“I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands.”

Sharing an email.

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

I was a girl who had to fight tooth and nail for my choice. The way I dress, the way I remain non-religious in a conservative ****** family, the way I chose my stream, the way I chose how to have fun…

It was because I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands. May be that is why I had to start asking my mum atleast a week ago even if it’s permission to watch a movie with friends.

Things changed after going to Chennai and then to Delhi for highers. I started doing things without asking until an incident taught me that I’d better inform even if I didnt get permission. And surprise surprise. Permissions, Oks and YES cam easily from my parents.

Movies, road trips, dine outs, parties… Ok mole (Beta). The hours I spent trying to put together point for arguing with my mumm wasn’t needed at all.

It was disconcerting rather than liberating. Suspicious even. My parents accepting that their daughter is actually grown up? Last week we made a sudden plan to go to Goa. “Mumm, I am going to Goa.” “Ok Mole… Enjoy”. Huh!!???

Am I so tuned to her disapproval, fights with parents but uncomfortable with this liberation? Or do I need time to get used to it. Is this what you are calling ‘seeking validation’?

Of course when I come home, she makes comments on how I dress, about behaving like a good Indian ****** girl etc etc. It’s back to the same ‘trying to control’ when I come home on occasional weekends.

Do Indian girls find it hard to accept liberation even when they have it? Arghh I need a reality check!!!

– Nidaa

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15 thoughts on ““I think my mum believed that you shouldn’t agree to everything your child says for she will go out of hands.”

  1. You are not finding it hard to accept liberation or freedom. Your parents have first raised you to be obedient and fight for everything but they also realise that they can’t do much to control you when you are not physically in front of them. At the same time, they try and control you when you go and visit them because then they feel they can. It’s what my mother does and I have been living on my own for more than a decade now. It is very natural to mistrust because their ultimate aim is control and you know it.

    I suggest you inform someone else you trust about where you are going (for the safety reason) and stop taking permission from your parents. I take it that since you are studying away from home, you are above 18? Just ignore the advice about how to behave when you visit them and turn the conversation to other more cheerful channels. When you call to inform them, do not do it as if you are seeking permission. Tell them casually while you are chatting about other things. Make it seem as if it is not a big deal to you. If they object, tell them you are going anyway and simply stop talking about the issue. Stop defending yourself to them.

    Yes, this is seeking validation.

    No, Indian girls cannot be stereotyped as finding it hard to accept liberation.


  2. A trip to GOA was oked? HOW? Few years ago a few of my gfs and I made a plan to visit GOA too 😦 here is what we found out;
    – 3 Girls going to Goa ALONE is CRAZY
    – Going on a trip to Goa, or anywhere else for that matter, with guys is even CRAZIER
    – Girls should go to GOA only with family or husband (Because a husband would be a super human who would protect me from all the dangers of the world. That’s right people, my would-be husband is superman-batman-spiderman-ironman-hulk all rolled into one! ;))

    This was years ago, but even now while I and friends (all girls) where going on a short weekend out to Mt. Abu, when we went to book tickets for bus, we were ‘told’ that we should not undertake such ‘risks’. I MEAN COMMON YOU GET THE MONEY, YOU BOOK THE TICKETS, why moral lectures?


  3. I think you are confused by the inconsistency in their behaviour. I would not interpret it as “Indian girls cannot accept liberation.” I would be suspicious if somebody was inconsistent in any aspect too.

    And for a matter of fact they are trying to control you by putting pressure indiectly on you & making you feel that they are giving you freedom. BTW, why should they be giving you freedom when you are an adult?


  4. OMG I can relate to having to ask a week in advance for outings. haha. and having to explain who you’re going with and all. Although it’s become a lot better in the past few months.
    But I usually get my way in the end…


  5. My mother’s ‘good girls do/ don’t d this’ worked very well on me for so many years. It took an abusive arranged marriage and subsequent divorce for me to come to my sense. Till date my mother asks my daughter ” tumhari mamma kiske sath soti hai?” On questioning her I get the answer “we are worried for you and one must only sleep with one’s husband”. I know for sure that my immediate family’s behavior hurts much more than what my ex-husband and his family did to me for 6 years.

    I feel very little is discussed about our rotten parenting system the damages last for a life time. Like you I too am still in the process of feeling truly liberated. Maintaining a healthy level of self esteem and confidence is an uphill task I struggle with almost everyday…all thanks to the parenting I received.


  6. People evolve, our parents including that is how social change comes in bits and pieces, here and there but our life long conditioning of moral and proper along with filial piety makes it hard for us to accept the change. You are not alone in feeling what you are feeling.
    All her teens her father made a scene every time DG wore a skirt or pants and when she was ready to leave for hostel he said, “Don’t ever travel in Salwar Kameez, always wear pants.”

    DG Lived a full life never did anything that she would not do if she were at home. An invisible fence erected on her own volition guided her steps. Her parents and friends joke there was a time when DG would announce she is going to X town on X date, and they would ask you are seeking permission or informing us. Her nonchalant reply was, “consider what you may.”

    Doing the right thing and staying safe is quite a responsibility. Stay safe, go break the hell life is too short too analyses sitting in guilt. Just understand how emotional blackmail operates and you’ll be all set for good times.

    All the best,
    Desi Girl


  7. Parenting rule 1 – You kids can do most of what they please when “society” is not watching. I assume since you are away from home, you don’t have relatives, friends of parents, neighbor aunty’s cousin, dad’s boss or the likes around you. As Uncle Ben from the spider man movie says – ” With great power comes great responsibility” ;). Stay safe and have fun!


  8. My parents too sent me a lot of mixed messages, especially my dad. Until we were about 16, my sis and I grew up no differently than our brother. We drove our 2-wheelers, played sports, went on hikes with our dad, hung out with friends, dressed as we pleased, and were pushed hard to study well and have goals. In our later teens, I started noticing changes. My dad started expecting us to “adjust” and “be nice”, and “dress modestly”, and “be home early”, while none of these rules applied to my brother.

    Some of their concerns are valid – India is not a safe place for women – but their approach is so illogical – it goes back to our mentality of locking up victims and letting the perpetrators run wild, rather than doing the opposite – get the perpetrators to behave and give freedom to the victims. Even this thinking applies only to the real dangers of our society – harassment, rape, etc. which can go unpunished.

    Then there are the imagined dangers for parents – a woman’s consent doesn’t enter the picture for them – a grown daughter must either be in their control or her husband’s control. She cannot be an adult and decide on her own relationships. I think this is their bigger fear, this loss of ‘honor’ (even the thought of being seen in public with a male friend = loss of honor, so we can imagine where dating falls on their list) that makes them want to control their daughters. Because daughters will always be ‘children/objects’ who will be transferred from Family A to Family B, and Family A had better keep the object “intact” to hand over to Family B.

    I do see a lot of women in our country, for the very first time, exploring the concept of adulthood. After they graduate they are working, living on their own for a few years and not jumping into marriage. So, change is happening. And parents too are slowly accepting this. The more of us educated women do this, the more it becomes a norm, and the more parents we will see accepting their daughters as adults.


  9. Great to see that we all are becoming aware. We do not see ourselves from the eyes of society. It is sad that some or maybe most parents are still stuck with ideas and beliefs which no longer serve their and our higher. They are not ready to let go because they still seek approval from society. While their children have grown and become their own person who are more confident and comfortable with who they are or still struggling to be because of parenting practices which value control over freedom. It is sad that when its your immediate family who loves us and whom we love does not understand our choices and refuses to accept us as adults. However sometimes we must stand detached and observe. While we love them we also set healthy boundaries. We must accept ourselves as adults with our own views and ideas and not extension of our parents. We must accept and love ourselves for that.give your parents a warn hug, love them,care for them but don’t bow before them.


  10. Maybe your parents, especially your mum, trust you as an adult, but can’t help fussing about you when you come home. As a parent, we must adapt our methods to the age of our children. In a way, I think it is good that your parents taught you to fight for what you want, it is a great skill to have in life. I wish I had taught this to my kids.


  11. Pingback: “You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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