By: Child of Indian Parents, SFU Student
Dear Indian parents,
You need to re-prioritize whose opinions truly matter.
When you teach your children that the opinions of others are more important than your kid’s happiness, it sets up a toxic example for them to follow. For Indian parents who immigrated from India, it seems counterproductive and contradictory to reroute your entire lives to provide your children with the lives you could not have yourselves, only to prevent them from having that life.
Holding onto these outdated structures of what children should and should not do will only make their lives unnecessarily difficult.
If your kid wants to share their life with a person outside of their caste or ethnicity, or if they want to live with that person before deciding to spend the rest of their life with them, let them. There are too many examples in Indian households of unhappy marriages held together by the societal shame of divorce in the culture. Do not make your kid fall into that same cycle; let them go into marriage with a better idea of their partner and the relationship they share.
For careers, let your kid study and work in the arts. Do not force them into fields such as medicine if it is not their passion. There is more to life than having a high-paying job. If they are going to be spending most — if not all — of their life in their field, they might as well enjoy it.
But relationships and careers are just two examples of aspects in my culture that still have antiquated structures — there are plenty more, but it would take an essay to fit them all in.
What your children think of you should matter more than the opinions of others.