Doctor Blogs

Tiger Parents of New India
by: Dr. Jaya Sukul
Clinical Psychologist

Unfortunately, even today in India's most modern era, psychology is 'mostly' cognizant of mental retardation and not of mental & emotional wellbeing. Psychological wellness is compromised behind the veil of the hardy Indian personality and avoidance related to emotional issues and lack of familial acceptance of psychological distress.

Undetected Adolescent Depression is on the rise amongst the teenagers of the New India, Asian Journal of Psychiatry reports that 37.7% of current high school students are qualified to be diagnosed as clinically depressed which is not only hampering the emotional and mental health but also the performance on the academic and social fronts. These are not the numbers we want our kids to be a part of but somehow in the race of life and in the pressure to ensure success we forget the kind of pressures kids of today have to face, it is easier said than done that the struggles of each generation are becoming lesser, statistically the newer generations are facing much more emotional distress than the previous ones.

It is important that as guardians of the next generation we realize that the struggle of the child begins very much at home, with factors such as academic performance, marital harmony of parents, expectations of  parents and other family members, societal image, bullying in school, etc. Amy Chua, a Yale law professor with two daughters, writes about her Chinese heritage and the way in which it has influenced her parenting choices. Her daughters are not allowed to watch TV or play computer games, have sleepovers or play dates, or get any grade less than an A. Tiger parenting is a little different than authoritarian parenting in that tiger parenting includes high levels of negative parenting (e.g., strict rules) and high levels of positive parenting (e.g., warmth and support). This concept is very relatable in India that we live in today but with its own desi twist, there is an abundance of strict parenting which stems from the desire of the parent to see the child successful but there is also a dearth of the understanding of emotional need of the child, we see how children move from one block to another (school, tuition, coaching classes, extracurricular) with the desire to excel in everything but by the end of the day the child is emotionally, mentally and physically so exhausted that the scope of any retention or internal ambition is burned out during the process of checking all the boxes.  

We must remember the desire to be successful is should never be more important than the wellbeing of the child as these are the experiences that shape a personality and can curb an instinctual natural growth, it is our duty to understand that in our attempt to make the child self sustainable in an independent world we should not forget being their emotional guardians and their protectors. The parents need to be the safety net of their children, and the child should be aware that he/she will be guarded rather than instilling a fear of punishment. It is not my intent to guilt or blame you rather I understand how complex parenting can be so my attempt is to make you aware as to the effect you can have on your child.