Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Question

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

I have a new question, hopefully one that will generate more debate.

There is obviously a difference in style in the way that Punjabi parents raise their kids vs. mainstream culture. In an interview that I heard on Punjabi Omni news (I can't remember the woman's name; the interview got erased on my PVR), one woman mentioned the difference in the way that we introduce the world to children. She noticed that mainstream parents have a tendency to introduce the world in a restricted way; ie. they restrict the freedom of their children, whether it be by only allowing them to play in a playpen, by baby-locking all of the cupboards, or only allowing kids to eat certain vegetables in their early years. As they grow older, the amount of freedom given to kids, though, increases exponentially. By the time they are 13, kids are given the freedom to be with their friends until late hours of the day, with the parents often not knowing where they are or what they are doing.

Punjabi parents on the other hand, place less restriction on a child when they start walking and exploring the world. They usually don't baby-proof cupboards, or restrict them to certain toys. If the child wants to play with pots, or flour, or the broom, they usually let them and also let them play wherever they want (as long as it is safe). As the children get older though and enter their late teens, usually, parents want more control over their life; ie they want to know where they are going, what they are doing, who they are going with. And of course, ultimately, parents want to decide or have a say on who the child marries. But, by then, reasoning with the children, or "controlling" them can't be done.

The effects of the first method on late teenagers, to me, will probably make the child feel that their parents don't have an interest in their life anymore, or that they can get away with anything (If parents only knew what their children were doing with firecrackers on Halloween night!)

The second method would probably confuse the child. Here they were with so much freedom when they were young, and now all of a sudden parents want to place restrictions on them. It will seem unfair to the children as they get older.

So, obviously, there is an inverted way that each culture deals with enforcing restrictions or giving responsibility to their children. I know that this doesn't apply to everyone, and that each culture is continuously changing, but I have seen these trends in parents today.

So what are your comments? Do you agree with these observations?

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