Dear Seema Aunty,
This one is kind of silly but…I recently moved farther away from my parents than I ever had (I went to college out of state, but still in the same region of the country) and started a new career, made new friends. Basically a lot of things in my life are changing including dating Indian guys for the first time, which means I finally feel comfortable sharing my dating life with my mom and asking her advice (I’ve mostly been unsuccessful which means the questions are all PG!) My friends think it’s weird that I call my parents so often (almost every day) and share so much of my life with them. It’s not that they’re judging me or making me feel bad…but I do kind of wonder if I rely on my parents too much or should start to distance myself. Is this just a brown thing – or is cutting the cord part of growing up?
Yes, it’s a brown thing. Did you ever watch Sex and the City? Carrie Bradshaw never talked to her parents on the phone. Did she have parents? If she had parents, where did they live? Didn’t they care about her? What kind of parents are those? I know it’s been a few years, but the show left me with so many unanswered questions!
As far as your question goes, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I encourage you to talk as frequently to your parents as you want. If it helps you feel any better, I also talk to my parents several times a week. If your friends think it’s strange, well, that’s fine. You could ask them why they don’t talk to their parents more often. Your opinion is the one that counts
Remember one thing. We all need friends and family around us. Some people like to think of themselves as independent. Is anyone really totally independent? We live in a world full of social groups of different kinds. Human beings are interdependent whether or not we like to think about it.
Who could survive without love or normal human interaction? The Unabomber lived out in the woods and never talked to any one. He was independent. Most of us rely on others for advice, second opinions, company, friendship, and all kinds of other things. The fact that you rely on your parents makes you human.
If you feel stifled by your parents from time to time, it’s also perfectly fine to create some distance between you and them. It will take some time to figure out the right balance between interaction and having your own space. Test out where you want to have your boundaries with them. You can use trial and error. Be patient with yourself because it is a difficult process.
A philosophy graduate of an esteemed liberal arts college for women, Seema Aunty has dedicated her career thus far in promoting causes for young women and the South Asian community. With a strong knowledge base formed from her own experiences growing up in a South Asian household, Seema Aunty advises young women on a variety of topics, ranging from family, relationships, and culture.
In her own words: “I know it is hard to reconcile the idea of rugged individualism with conservative desi values. Growing up was difficult. It isn’t easy to find a place for oneself in this world when we hear mixed messages about who and how we are supposed to be. I hope that what I have learned from my own life might be of some interest to young women who are now coping with difficult issues.”
If you would like Seema Aunty to answer your burning questions, please feel free to write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be kept confidential.