Separated Family: Parents & Married Children!
In today’s time, relationships have become an act of selfish behavior; mostly members of a family are only looking at a give and take relationship, rather – more of what they can take from this relationship than actually give or being thankful for what they have received for all these years. There seems to be a lack of emotional bonding with a sense of responsibility. As children, their world is their parents and they can do anything to be with them and spend the whole day with them even if it meant just being at home, however now that once they grow up and are married, have a family of their own and their priorities take on toggling between their parents and their spouse & children. One would really wonder if life was easier and connected then or now when we have all the gadgets and amenities. To stay in touch, we are connected through the social media, however, the warmth of the relationship is missing.
Most of us have heard this one phrase at some point in every relationship that exists, “I need my space”,
wonder what does this “SPACE” mean?
- Do not ask me anything…
- I will do as I wish to!
- I am a grown up and don’t need to be supervised…
- I am not liable to answer all your question or even acknowledge what you are saying…
- Or simply, I don’t want you…
When looking for an answer to these statements, it is an unsaid-said thing, “I will do what I wish to, however, I still expect you to do what I ask you to?”, leading to a whole Tsunami of relationship, falling apart, stress, separation, blame game and emotional turmoil. As parents, one forgets that our children have grown up and that one needs to respect their reasoning and decisions, even if we know that they are about to take a wrong decision. All we should do is politely explain our views than to upright say “you are taking a wrong decision”. When this happens for the first few times, the children listen, next few times they still chose to do what they have decided and furthermore eventually the children stop seeking for any guidance or advice from their parents, rather on the pretext of “I don’t want you to stress”, they start taking their own decisions and do not involve their parents at all.
And as children, one fails to realize that our parents are at a vulnerable age, they need attention and support, may not be in terms of money however they surely need their children to be with them as every day is a new day blessed at that ripe age. They feel like making the most of the time they have, with their children and grandchildren, however sadly, when as young parents try to spend time to make a living to provide the best for their children and by the time they retire and need their children, their children have taken on their parents shoes doing the same for their family.
Some parents live independently, either by choice or just the circumstance. Some of the reasons that resonate for this separation are:
1. Education abroad / Hostel:
While most of the families today have both the parents making a living to provide the best for their children, they chose to educate their children in a hostel and when they grow up (during their teens) send them abroad for further studies. All these years the children have been connected with their parents yet not been living under the same roof, hence if they chose to come back after their education, they find it very difficult to work around what their home etiquettes are (which obviously vary from home to home) and find it annoying to live with their parents. Initially, parents put up with all what the children say however later, they as well start voicing which leads to differences and parent-child separation.
Nuclear family, that is now one of the biggest fads with this generation, they live a very independent lifestyle where the couple wants their uninterrupted space with their spouse, so that they can have their friends over, have a nice time as and when they wish to and most importantly, they are not obligated to pre-informing or kept a watch on by their parents/in-laws.
When a son gets married and brings home his wife, in most families it becomes a challenge for the Mother-in-Law and the Daughter-in-Law to get along, differences between them lead to stress on the son (husband) and that eventually leads to unrest in the house and separation between the parents and the wed-son. While this is one side of the coin, some parents prefer to live separately once their son is married, avoiding interference in his life with his wife and also to adjust their ways independently.
A father-son relation is one of the most difficult ones, even though it is a blood relation, father’s in their own way many a time uses negative words with their teenage or grown up or married sons. ‘A man is a man after all’, be it the father or the son and he does not like to be demeaned for any reason. Also to what I have noticed most of the times fathers compare themselves with their sons, e.g “At your age, I was already a CEO”, thinking they are inspiring their son, however, they fail to realize and look at their son’s achievements and efforts put in to be where he is. Appreciate him.
In the competitive world today, at times the kids have to move out of their paternal house, relocating to a new city or country for a better opportunity that has come their way. This by default teaches them to live independently however when life gives them an opportunity to find a job in the same city that their parents live in, at times the children choose to stay away by continuing working in the same city, away from parents or take up a new place but refrain from going back to the paternal house.
6. Parents of an only child (daughter):
Even in today’s modern society, parent/s of a single child (especially of a married daughter), are forced to live alone as the girl’s parent find it unacceptable to go and live with their daughter, at her in-law’s place or with their son-in-law. There are very few sons-in-law who actually show equal concern about their wife’s parents, which is again a thought to ponder and an upbringing to instill in our sons being a mother ourselves.
7. Generation gap:
As the years pass by and our children become adults, they have their ways to lead their lives which are different from what our old-school thought and ways were. For us traveling by a public transport and saving that Rs.3 meant a lot while today for them spending even half of their take-home salary on a branded phone seems like a necessity to be acquainted in their social circle. Times change and yet the gap between generations stays. Younger we are, lesser can we relate to what our parents said and the older we grow the lesser we can relate to what our children do.
This is mostly felt by the daughters-in-law, whose husbands have sisters & mother. There seems like a constant commentary happening (unintentionally) between the mother and daughter/s about what is the daughter-in-law doing or what she has missed, which demeans her existence and makes her feel unaccepted even after trying to do her best for her in-laws on a daily basis, for years. This is also one of the reasons why a girl prefers to live as a nuclear family with her husband than with her in-laws.
9. Sharing your parents stay:
Some of the families, share their parents stay, it is not what the parents have requested, it is an arrangement made between the siblings, sadly either to ensure but have their personal space (without their parents) and also the expense being one factor. This has its own bane and boon, boon being the parents get to spend time with each of their children’s family along with the grandchildren, however, the bane being that every few months they move out from one child place again need to adjust at a new house (other child’s place)
10. Ritual Differences:
Even in today’s modern era, there are families, especially parents who have been following certain orthodox rituals and traditions since years and so they want the same to be followed by their children, especially daughter-in-law. While, today’s generation, being very practical in nature, do have faith in God, but somehow doesn’t believe in practicing some traditions.The situation becomes even more complicated in the case of Inter-Caste Marriage or even Love Marriage. Such scenarios create a lot of differences between the families which further leads to family separation.
11. Impact of the western culture:
This arrangement of the parents and children living separately is an impact of the west, where one lets their kids have their wing and fly out at 16 years of age, avoid the connect except during festivals. As Indians we cannot do this however hard we may try, hence while the west try to ape most of the Indian culture and values, let us rightfully keep our values alive by nurturing, imbibing and ensuring we adhere to what we grew up with and what kind of people we would like to mould our children into.
With the changing times today, parents/in-laws should also understand that their daughter-in-law is as good as their son and should be given and trusted with equal rights, where she is allowed to go for after office parties, just like their son, she can wear anything. Sharing the household chores, if your son is working and so is your daughter-in-law and they can afford a helper, ensure you have one else what you expect from your daughter-in-law to do post coming home from work, expect the same from your son. If your son cannot step into the kitchen and cannot check the children’s homework post office hours, it is unfair to expect the same from your daughter-in-law just because she is a “bahu” (daughter-in-law).
At the same time, it is the duty of the children (Sons, Daughter-in-law, Daughters, and Son-in-law) to take care of, respect and spend valuable family time with their aging parents.
Treating all as equal in the true sense and ensuring that you actually care and are helping, will keep the family connected and concerned about each other through spirit and soul and not just superficially. Like they say, ‘It is very easy to break and difficult to take care, however, if it is broken difficult to mend, yet mend it before its late’ so take care of your parents today, make them understand, speak to them discuss your issues, love, and guidance is all that you will receive without any personal hidden motive for sure. Living apart is actually not a solution but a pricking pain at times, which most of us are not willing to accept or have accepted it saying this is the best solution.
A family is all about sharing and understanding one another if we understand and let go of the small things, happiness and togetherness are what we get.
Our Children are our lifeline like we are to our parents, one should take care of them like they want to be taken care of 🙂
Be Happy, Be Peppy! 🙂
Article Credits: Aarti Dalal | Mumbai | India