The world is a beautiful place. It offers a culmination of cultures, value systems, beliefs and ideologies of over 7 billion people. I think it’s amazing how wonderfully each of these cultures coexist and offer so much value to one another. Today’s internet age has made the process of learning across boundaries all the more easy and enriching. Being a mother from India, who’s never gotten a chance to travel abroad, there’s still a lot that I have learned about parents and their parenting styles across various continents. Over the course of my journey as a mother, I have realized that there are certain parenting nuances and approaches that are exclusive to different countries given their social, religious and economic factors. Sure enough, there are also certain aspects of parenting seen in many Indian families. Here are five unique things about parenting in India:
- The Importance Of Family Support – Though the concept of nuclear families has gained a lot of momentum over the past couple of years in India, the extended family still plays a significant part in the upbringing of Indian children. Indian families follow the tradition of celebrating every important occasion such as birthdays, festivals, and other events together, as grandly as possible. Indian kids are taught the importance of family reliance and respect for elders from a very early age. The elders in the family (grandparents), along with the parents play a huge role in the lives of Indian children, right from choosing their name to imparting life lessons to them. Mothers take most of the responsibility of raising their kids while the fathers in the family are the breadwinners. Indian children grow up to become extremely dependent on their families for their life decisions like higher studies, job choices, marriage, and even staying apart from the family.
- Focus On Academics – Most Indian parents are very particular about their children faring well, academically. They lay greater emphasis on academics and theoretical learning than they do on extra-curricular activities like sports, art, and other hobbies. This has a lot to do with the fact that India is a developing country with a huge population problem. There is a lot of competition, and the jobs aren’t as many to support the number of students who pass out of colleges. This is also why a lot of Indian parents encourage their children to study/work abroad if their finances allow them to. Indian parents still have a long way to go as far as bringing a balance between focusing on academia and encouraging alternate interests in their children goes. I try as far as possible to give my kids the best of both worlds to ensure their all-round development.
- Conservative Approach – If you’ve ever visited or read about India, you might be aware of the number of cultural taboos that exist within the country. Substance abuse like smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption is considered against Indian culture and many Indian parents ensure that their kids abstain from these habits all their life. Sex is another topic not openly discussed in Indian households, especially with kids. Over the past couple of years, however, many Indian schools have started to impart sex education to high school students in the light of the ever-growing population and children’s lack of knowledge.
- Discipline – Indian parents have no qualms about being strict with their kids if the situation demands. Discipline is one of the greatest factors responsible for the hardworking nature of Indian kids. Very rarely do Indian parents tend to get over-indulgent with their kids. The kids are often taught to earn and deserve what they get. For example – if a child performs well in school, he is rewarded. Similarly, if he performs badly, he is punished.
- Life Values – In India, children are taught to give immense importance and respect to elders along with the importance of religion and worship. India boasts of a diverse and rich cultural heritage, with the presence of numerous religions, mainly Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism. Many families follow the practice of conducting daily prayer rituals at home as a tribute to their religious Gods and Goddesses. Some Indian parents also read out stories from their holy books to impart essential life morals of gratitude, generosity, nobleness and helpfulness in their kids.
India provides a very morally and culturally enriching atmosphere for kids to grow. The kids living in the rural parts of the country, however, aren’t as fortunate to enjoy the same level of exposure and development, but they are still very rigorously sound.
What I have noticed from my research of families across the world is that it doesn’t matter which culture, background or religion they follow. One thing that doesn’t change among parents across borders is their love for their kids and their dream to see them succeed in whatever they do!
Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.