If You Love Your Daughters, Prioritise Their Dreams And Careers, Not Marriage!

I was a very bright student with dreams in my eyes. I was getting all the top colleges but unfortunately, my parents trusted society more than me, and refused to send me out for studies.

I was a very loved and pampered child in my parents’ home, with the freedom to express myself; voice my opinion. Although my parents don’t agree with me most of the time, I can speak. I never felt that I am less than anyone just because I am a girl. And I am thankful for that.

But there is something that is killing me. My parents gave more priority to my marriage than my career.

I was a very bright student with dreams in my eyes. I was the topper. When I took admission to BTech I was the only girl who won the scholarship. I was getting all the top colleges but unfortunately, my parents trusted society more than me, and refused to send me out for studies.

But I thought it was okay and I will work hard. And I did work hard. Honestly, I did nothing apart from studies. (Though I regret it. With studies, Enjoy your life as well)

I am very disheartened by the situation of girls in society. I don’t know why parents don’t understand the simple fact that marriage is not the only goal. I see women suffering around me every day every time. Most women see themselves as inferior to men because of their age-old conditioning. It’s 2022, and high time to change our mentality.

Sharing some advice I want to give Indian parents with daughters

Stop saying “you are ‘paraya dhan’”

Marriage does not mean breaking ties with her parents. I swear it makes us feel so bad when our parents say this to us. If you are making her feel like a stranger, then how do you expect others to accept her completely?

Focus on her career before getting her married

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Don’t send your daughter to a stranger’s home to serve them for life and get hurt and disappointed in the return. Make her financially independent so that she can take care of herself.

She should experience the world

Don’t keep her enclosed in the four walls. Allow her to see the world and experience life. This will make her strong and confident.

Don’t body shame her

Don’t make fun of her color, nature, or anything else she cannot help. Don’t say to her that “you won’t find any groom because of your color” or because of “being fat” or “you will suffer in your in-law’s place because of this.” Make her feel complete in herself, and make her feel confident.

Tell her it is completely okay to end a relationship!

I’ve seen so many Indian mothers asking their daughters to compromise and adjust in a toxic relationship even if their daughters are beaten. How come you claim to love her if can digest this fact? How?

Self defence

Teach her self-defence. Judo, karate, boxing, etc. Very useful in today’s world.

Her voice is important

Allow her to voice her opinions and express herself. Let her speak. It makes us feel empowered.

Gender doesn’t matter

Make rules the same for girls and boys. Don’t differentiate.

Believe in her when she complains about something

Believe in her when she says something about her husband, inlaws, or anything in general. Don’t ask her to change or ‘adjust’. Please believe in your daughter, you are their only support!

Her education is crucial

Educate her, not just to fetch a degree, but educate her so that the real motive of education is served. What I mean to say is education is not just about passing an exam with flying colors, but it is the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Teach her to get over dark judgments and fight the stereotypes.

No more sacrifice

Don’t make her a self-sacrificing woman. Make her understand the benefit of a proper diet at the proper time and exercise in such a way that it becomes her habit. Teach her self-care. She will thank you later for this.

Marriage isn’t her only goal

Your goal in life is not to marry her off to someone. Instead become someone she can come to, even when the world seems to be against her.

Stop asking her to ‘behave like a girl’

She can be a tomboy. She might not be interested in long hair or doesn’t like wearing a saree. Might not be religious or traditional. Understand that she may love black and blue more than pink and purple. Don’t ask to fit herself into society’s standards of a girl. Respect her individuality. If you force her to change it will kill her from inside. Let her live.

Sex education

Teach about menstruation, sex, and pleasure. This is very important for her health, and for her to really become herself.

Women aren’t women’s worst enemies

Teach her not to be mean with other girls. Teach her the sisterhood of girls.

Don’t expect her to be a typical sanskari girl

Sanskar doesn’t mean wearing traditional clothes and performing religious practices. Sanskar means manners, the way someone treats others, the way they behave, their thought process, their values. If she is bold enough to answer back then she is not a bad girl. She just has self-respect and she doesn’t want anyone to harm her. Don’t put a lot of burden of values on her. I mean, the unnecessary ones.

Wake up, parents!

For the mother, don’t be weak. Be a strong lady. For fathers, don’t be abusive. Be kind. Your relationship influences her future relationships. Never, ever let the advice of the relatives or extended family affect her. Stop expecting her to be perfect. focus more on her good traits and less on shortcomings.

Your daughter’s is not just for marriage or having babies, or doing ‘sewa’ of in laws. She has her dreams. Let them bloom. Love your daughter more than you love your society.

According to WHO, a huge number of women suffer from depression. I feel the above points play a significant role in the life of a girl to make her strong, and not fall into the monster of depression.

This post is inspired by a Quora thread. First published here.

Image source: a still from the film Gunjan Saxena

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Chetna Shukla

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