Teenage Indian Kids: Ways To Deal With Culture Clash
One of the most important concerns for NRI parents is the clash between the culture they grew up in and the culture their kids are growing up. While there is always some extent of generation-gap between parents and kids, the conditions in which we grew up and the conditions in which our kids are going to grow up are literally worlds apart for some of us. Luckily with changing times in India, many of us are okay with things like dating etc. when it come to our children. However, even the most liberal of us may not be comfortable with things like super short-term relationships, goth tattoos, and body piercing etc.
They key steps in maintaining a parent-child relationship comfortable for you, and safe for your teenage kids are: understanding your kids (their changing interests, associated risks etc.), giving them enough freedom so that they can trust you when you say something is not good for them, not over-protecting or over-criticizing them, and finally stop fantacizing that things were perfect in the Indian culture that you grew up with. To elaborate a little more below:
- When you are raising your children in US, expect them to grow up with a predominantly american mindset. The only additional goals you can probably have are trying make them aware of Indian culture and some of the good things in it so that they can relate to rest of your family, and trying to keep them away from some of the bad things in western culture like drugs etc.
- Make your kids understand that freedom comes with responsibility. For example, you may give them permission to hangout with their friends at the mall, but it's their responsibility to be careful when they are out side and come back home in time.
- Try to get you children interested in Indian culture and traditions from the early childhood itself so that they can identify themselves with it. Never try to force them into something they are not interested in or something they think is not at all relevant to their circumstances.
- One of values in Indian culture has been embracing the diversity. Keep that in mind, and try to raise your children as responsible individuals who appreciate Indian culture, rather than as kids forced to do all things Indian in their childhood, and are looking to rebel once they become old enough.
These are all my opinions. Please let us know what others think regarding this issue, via comments below.