Why Indian parents struggle to encourage kids to be independent?


My daughter had an opportunity to attend school in Canada briefly. Despite the fact that I myself had had the opportunity of living many glorious (in hindsight) years there, it was a different experience being a parent of a child who was going to school there.

We are so obsessed with handwriting, math, getting high marks and getting ahead of the other kids. We aspire our kids to do what we were not able to with complete disregard to whether they want to do it or not. That never seems to be a priority.

My daughter’s educator in her elementary school in Vancouver was a Ms. Hothi. She was warm, friendly and a patient teacher. When my daughter started school, she got confused with handwriting as they mostly write in “print” vs the running handwriting we are accustomed to here. I asked her teacher if it was ok if she wrote in running handwriting and Ms. Hothi said that the writing style was of not much concern to her as long as it was legible. I was unduly stressed about it and kept pushing my child to write in running. When I expressed my concern to Ms. Hothi, she did not say anything to me, instead she called my daughter and asked her “which writing style are you comfortable with?” Her tone was firm, authoritative and directed towards letting me know that MY CHILD should decide what writing style she would love to adopt.

This was one of the many incidences that took place in the short span of time she was in school there that made me realize even more, how blatantly selfish us parents can be. I shall be honest and say that I used to consider myself being way more evolved and had a thought process about letting kids grow and spread their wings and fly etc., but what if in their formative years I keep clipping their wings? By the time they grow old enough to make their choices, they may or may not have decision making skills as we have never encouraged it in the first place.

When I watched kids being asked by their parents “would you like to do this” or what would you prefer” it made me realize that most of us never ask our kids.

Some kids grow up to be unsatisfied and unhappy adults since their career was not out of their choice. They were either forced to go to Engineering College or Med School and in some cases they gave up what they loved altogether.

Independence, is vital to nurture solid personalities. From deciding what to wear to what to eat, its starts with simple things. Giving them the option to decide or ask does not mean you lose control as a parent.

it’s not unusual to find kids who are 7 years and older still sleeping with their parents. It does not mean that the kids who sleep independently are not loved by their parents.

Asking your child not only instils confidence but also gives you an insight on their thought process.

It encourages independent thinking

It inculcates a liberated thought process

Teaches them decision making skills at a young age

Educating is not by following a curriculum and attending school. Being educated is having a rounded personality that has kindness, empathy and life skills that no books can ever teach. Setting guidelines, rules are essential don’t get me wrong but kids should be empowered to take mini decisions.

We want HAPPY kids who love what they do. Who would have thought 20 years ago that people would be able to earn by writing travel blogs? Sure education is indispensable, going to college, getting professional degrees but we should be there to help them decide or get them counselling when required, not enforce our views on them.





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