How would an Indian mother and an American mother differ in raising their children?

Someone asked in Quora how an Indian and an American mother would differ in raising their kids.

Here’s the most popular answer –

“I’m an American living in an Indian joint family, so I have an Indian mother of sorts, and an American one.

American mothers instill independence in their children. The kids have a wide spectrum of freedom regarding where and how to play… but Indian mothers are much more likely to monitor the child’s every move to make sure they don’t hurt themselves, stray too far, etc. Indian mothers also try to instill a sense of dependence in the child by oft-repeated, “what would you do without us?” and “We know what’s best” gestures and statements.

On the plus side, Indian mothers may also be seen as more self-sacrificing–this is especially true economically where parents are less inclined to cut kids off and kick them out of the nest at 18. American parents see it as a rite of passage that every child must go through. Once the child becomes an adult, American mothers take an “it’s your life, your choices” attitude. Indian mothers NEVER adopt this attitude, even when the child is 45. Also on the note of self-sacrificing, it IS more common for an Indian woman to see her role purely as a mother once she has kids–her duty is to them and her household. American women, on the other hand, are often taught to retain their interests and individuality even once they have kids. Many more American women keep their careers once they have kids, for example.

American mothers are more lax about the child’s academic performance. Not good in math? Then she sums it up as not being the child’s strong suit, and “as long as they tried their best.” The Indian mom? Poor academic performance is seen as laziness. She’ll lock the kid in the room around exams and hound them until their marks are adequate.

Along a similar line, American mothers shy away from obvious forms of competition in their child’s life. The US culture is one where the kid in last place gets a trophy, and develops an award system where every child can win one (ie, “most popular,” “best musician,” “friendliest,” etc). American mothers try to promote that the world is a friendly, collaborative place. Indian mothers instill a sense of fierce competition–the world is full of clear  winners and losers, and one has to work hard to come out on top. Indian mothers think they’re simply teaching children realistic expectations early on, and how it’s important to be the best.

American mothers care about being seen as a friend to their child in addition to being a parent. They’ll want the kid to come to them for relationship advice, help if struggling with a friend group, or go shopping together and have fun “mother daughter” time. This happens at a very early age with the child, too. Indian mothers tend to be much more authoritative and can be embarrassed by knowing personal matters–many have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with relationships. Curfew is strict. They want to TELL the kids how to handle any problems like an authority figure rather than empathize with them as a friend would.

American mothers often tolerate a wide personality range from their kids. If their child is gay, or overly loud, has an interest in a weird hobby, or wants to wear unusual clothes, an American parent is far more likely to indulge it than an Indian mother. The Indian mother wants the child to integrate seamlessly into society, so this means condemning many choices that make the kid stand out and attract attention. It’s part of the “what will others think?” mentality common to Indians.

American moms teach kids to stand up to authority figures; Indian moms teach kids to respect them.

Anyway, there are crossovers in each of these points, but these are the things I’ve observed.”

And then some other answers –

“The only difference is that they have different nationalities.
All mothers love their children. They may have different ways of expressing their love but in thier own way they try to bring up their children in the best possible manner.
So incase you were expecting answers like ‘American mothers are  career oriented and Indian moms are more into their household’…I would like to point out that being career oriented or not is a personal choice, it in no way shows that they care less about their children.”

A few others listed pros of both American and Indian moms –

American Mom:- (before being a mom)

  • Has been brought up in a spacious surrounding
  • More space grants better individual privacy
  • Well planned kid and elderly-friendly societies, town, safe parking, throughout
  • Openness to separate from awkward marriages/partnership (no social stigma).
  • More privacy flourishes in her pursuing diverse interests in niche hobbies that can translate into an occupation.
  • Typically, an American Mom doesn’t have to even bother about taking care of her in laws, nor her own parents.
  • Mom has a robust platform for infusing individualism, self-esteem, broadmindedness, adventurism, assertiveness, creativity and ability to fearlessly pursue their hobbies, which usually can translate into an occupation.
  • The way this mom brings up the kid is in a fashion consistent with the culture, surrounding and environment she was herself reared up:- separate spacious toddler room, niche hobbies, adult-like treatment, fearless discussion, on-demand help, no interference, etc etc.

Being raised by an Indian mother is all about her actions which prove how unconditionally she raised us by putting our needs first and how much love she has given us in life.

  1. You were fed way beyond your appetite.
    2. You never needed an alarm to wake you up.
    3. If your lunch box was not empty when return from school, you were in for deep trouble.
    4. She was is always worried about your health.
    5. When you say, “Mom, just 3 rotis.”, you’ll find 4 in your plate.
  2. When you were out, you used to get a call from her every 2 hours.
    7. There were times when you went to sleep without blankets, but woke up with them on.
    8. You studied late night with a cup of hot tea prepared by her in the middle of the night.
    9. No matter how late you reach home, you always had a tasty meal waiting for you.
    10. She works normally even when she’s unwell.
    11. She’ll never stop loving you, no matter how you behave with her or how old you are.
    12. She made sure you stay in touch with your relatives by insisting you to speak to them on the phone
    13. A typical phone call from mom when you are staying out of town.
  • “Have you eaten?”
  • “What have you eaten?”
  • “Why have you eaten so less?”
  • “Why don’t you eat ________?” (Fill in the blank: Everything From parathas to rice)
  1. You are always a little kid to her, no matter what your age is.

Is there anything you’d add to this list either way?

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