Getting your ‘child’ married. Your 18+ child.
Let me explain to the non-Indian readers of my blog. In India, once a child is of marriageable age, apparently it becomes the one thing all parents yearn for — to get the said child married. And if they don’t, they are apparently shirking in their duties as a parent.
When I visited my family in India last month, my nice grandmother (maternal) asked me about marriage saying that I should consider it so that mum would be happy. Me, the ever-stubborn and ever-questioning woman I am, asked politely why it would make mum happy to which I get the response that she would have done her duty! Of course, I had a polite rant to my grandma about why mum’s happiness is apparently dependent on my being married or unmarried (which by the way, isn’t for my mum!) when I have done so much else in life for her to be happy about (which she is!). And I ended with — shouldn’t mum and dad just be happy that I am happy and content with life?
I ask it again — why should a parent’s happiness depend on whether or not their son or daughter is married? Even if we were to equate a parent’s happiness being dependant on their child’s happiness, who is to say being married is equivalent to being happy? I firmly believe that we are in charge of how we feel so even saying that a parent is happy because their kids are happy is a stretch. But if I let go of that view for the sake of this post, why can’t parents be happy if their kids are happy with their life in general. It doesn’t have to be that the child is married or even employed or even owns a house. Maybe the person is perfectly content drifting through life. Why then, is it hard for parents to be happy for that child?
Somewhere along the line, society in India has made it such that a parent is not completing their responsibility if their child is not married by a certain age. The parent is a ‘bad’ parent. I found out that my dad got asked the question about me getting married by his friends. Who the hell are they? My parents are not pressuring me in any way but are being pressured by others to ‘make them see light’ and ‘get me married off’. My parents are being guilted into thinking they are not ‘doing their duty’. Once a person turns 18, they are considered to be responsible adults. Why then, is it still considered a parent’s duty to see to it the 18+ year old gets married?
It’s about time people realise that parental duties involve mainly caring for their child until 18 and providing them with love and basic necessities. After that, it is not mandatory. Furthermore, getting an adult child married is not a parental duty by any means. If only society were to realise that, it would spare a lot of parents from needless guilt and spare a lot of children from getting into marriage to ‘make parents happy’ or to get society to back off.
I am fortunate to have sensible parents (well, at least a mum; dad hasn’t really spoken to me on the issue). Parents who are happy that I am content with my life. And thereby currently are not getting sucked into this void of guilt that society is placing them in. Unfortunately, most of my friends back in India and their parents are not free of this and are currently under pressure to allow their parents to fulfil their parental duty.
Where does this madness end?
Until next time,