to own one but one day I will. I think I get ur situation of truth and lies as I have been that person who travels out on various lies.

    I was this person who used to worry endlessly abt me lying at home but the moment of peace came to me when I accepted myself first. Acknowledge the fact that you are what you want urself to be nothing wrong or right abt it, what ppl think of u is their perceptions of the world around. The moment you can say that and accept that completely that “I am right” everything else like abt telling parents etc will become easier and much simpler.

    Bigger battles are fought inside than outside.


  10. Tell!
    Don’t keep it bottled up.
    Don’t be secretive.
    They will find out anyway.
    If you don’t tell them now and face the situation squarely the problem will get worse.
    I have nothing new to say about the reasons for being open.
    All that occurred to me have already been said by those who commented before me.
    Wish you all the best.


  11. It is good that you want to lead an independent life on your own terms, fine but at the same time you should be straight & truthful towards parents. Certain things they may not relish or agree but there are other ways which has to be explored. Like, you can talk to some one (including sisters) who may be close to your parents and who can convey your feelings & plans to them. Its all about taking somebody in confidence.


    • I don’t get why the daughter, who is supposed to be the closest to the parents, should need an agent to talk to the parents? It is the parents’ job to ensure that their children can come and discuss anything with them. If that has not happened, then perhaps they should look into themselves and wonder why it has not happened, instead of everyone urging the girl (woman, really) to tell them the truth and get a drama for her pains. I can do it personally, but not everyone can handle drama with ease or be able to ignore it. It is not the woman’s fault that her parents are unable to treat her like a grown up.


      • I mean I am not saying she should keep lying to her parents forever. But saying they “deserve” the truth? Those who cannot accept the fact that their grown up daughter goes hiking (I mean, seriously!) perhaps don’t exactly deserve the truth. Too Independent must tell the truth for her own peace of mind, not because it is deserved.


      • Parents aren’t perfect, and neither are children. The decision is hers to make – If she’s living with them, it makes sense to at least be honest (if she’d like them to know, that is). Facing the music is also something she has to come to terms with – if her sisters/parents don’t understand her, she can’t drum it into their heads, can she?
        If she can’t put up with their disapproval, she can consider moving out and maintaining her distance. Or, she should just grin and bear it.

        Just because we don’t see eye-to-eye with someone on a particular topic(s), it doesn’t mean that they don’t love us or that they don’t ‘deserve’ any sort of love from us!


      • @Reader,

        Exactly, just because we don’t see eye-to-eye with someone on a particular topic(s), it doesn’t mean that they have to throw a tantrum and try to make you do things their own way. We should agree to disagree, which unfortunately most Indian parents cannot do.


  12. I am not a parent so I don’t know completely how parents would react but I have been at 26 and understand what you are going through – Like someone else pointed out – unless you fear physical harm, come out clear – else – I know its tough – but you need to then leave you house and let them realize what they have lost. I am really hoping they’ll accept you as you are.


  13. Your independence is worth fighting for-always remember that. Now, it is preferable to have a harmonious relationship with the parents, but if this isn’t the case, you might have to come to terms with the fact that they will not support your choices. Which is fine, as long as they never stop loving you. By standing up for yourself, your choices, your heart, your desires, you are are doing something very important. You never know what little Indian girl in your town might see you as an example and look up to your bravery. This is how change happens. Be true to yourself, give your parents a chance to support you, and possibly make a difference.

    Good Luck!


  14. I totally get what you’re saying. I know that in many way, I make my parents incredibly proud and happy. But I also know that in many ways, my values and belief systems are so radically different from theirs that they are bound to be disappointed in me. I’ve figured that I deal with it in three different ways:

    1. Battle it out upfront. Tell them the truth, stand by it through the ensuing battle, and let them understand that this is how you are, and that they are going to have to accept it. I did this when I decided to marry a guy who they felt was unsuitable. I did this when I wanted to quit my corporate job to join an NGO. There will be disappointment, tears, fights and arguments, but if you are strong in your belief and conviction, your parents will have to eventually come around and accept it.

    2. Slowly ease them into it. So my parents didn’t want me to go on overnight trips with friends because they worried about me and my safety. But I didn’t want to lie about it. So I would tell them I was out somewhere close to Bangalore (where I lived then) rather than in Goa. And then slowly they learnt to accept as I went further and further – and eventually reached a point where I even convinced them to send my sister with me on a short backpacking trip across Europe. The same with clothes – I first started wearing with knee length shorts and skirts and tops with thin sleeves every time I visited home, and behaved like it’s no big deal. Eventually, my parents have learnt to accept that I wear shorts, skirts, dresses, spaghetti tops, tube tops etc. and they are mostly okay (not happy, just okay) with it.

    3. Lie. In some cases, I realise that there is no other option but to lie, but I only do this if the issue involved is very trivial and won’t really make much of a difference. For example, in b-school, since we worked really late into the night on group projects, guys and girls often fell asleep in the same room; sometimes a male friend would be studying with me in my room for an exam, and we’d take turns sleeping while the other studied. But my parents were extremely uncomfortable about this and nothing I said could convince them otherwise – and I felt it wasn’t a big enough deal to insist on telling the truth and deal with the daily drama that followed so I just stopped telling them that.
    The same thing with drinking – I enjoy the occasional drink but it’s something my parents aren’t willing to accept. I did tell my mother once that I drink but I simply couldn’t handle the incredible amount of tears and drama that followed so now I lie about it (or more accurately, simply don’t mention that I drink, rather than actively lie that I don’t) because this again isn’t a big enough deal that I should fight for their acceptance.

    At the end of the day, its important for you to make your own decisions and choices. Whether your parents accept them or not is a secondary matter. Sure, it would be wonderful if our parents completely accepted us for who we are, but that isn’t how it is for most people. Each of us has a different way of dealing with our differences with our parents – it’s important for you to find one that you are most comfortable with.


  15. Even I am 24 and I’m facing similar it our fault that we are independent?..I’ve lied many times to my parents to avoid confrontation..I love travelling and most of the times, my parents let me do whatever they want, but beyond a point, they don’t understand that I love to travel and they try to stop me..There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it..Its the same story in a million homes, fighting has never done anything for me..Let me know what u decide to do..I’ll also do the same 😀


  16. Dear Too Independent,
    I empathize with you. I know telling the truth feels right but I also know how difficult it is to deal with all the emotional melodrama day in and day out. I know how bad one feels,Especially when parents are supposed to be the ones who accept children completely. I know parents will frown upon me but, I say what I feel is practical. Try all the right things that others have said, and if that does not work out try this.

    You said something about doing M phil in City X. You intended to tell you parents that you got transfer. If your parents will be willing to take transfer as an excuse to move, then they will be able to take better job opportunities /higher education for moving to City too, with some convincing. Say you are not ready for marriage, Again and Again and Again. Don’t lie about this.
    This is a messy thing in India.

    You have waited this far for the Bike. Will 6 more months make a difference? After you move, register the bike and then tell your parents. Living your life is easier if you are a little far away. But make sure you don’t behave like a bird out of a cage. Your parents will be hurt.

    If you want to do certain things, do it. But do you need to do it in front of them? I sometimes feel sorry for them. And somehow I don’t think it is fair of us, to ask complete acceptance from them.

    Our generation will live our life(oh you will , don’t worry. A spirit like yours always does. It will wither away if it does not :)) and we will allow our children to live their life. Our grandparents lived for their children and their children (our parents) lived for their parents (our grandparents)so that’s ok too. But our parents…. They lived for their parents and now their children say they need to live their life according to their wish and not the wish of parents.

    Its hardest for them to understand, I feel. I am not saying it’s right but maybe if we understand their mentality it will be easier for us to communicate with them.

    As for your going on un planned trips, I admire your courage but I also understand if your parents freak out. I myself would freak out. Maybe you can get a partner and tell them it’s ok. I know you like to go alone but it’s all about negotiations and compromises you know. I can write so much more but this itself is too long. Hang on there baby….It’s going to be better.
    PS: I have no idea if i have helped.


  17. Dont feel so bad about all of this…

    Its okay not to tell the complete and absolute truth all the time. This lack of acceptance by parents is very common and if its any consolation, is faced by sons as well as daughters. A son wanting to grow his hair is met with the same disapproval as a daughter wanting to cut her hair. All of this is about “what will people think”.

    My solution has been to move out far enough that there cannot be surprise visits. I used to tell them that I am going for movie with friends, but left out the part that all of these friends were male. Told them about most dinners, but left out the wine part. If you dont look at it as lying, half of your worries will vanish.

    By all means tell them the truth if they can bear it. I know my parents cannot understand my life, my priorities and the strange (according to them) things I just have to do. If I tell them the truth, I shift my worries to them. My mom n dad would constantly worry about me!

    So I look at this ‘lying’ as sparing them the tension.
    Coming to the part where you not wanting your kids to lie to you – Dont judge them when they tell you the truth, the rest should be easy!


    • Dont judge them when they tell you the truth, the rest should be easy! – Perfect!

      The burden for this lies on the parent, not the offspring.


  18. Option-1 is Tell-It-All, to totally make them aware of your lifestyle choices at one go and say that those choices are not meant to cause them hurt; that’s just the way you are. They will try to control you, but eventually give in. You will just have to give them time. Remember ‘Bend It Like Beckham’?

    Option-2 is One-Step-At-a-Time. It begins with telling the major events of your life without the details or the real purpose.I think you can tell your parents about M-Phil because it is an academic thing; nothing that traditional parents would consider tom-boyish or weird. If you live separately in city X, you will be able to have a life of your own without having to tell every single detail of your life. That’s when you can buy a motor-cycle saying that was the best option in city X for xyz reason. You don’t have to mention the trips you will be making alone. Once they feel confident about your driving skills and safety, you can tell about the trips in “groups” and once they are comfortable with that, you can say you are going “alone”.

    You might feel uncomfortable with option 2 since you are not divulging the entire truth. It is a middle ground between option 1 and completely lying. This might cause a little stir every time you divulge something about your lifestyle, but it could be manageable.

    Talking to your sisters will do you no good. Either because they pride themselves in being the perfect daughters or because they secretly desired the freedom you talk about.


  19. I was in the same situation as this girl just 7-8 years ago. I lied to my parents, did everything I wanted, and things have worked out great. Right now I can look back at my teenage years and young adulthood and say, THANK GOD I didn’t let stupid, misogynistic, backward ideas ruin the most carefree years of my life!

    “Too Independent”, don’t listen to people who are advising you to tell the truth. Your parents don’t deserve it. To be someone’s confidante, to be told the truth about someone’s inner life and true self – that is a respect that must be earned. If they wanted to be the most trusted person in your life, they should have acted in a trustworthy manner instead of forcing you to live by their rules.

    If you tell them the truth, they can and will restrict your life, try to make you live by their rules, and generally give you hell. Why all that jhanjhat?

    This is your time to live, see the world, grow, roam, find out who you really are. Do it! You will regret it later if you don’t! Nobody lying on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had allowed my parents to control my life more when I was young.” 😛


    • Ok Too Independent, at this point i feel i must clarify that the truth only works so far as your basic relationship with your parents is solid and this is one of the things you disagree on. I knew even at my most obnoxious that no matter how difficult i was with them, if i was in trouble my parents would coming running to bail me out and wouldn’t utter even one i told you so until the issue had been resolved (the fireworks would be after the dust cleared!) If you feel they might mistreat you, cut off funding (if you’re still dependent on them), lock you in a room etc etc, then I would have to agree with samosa of doom that they dont deserve the truth.


  20. I just read all the comments so far.

    I have a brother who used to do things my late mom would not approve of.
    She could smell from a mile away whenever he intended to do something like that.
    She would of course ask what he was up to whenever she suspected.
    The answer she invariably got was “Ask no questions, and I will tell you no lies”
    My mom would respond “Okay, I won’t ask you. So will you tell me the truth?”
    My brother would have no answer. He did what he wanted.
    Sometimes he did foolish things too.
    And sometimes my mom, with no college education and armed with just plain common sense, was right.

    I stand by my earlier comment.
    Tell the truth and battle it out if you have the conviction that you are right.
    I know that elders are not always right.
    But are youngsters always right?
    A frank dialogue is the right way to go.
    After that dialogue and if it fails, and if you are 26, then go ahead and do what you want without bothering about the views of the elders.
    Under no circumstances should you lie to them.
    I disagree with everyone who advise lying.


    • Agree on being against lying, GV. Besides the ethics of it (and not liking it when anyone lies to me), it just takes too much energy, energy that might be otherwise occupied riding a bike! 😀


      • I agree …just tell them the truth..its so much easier…and anyways at 26 I dont think you need any approval…you are old enough to decide na…..enjoy your life..and if you do it without any tension of lying to your parents, go ahead and do it


    • I do agree with GV here. When I have been in situations where my parents did not allow me to do certain things, I have found telling the truth and fighting it out easier than hiding from them. I tried hiding once but found out that enjoying something while hiding is not that much fun. But then, such disagreements were very few, and fortunately the parents either let me be (and let me do what I wanted) or talked sense to me (where either I understood their pov or did not understand).


    • GV, this is not about being right or wrong. This is merely about the right to make mistakes as an adult. Parents certainly and definitely have the right to advise and counsel you against making an idiot of yourself, but that’s as far as they should go. Creating a tantrum for the express purpose of control, or because you think another adult citizen of a free country should do what you say, simply doesn’t gel.

      FYI, by “you”, I don’t actually mean YOU! 😉


  21. this is age-old problem , parents want u to be virgin mary but u want to be madonna. if u dont lead a rockstar life now, when will u … at 50 ?? Dont waste your youth under influence of our moral brigade. Apart from this, im afraid its not the same with outside society.if u r having other issues such as bad relationships, frequent quarrels, adjustment issue then there may be improvement needed in your personality as well. Otherwise you will start losing friends.


  22. Well there are things you keep private in general and don’t share with all and sundry. It seems here though that it would enable you to be a truer yourself if you get some curtains pulled away – you’re doing no crime. So what if you want to ride a bike or wear short skirts? Others do it and you should just be able to.

    If it were me, I would just tell – lying and keeping track of it all and then actually having some kind of a relationship with the person you’re lying to don’t go together for me. Not judging – just think it takes a lot more energy to constantly lie than get it over in one shot. Do remember that the mental turmoil in only in you, that can’t be good for you. Plus this way, your parents have no chance of even trying to handle it – if they don’t know, they’ll never get to even trying to accept. Assuming of course that they care to have a good relationship with their child.

    Lying to go and study? Seriously? Thought studying was ‘good daughter’ territory in the first place. Good luck whichever way you choose to go!


  23. IHM, I used to think it is only parents who have daughters behave this way. After I got married, I realise this behaviour is not exclusive to those who have girls. My husband’s parents “do not allow” him to do a lot of things. He is 28 years old today, living independently, away from home, earning his own money, but his parents do not allow him to drink. Not even a glass. Not even occasionally. They do not allow him to go clubbing. They do not allow a lot of other things. That does not mean we don’t go ahead and do them. We do all that we want to. But our lives, for the most part are kept secret from them. We can be honest with them, but that will mean fighting an endless battle, one that leaves you emotionally drained. Or we can continue to do what we want without their knowledge. We do the latter for the sake of peace. Both theirs and ours.

    While I agree that this behaviour and attitude is more rampant if the parents have a daughter, I would say on the whole, a lot of Indian parents believe they have a right to decide for their child. I think this is a flaw in our culture. After all, in India, we are made to believe that a parent’s will should never be questioned.

    I have written a post that talks about this. It is lying somewhere in my drafts. Let me go and pull it out.


    • I am surprised there is support for lying to one’s parents in the minds of some of you. I just can’t agree. I recommend fighting it out than using deceit with one’s own parents.

      Here is my view as a parent, described even more clearly.

      I have a 34 year old daughter (married) and an unmarried 25 year old son.
      Till they were 18, I would insist on deciding what they should do or not do.
      After they crossed 18, I would only advise but never insist that they follow my advice.
      Today they live their own lives. I don’t “allow” or “disallow” anything. Even when they are visiting me and living with me. I have no business doing that.
      They are old enough to know what is best for them.
      However, I may disapprove of somethings they may want to do.

      Consider three scenarios:
      1)They tell me and note my disapproval and then go ahead and do it anyway.
      2)They don’t tell me and do it. I become aware only later.
      3)They tell me they will NOT do it just to keep me happy (that is they lie to me) and than do it secretly and I come to know later.

      My feelings:
      1)I would be sad
      2)I would be sadder
      3)I would be the saddest.

      In all three cases, I will rush to their help if they get into trouble doing what I disapproved. I won’t say “I told you so?”
      In all three cases, I will congratulate them if they benefited from what they did and I realize my advice or disapproval was wrong.



      • GVji, you sound a lot like my parents. When it comes to my parents, I ALWAYS fight it out, because at the end of the day, they see reason. To be honest, I would prefer it if Mint chose to fight it out with his parents too. But he doesn’t want to do that and I do not interfere with the way he wants to deal with them.

        Fighting it out works only if the parent is rational and not blind in their beliefs. They work under the premise that parents know best, which is far from the truth. They refuse to consider your point of view. It is like banging your head against a wall. You end up hurt. The wall doesn’t show any signs of a crack.

        Even so, you could fight it out if your parents did not permit you to do one thing. Or two. Or three. Or four. But consider this – if your parents are against almost every single choice you make on a day to day basis, then life becomes nothing more than a long, tiring battle. Sometimes you want to focus on just living your life instead of fighting for it.


      • The way you put it, you are justified as a parent in knowing the truth. But let me ask you, would you expect them or even think it is justified to expect sons and daughters to tell the truth when the result is going to be tears, tantrums, “How could you’s”, “log kya kahenges” excessively loud shouting that the neighbours could hear, and sobbing all night. Merely for wanting to go hiking!

        Telling the truth makes sense to someone who is willing to accept the truth, no matter how harsh it is. But someone who simply wants to exercise their control by the above means has no use for the truth.

        Note that the lady lives with her parents. A life that is perpetually about fighting with the parents for the most basic things isn’t really worth living.

        It all depends on the kind of parents Too Independent has.


      • Not sure about this GV. I was pretty much like too independent a few years ago. Usually, I just hid information. Never lied. Just did not tell them. I did if they specifically asked. And then just heard the shouting that was to follow. But did that next time again. They NEVER understood.
        Now that I am married and officially transferred to the other family, they do not “interfere” or get too upset. But they still DON’T UNDERSTAND.

        Frankly, I think avoid confrontation as far as possible. Does not serve anything. It’s ok to lie/conceal truth if the other party is not ready to understand.


  24. I find it it very unfair for the children, esp adults, to be told that their parents deserve to know the truth and they are being ethically wrong by withholding truth or lying to them. These very people and such parents do not, very conviniently, spare a moment to introspect and think why their children find it difficult to confide in them…is it ALWAYS the child’s fault…kya taali kabhi bhi do haath se nahi bajti?? Have they worked on developing a bond and an environment at home where everybody is respected, their opinions/ wishes are respected…where adult children are treated as adults and everyone is free to excersise their decision making rights and the right to make mistake???

    My mother for one has never felt the need for such introspections and finds it more convinient to blame everything on me. And I for one cannot respect people who are this illogical and self centered.


    • It is important for parents to bring up their kid in such a way that they can trust them with anything! And I take this upon me as my most challenging role as a parent to make sure that my 8 year old can come to us she need me or me wife for somethign without being afraid of the repercussions..


      • I completely agree with you. I think it ultimately boils down to unconditinal love and acceptence. Even a young kid can sense that the parents care more for society in general and relatives approval in particular than the kid. Everyone talks about not hurting your parents…afterall you are here because of them…I have not heard anyone talk about how hurt the child (young or adult) feels when his/ her feeling are not respected… by lack of unconditinal realizing that their own parents care more about what society will think of them.. Will such people ever realize how let down and betrayed the child feels…how desperatly some kids try to win their approval and how some of them end up completely alieniating their kids.


  25. My take is that lie or speak the truth depending what serves you. As readers we would still only have a piece of your life you have chosen to share but real life dynamics are lot more complicated. Having said that I found being honest as the best policy but sometimes it is better to delay that honesty also works good. E.g if you are in a strong environment where you think u might grounded or they have the power to do it, then lying is a better option, but if you think you will still have options to explore just that you will have an uneasy life in the house, you might as well speak the truth and face it.

    Well, daughters are ofcourse at a receiving end in a big way. But I think it happens to boys too. I’m also a rebel for my house and the best way I could serve my interest is to live miles away from them and do what I believe is right. It is not about disrespecting or hurting them, but to LIVE our LIFE! And maybe down the line see that you were doing is in good interest.

    As a eldest son in the family (marwari) I was under extreme pressure to not get into academics or research or an engineer (what suited them was a doctor, IAS, ITO, or just join the family business) and it din’t make sense to be a prof. at some university! So, after somehow managing life at my native place till BSC physics, I ran away and pursued higher studies etc.. and eventually created a base in Hyderabad so that my sisters (youngers to me) could pursue their dreams too! When it was all happening I or my sister’s weren’t supported. But now looking back, they are all happy ..and believe it or not- the next generation of people who are emerging in the same small town are now studying and they say- “want to be like Anil”.. So, lot of it changes when you have proven yourself but wouldn’t find your nice when you are doing it!

    I must hastily add that there are still people in the same small town who called their girls from Delhi after doing MBA and not letting her continue in a job after that ..and off to get her married! A story as recent as last week!


  26. Every problem has a solution and most of the time the solution to that problem lies within us. We all can give you advice but you are a better judge of your family and your circumstances. Each situation has to be handled according to the situation at that point of time. Sadly in our society a child remains a child to the parents till they are alive, which means you can be sixty and if your parents are around they will still want to treat you like a child lol.. but it is up to each one of us to decide and set boundaries. Love, respect and communication is very imp in any relationship. You need to first take a decision and be firm on what is it that you really want to do?? To be with your parents or move out and live an independent life??? I guess most of us, want to be in the good book of our parents and therefore lie to fulfill our pleasures but in the long run we are only creating a wider gap in our relationships with them. Grow up in the real sense, take responsibility of your actions, talk them as adults and then take it from there. If they are mature and understand your needs and point of view, they will get around sooner or later or you could move out and live the life of your choice with out feeling guilty. You definitely need to have a heart to heart with them. Be Assertive but not aggressive in your approach. Best of luck.


  27. the reason to lie starts when one avoids to fight
    its not easy to fight with your parents for every small wish but its always better to fight then lie
    one may get a label or tag of being a rebel still its much better then being a liar
    indian woman believe that what they can get easily by maipulation they should not fight for and lying is one way of manipulation
    when we fight , we become a eyesore but then there is no guilt because we are justifying what we think it correct for us and if we are an adult then it is the best way out to put your foot down and do what you want to do rather than lying and manuplating

    manipulation is easy way out its like saying i am against dowry but cant stop my parents from giving


    • I don’t think that is an apt example. There are things you should really stand up for and put your foot down, like marriage and babies and studies and work. But when it comes to petty things like what clothes to wear, whether to drink or not, what to eat, or as in this instance, whether to go hiking or not or whether to buy a bike, it is okay to not mention it. We cannot live in one perpetual battle all our lives, or where is the time to live?


    • One important point is that there is no requirement to “discuss” or “fight” over everything. Indeed, if you have made up your mind about what you want to do, you probably do -not- want to “discuss” it.

      If you tell your parents (or anyone else) about a decision of yours, and they start critiquing it, it is sometimes best to not enter into a discussion about it, but instead simply say: “I am sorry you feel that way, however I have made my decision already, and don’t want to argue about it.”

      If they still persist, just get up and leave the room. You get to choose which discussions you want to have, and which not.


  28. Too Independent,

    Some things must be made clear to the parents, while it is all right if you simply don’t inform them of the other things. Parents don’t really need to be told everything. In my opinion, it depends on the individual relationship. If it is strong enough for people to share smaller things with the parents, go ahead. If all you are going to get is tears and recriminations, why bother? Not worth it!

    Personally, I share the parts of my life with the family that I know they would be interested in. I skip the parts that would lead to an argument, and I don’t think they even want to know about it because they know they cannot control me to do otherwise. In major matters, like marriage, I put my foot down and stay firm, no matter whether it leads to fights. Work out a system for yourself. Pick your fights.


  29. I cannot comment on lying or not lying to parents. But I can tell you from long, painful experience that being the ‘good daughter’ doesn’t necesarily lead to a joyful life for you. I was always the ‘good daughter’ – did the right thing at the right time. But it was never enough – there was always something else that my parents wanted. And now, following a suicide attempt, wasting money on anti-depressants and psychiatric treatment, I realise how many regrets I carry with me. How many compromises I made to keep my parents happy and how much I died inside. So my advice to you, and to my own daughters: always weigh up your options and choose your consequences. Especially once you’re past the inexperience of teenage years. And if your heart and mind lead you in a certain direction, follow them. Parents who make you feel guilty for such simple pleasures as biking or travelling or choosing your college really are not even worth the effort of lying to. And learn from your experiences with your parents and do not inflict the same mental suffering on your (future) children. All the best to you.


  30. You know, the last sentence of the letter made me pause and re-read. As a parent I would be very distressed if my children were so scared of me that they needed to lie to me. And as a parent I would feel it was entirely my fault for setting them up with this impression.
    You have a great deal of guilt for not being who other people want you to be. Your parents may have done a lot for you, but they do not own you nor your feelings. You are the way you are, if they love you they will accept you eccentricities and all. If you are “afraid” of telling them about who you really are, it says a lot more about them than about you- so also if you spend time avoiding some conversations, because they might disapprove. You know, it is not your problem if they do not like you for who you are- i is theirs. And you do not need to tie yourself up in knots trying to please because regardless of what you do, you will not. They have to accept you for who you are, follies and problems.
    It can be hard not being “approved of” by people who have been and still are the center of your universe, but it happens. You can love your folks and they you, but you all may not essentially “like” each other, it is normal. Now, be careful what you reveal- if you are financially or otherwise dependent and your folks disapprove of things you do to the extent of trying to harm you physically or emotionally, bide your time. Reveal all, if indeed you need to, only when you are truly independent- it is not a bad thing to be duplicitous to preserve yourself.
    But don’t beat yourself up for this relationship. You are not the only one in it- your parents are as involved and as responsible for your lack of trust in them – and it is more their problem than yours.


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  32. I think that your parents may be slightly more accepting than you think. You mentioned your dad bought you the scooter while you were thinking of a bike. So he has some inclination that you are free-spirited. They love you anyway. They are just scared something will happen to you and like most Indian parents over react to any chance of danger. They only want the best for you. That being said some parents can’t handle the truth and that’s why you now have peace when you lie to them. Unfortunately this seems to be quite common in Indian culture (not that I’m an expert on the subject). They will be happier if you don’t keep giving them news that will upset them or cause them extra worry. You just have to figure out the balance. Stress causes illness so you do have to figure out just how much of your adventure they can truly withstand.


  33. Thanks all…
    When IHM assured me with “you’re not alone”, I wasn’t expecting this… With hers and DG’s advice, I have already started tackling this prob and am getting on fine with it… But When IHM asked me about publishing it, I thought it’d help others in d same situation as me with your suggestions.

    I’d like to clarify a few things.
    1. My parents have never physically harmed me.
    2. I’d say that my sisters & my parents r n d same mould bcs they are totally in lov wit their husbands and adore their kids. So i dont think they sacrificed or went outta way to make my happy. I mean, happiness is not something you can pretend, right?
    3. By lying I meant hiding things, half-truths, quarter truths, manipulations and outright lies when im desperate 😀
    4. My parents dont want me to study anymore before marriage bcz Im already overqualified with my diplomas, double MA and all… You know d rest :D. They already have trouble enough to find a post graduate guy for me (which I am not that displeased abt 🙂

    A few remarked on safety issues of traveling alone…

    I love traveling alone. So far, I haven’t hd any gory experiences, thank God. Sometimes when I fell short of cash I even stayed with locals (Mewar, Sanjopuram). Most of my friends are not into traveling and trekking and such. But sometimes they do come and its super fun 🙂

    About Responsibility and Maturity

    I don’t know if I am. I mean its all about persp, no? I cd never get what people mean when they tell you can do this if you are responsible. Again, the immature part 😛

    Okay that was long. But truly (inspite of being a certified liar), Thank you guys.

    … thanks a lot for this.


  34. Live the way it will make you happy. If it’s your parents’ happiness and approval is what will make you happy, then work towards that; if it’s owning a bike, then that’s the way to go. If you keep lying, then parents keep expecting the stuff from a daughter they don’t even know.


  35. Didn’t read through all of the comments here, but the letter deserves a reply.

    Dear Too Independent,

    First of all I salute you for laying the truth on the table. I am all of 29 and have been through (in fact still am) this monumental struggle for ages. I hail from Kerala and consider myself lucky to have parents who care. The fights are legendary and often in front of their friends which just add to the pressure of giving in. The questions have been the usual, ” why arent you ready for marriage ? ” ” why do you love Bangalore so much ?” ” When do you plan to get settled ?” ” Do you think you are ready for it? ” (the IT here being many different things that happen in normal conversation,) A few of my friends have told me they admire me for having lived my life the way i have.

    There has been a lot of grief on both sides and there is more to come. But now i realize something and am hoping it will help you in some way too. They are scared that the so called acts that we do will be etched in the society forever. As one after the other actions generate some response they get scared even more but dont realize that it doesnt matter coz the matter dies away. My parents have forgotten some of my biggest antics and so has the society or whatever it is people call gossip mongers. So here’s the gist, ” Do what you really really believe is good for you and then prove it to them that it is not all bad or unheard of.” (Often they do the proving themselves, looking for other similar examples to support/defend their child whenever/ wherever they can). The Key word above is BELIEVE.

    Its your life, live it and make them proud.


  36. I just hope that when these 20-30 year old become parents, they give the same independence to their children , that they are asking for today;

    That will be real progress. If they revert back to where their parents are nowdays, it will just be hypocrisy


  37. Pingback: “When the time comes to support them, they back out and and blame the children for misusing their trust and freedom.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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