#InternationalGirlChildDay – Love your Girls! But …

posted by Anupriya 14 Comments

A couple of days back I happened to meet an acquaintance of my mother’s who did not look in the best of her spirits. When I cautiously prodded her on why she looked so somber as if on cue she broke down. Her MBA daughter had married the guy of her choice and moved to HongKong with him. And now after 2 years of a seemingly happy marriage, she had got herself transferred to India and was living alone in another metro. From the sound of what my aunt was saying, it looked like her daughter was unwilling to go back. I told her to be more compassionate of her daughter and figure out if there were instances of physical or mental abuse.

This aunt of mine began to sob inconsolably by now, “No beta! All of it is our fault. Apeksha is our only daughter and we brought her up like she was our son. I can see my daughter’s fallacies now. She is incapable of any kind of compromise. She did not learn how to cook. In India, she could have managed with a maid. But in a foreign land… Also, she has not been able to come to terms with the idea of a marriage where two people have to collaborate and sometimes compromise. I wonder if we went too far in making her independent and forgot to instill some basic virtues for a happy life.”

This conversation stayed with me for a couple days. I went back in time and remembered how my father always glorified the fact that he was bringing up his girls (we are two sisters with no brother) like sons. Even today he is a proud father who believes that no son could have done him more proud. And then it struck me. IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH RAISING GIRLS TO BE TOO INDEPENDENT?

The middle class saw a dawn of opportunities for their children during the 90s when the Indian economy was liberated. Parents became progressive and ambitious not only for their sons but also for their daughters. Especially the mothers saw it as a way to their own salvation. Their lives would acquire meaning if their daughter could be financially independent and not be at the mercy of her husband or in-laws.

This has resulted in a generation of young women who are highly educated and professionally ambitious yet many of them are unhappy and complaining about their lives. I read and hear of many instances of divorces due to incompatibility. Apart from genuine reasons like abuse, neglect, and infidelity, most marriages end in divorce due to a lack of commitment and the ability to keep channels of communication open at all times.

An imminent child psychologist made a valid point when she said that in the wake of being supportive of our girls we are raising individuals who do not have their heads on their shoulders. Before you judge me for what I say, hear me out.

We are raising our girls to be equal to boys and teaching our boys to respect girls and learn all kinds of home chores. Fast forward 20 years, are we expecting the boy to be the lady of the house or do we expect our girl to be the man of the house.  We want neither of those things because we’re trying to rise up and away from those stereotypes.

We want happy individuals leading a balanced and accomplished life. Both girls and boys need to equally respect each other and appreciate each other’s challenges.

At the risk of facing wrath from the feminist lobby, I wish to express my concern at the trend where while raising independent girls we might be (please note I say ‘MIGHT BE’) misleading them to believe in a world that does not exist and pushing them without preparing them into difficulties of the real world and unavoidable nature. So my advise of parents of Little Girls is –

Love them, yet keep them grounded
Give them wings, but teach them how to land
Let them fly high, yet teach them to come back to their nest appropriately
There’s no harm in being a Feminist but raise them to be considerate of an alternate point of view

Having said this, I wish for a happy and successful life for every Girl in this world! #InternationalGirlChildDay

I am linking this post to #MondayMommyMoments by Amrita and Deepa


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Jessica October 12, 2017 at 4:16 pm

On this International Day of the Girl Child (October 11), let us look up some hard truths regarding the girl child in India. Also, let us reflect on the positives of the girl child in the family.

Melani Rayen October 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

A well articulated post…Still it is a sad state of affair that people prefer boys than girls in our country and we do have female foeticide. Hope we change !

Anchal October 12, 2017 at 10:38 pm

This really is so sad. I totally agree with the quote that you have added in the end. Give them wings to fly but teach them how to land.

Rhea October 13, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Wonderful post but feel too bad to see such unfair state of life still prevelant in some parts…

renu vashishta October 14, 2017 at 8:15 pm

I have two serious issues to mention ; 1.Why should we raise our girls like boys or for that matter like anyone else?
2.Why should we not raise our boys to be independent in self care rather than just in go where
they want at will?
In the light of the above I feel the need of the hour as you also say is to raise individuals(rather than boys or girls) emotionally sound,independent in spirit ,humane in values and adept in life skills-be they pertaining to bare essentials like cooking ,washing utensils,clothes or further.
However since our society is still not as progressive as we might like to believe, raising boys with a lot of attitude training as in-respect for girls/women as individuals,equality (gender) but as you said not mindless,doing house work ,looking after kids is a must just as coaching girls about not to feel demeaned if they are the ones cooking is.

Neha @growingwithnemit October 14, 2017 at 11:34 pm

You have very well placed your points in this post, some are valid too, but I have a question here, if the girl in question is happily living alone separated from her husband, is that a matter of concern? Marriages are not just about collaborating and compromising, there is so much more at individual levels. What I have learned from my life and my experiences is no one can teach you to fly neither can anyone tell you how to land safely, there is no manual that is available. Instead, we as parents can make our kids headstrong, who can learn from their own experiences and take responsibility for their own actions.

Aritra October 15, 2017 at 10:28 am

Being a mom of a son and a daughter, I totally know and realise that there are some differences in parenting a son and a daughter. We need to understand what and how do we want our children to grow and what to caution them against etc. First as parents we need to be aware and informed and then decide the road map for our little ones. While yours concerns are right in some case, but all may not agree. But do stick to your principles when Raising your girl child. That’s what matters 🙂

Deepa October 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

Beautiful post Anupriya. I completely’s all about a balance. We should raise them to be independent but also teach them family values and traditions too. Thanks for linking up with #MMM

zainab October 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Loved the post Anupriya:)..give them wings but teach them how to land!

Nisha October 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm

I think instead of focusing on so much on what to teach girls re their abilities we should focus efforts on teaching boys and families of boys how to take care of themselves and not to think of females as inferior. Society doesn’t have such harsh expectations on boys like when to stop studying/when to get married/ when to have a baby, so why our girls

Nikita @beingmammabear October 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm

In this era of always having to be politically correct, it is so refreshing to read something that’s not written to please anyone. I have similar thoughts and it’s really sad that there are so many marriages that end in divorce for the simple reason that one or both cannot put their egos aside and work together. To some extent, yes, independence has gotten into our heads and the attitude of “if I am working just as much as him/her or making as much money, maybe even more, I should be able to make all decisions” is coming into play.

I completely agree with teaching kids of both genders to fly and to teach them how to land. We also need to teach our boys and girls to be compassionate and that once you’re in a relationship/marriage you think for the couple/family, not just for yourself. The second we all start being considerate of others, we would all be much, much happier.

I hope your aunt and her daughter are doing better.

Nayantara October 16, 2017 at 2:05 am

Really interesting thought. Our society is definitely not ready for people with no stereotypes. It will take years but till then raising both genders as individuals rather than a category will help and only leas to that utopia.

Shipra Trivedi October 16, 2017 at 9:56 am

Felt emotional after reading this post. My father also has two daughters (no son) and I am seen how people made fun of us. Despite this, Papa always felt proud about his girls’ achievements. He is surely an inspiration for my family members. Girls can be independent and responsible both.

Khushboo October 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

I get where you are coming from. I think what’s important is to raise our children as self reliant, independant humans and instill in them good values and beliefs. It’s important to teach them life skills – be a boy or a girl.


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