Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raising a child in India

Raising a child with a partner that is from a different culture and living in their culture is definitely not easy. It takes so much communication and the things he thinks are really important, are minor to me and vice versa.
I think Junayd and I are doing a relatively good job at meeting int he middle, but it's some of the small things that make it really difficult to parent. Admittedly, I am doing the parenting about 70% of the time, mostly because he works and he is gone for 10 hours a day.

Junayd and I spoke about this the other day.  He feels,I raise Yasmine with day to day goals, like saying please and thank yous, eating her food, behaving, etc... but he has these long term ideas, which of course are super important but I feel are not worth dealing with right away. He is very very adamant about our children never living with a partner before they are married, and also he feels that our children marrying young is way more beneficial than waiting until they are older.  In his mind they are less likely to be promiscuous if they get married early. It's quite an Indian attitude, that's for sure. Whereas, I'm very detached about stuff like that, I think it's mostly my western attitude, because, once they turn 18, I feel that a lot of stuff will be beyond my control. You can teach your children well, but these kinds of things are really hard to enforce when your child is 25 and telling you they will live with their boyfriend/girlfriend.  Believe me I have been there done that. My parents didn't like my choice, but they certainly didn't disown me. I would never force my children to marry young and I would never disown them for living with their partner before marriage.

But some of the smaller things are what really frustrate me. This business of letting kids do what they want, when they want, is just ridiculous to me. Yasmine is almost 2 years old, and just because she wants chocolate doesn't mean she gets it. I am having the hardest time fighting with my own husband about stuff like this.
Kids stay up until all hours of the night here, and people expect me to do the same with Yasmine. I make compromises, but I don't feel like a 2 year old should be up until 10pm. I was at my in-laws the other day and it was 830, already late, and I told my mil that Yasmine had to get to bed. And she said "so early?"  I was like, she is normally sleeping by now!!

Also this business of feeding her crap is getting to me as well.  Last night, as an example, I was at my in-laws and we were cooking chicken and a few other things.  I told Junayd to make sure Yasmine didn't eat anything before dinner because she wouldn't eat.  I turned around 5 minutes later and she had this cake in her hand. I was like who gave her this?? My fil was like I did, she asked for it, so I gave it to her.  I was so livid. I turned to Junayd and I said, this is why our daughter is NOT eating her meals. He just shrugged and was like, grandparents are supposed to spoil the grand kids.  So of course I took away the cake and she cried bloody murder, and I am once again the bad guy. And this has happened so many times I can't even count. This is where I need the support from Junayd.

My MIL gave Yasmine some coke at like 7pm at night when I specifically said no, and right before my eyes I see her giving Yasmine coke, and before I could take it away, Yasmine had drank half a glass.  Guess who was awake until 1130pm???  I mean who the hell is the parent here?  Every time we go over, she gets chocolate, and during Ramazan we were there 4 times a week so she got chocolate every time. There's only so many times you can fight with them.
My in-laws are terrific people, and they love Yasmine, and I know that's how they show their affection, but I need to draw the line somewhere. If it means less visits over there then so be it.  But what I really need is support from Junayd with this stuff, he needs to tell his parents to stop. But again, he just doesn't see this stuff as major issues. But to me it's still all part in raising a healthy unspoiled child, and because she gets whatever she wants at her grandparents, she expects the same at home too. It's more battle than I care to deal with.

It will just take more work and communication and I know I have to let a lot of this stuff go, because some of it is not worth stressing about. But I hate always being the bad guy in this situations, and Junayd needs to step in and discipline as well.


Maria said...

I totally agree with you. My parents used to keep me out until 10-11pm visiting on school nights so they found it ridiculous that I was putting my kids to bed at 7:30-8:00. But eventually they seen that schedule is what helped us all sleep at night and made for happy kids and happy parents.
I get grandparents can spoil however when the parent is the one stuck with the cranky or wired child it is unfair.
You are doing a great job and I know u and Junayd will find a way to meet half way as u always have done.

Josette said...

Dear Shelley,

I can see that you got a lot of relief from writing this. You need support at times, and struggle when you don't find it.

You are doing wonders my friend. Some day, she will be able to see you for who you are, and she will be thankful for your strength and your values. She will be stronger because she had a strong, independent mom as a role model. Never give up your values my dear. You may have to bend at times, but such is life. In the end your intentions will ring through no matter who is passing candy around.


Shelley said...

It's not an easy situation, but you have to learn what battles to pick and which ones are worth losing. For me that has been the trick of staying sane in these kinds of situations. In the end Junayd and I both love Yasmine and we will ultimately do right by her.

Maria- I am totally ok with grandparents spoiling the kids, but they also have to back down when I am trying to teach her a lesson or discipline her. And when you see the grandparents every day (sometimes) then it can be a little much. I am not such a control freak that I don't let them spoil her, I just want a few boundaries and rules that are respected, because I am the parent.
I also think the Italian mentality and the Indian mentality are quite the similar!!!

Adventurous Ammena said...

Sounds similar to what I saw with out nephew over in Pakistan.. Hubby totally disagrees with everything they were doing (all that you mentioned!) which Im grateful for... but I wonder how he will be when we are there ;) I pray it gets easier for you and hubby sees the disadvantages it brings to your daughter

SunithaG said...

Hey! Totally agree with your sentiments. And believe me these conflicts do not only arise with mixed nationalities. I face the same things in my household and do not get the required support because, like you said - something that seems so important to one does not matter to the other and vice versa. In my case there is a history of diabetes in both my in-law side and they still adamantly feed my son chocolate. Like you said it does get very frustrating. I have still not learnt the art of picking and choosing my battles....