Remember when you excelled in school and your parents proudly proclaimed you their 'kul ka deepak' and 'budhape ka sahara'? Nothing makes us happier than receiving validation from our parents, and it's wholesome, of course. However, you begin to have doubts when you fear that you've become your parents' sole retirement plan.
On Reddit, someone questioned if Indian parents only have children to care for them in their old age, and it hit a nerve with many people.
1. "Yes, 'the budhape ka sahara'. Not like we don't love our parents, we do but controlling us even in our twenties, telling who to marry, when to have kids, forcing couples to have kids to keep the bloodline alive even when they're not ready. Deciding your careers, Indian parents are a mess (not all)."
2. "I'm nursing my father in one city and father in law in another city. This is not the west where your parents can be in an old age home and play board games all day and medical expenses are borne by the government with the tax money they have paid all their lives. This is India and we are expected to take care of our parents when they are old. There is no social net for them whatsoever. So yes, among other reasons, parents have kids so that they can take care of them when they are old."
4. "Childfree and loving it! And conversely, while I will support my parents financially: I've got them on a pension plan right now. And I contribute a monthly sum towards a fund of sorts that gets unlocked after 5 years; I will NOT put my life plan on hold for them. They know this. And while it was very hostile at first, they've opened up to it now. And they understand why it's unfair for them to expect me to just drop my life at a moment's notice."
6. "India is not a developed country. We don't have social net for old people or well functioning healthcare. In the Western countries old people may live alone but they can easily call an ambulance for emergency health issues and get good care in government hospitals. Even then wanting to have children is a natural urge for any human. To give your accumulated wealth to, to raise a better version of you. Some Indian parents get too meddlesome in their kids' lives in the name of culture but I also see many who live alone while children are settled elsewhere. In my hometown village, most people there are old people living alone and the younger people are moving to nearby towns and cities."
8. "Indian parents are against inter-caste/ religion marriages due to thousands of years of tradition and culture and not having an open mind. They are dogmatic and don’t believe in changing with the change in circumstances. Their image in society is more important for them as compared to their kids' happiness. They think that they live for their offspring. They don’t live for themselves. That is the worst thing about Indian parents. They simply nod for their elders & impose this same procedure to children. So, the only opinion is be friendly with your child. Don’t make them your enemy. Change with time."
10. "What worries me is the fact that most parents have nothing saved up for their old age except the very real estate they live in. And when you get to a point where you have to let go of it to support them, all hell breaks loose. It is terrible. By no means I am here to say that your parents don't deserve to be supported, but there should be an understanding about the fact that you gotta take care of your family (if you have it) too."
A parent-child bond, like any other relationship, is reciprocal. Children must understand their responsibility towards their parents out of love, not only because they took care of them when they were young. Parents should trust the upbringing and offer them the autonomy to become their own decision makers rather than bulldozing them into being their caretakers.