Growing up desi comes with its unique challenges of doing what’s best for the family while trying to figure out your own individuality. Here’s everything I wish I could tell my desi parents now that I am older and have two kids of my own.
1. Words matter
What you say will shape how your children see themselves in the world. Telling kids that they are “crazy” or “not good enough” will have long-term effects on their mental health and self-esteem.
2. Depression is no joke
While depression is rampant, one of the hardest things about facing depression is doing it alone. I wish I could tell desi parents that depression doesn’t make their children any less. It is a sign that your children need you more and you can be a shoulder they can lean on. As a parent, pay attention and listen. Maybe your child needs a friend, doctor or a counselor. Don’t be afraid of doing what’s best for your child. Don’t belittle them for feeling hurt inside.
[Read Related: The Parenting Challenges We Face Being First-Generation Canadians]
3. Listen to your child
Growing up desi means that many times the children’s words don’t matter or hold weight in family decisions. Whether it is deciding a family vacation or choosing a groom, it’s important for parents to listen to what their child wants.
4. Stop comparing
Every child in a family is different with their own personality and unique talents. Utilize these to bring the best out of your child. Why is it that the oldest child is the one responsible for every other sibling? Or the youngest gets away with everything? When it comes to responsibilities, parents should instill the same values and divide responsibilities equally.
[Read Related: Being a First Generation Canadian: Why Sleepovers Were an Absolute No in My House!]
5. Girls and boys are equal
Unfortunately, even today, boys and their needs are put above the needs of girls, in many desi families. Girls are raised to cater to the men in their family. This needs to stop. Parents need to instill equality from a young age, especially starting in the home. Whether a sister wants to dot on her brother is up to her. Brothers should not be given preference nor given an upper hand, and the power to boss their sisters around.
Home is where children develop their sense of the world. Desi families need to do a better job of being there for the children, listening to their needs, giving them a voice, allowing them to speak up when something is wrong and also taking a stand for what they believe in. Home is the first place they should feel beautiful, smart, loved and cared for.
Growing up desi what are some things you wish you could tell your desi parents?