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Why It’s Normal For Urban Indian Men To Stay With Parents

If you have lived outside of India all your life, it may be difficult for you to understand the Indian family dynamics. In India, men (and women) stay with their parents long after they graduate from college and start earning. Indian women stop living with their parents when they get married but Indian men would continue to live with their parents.

This is because, in our society, we are taught that it is our duty to look after our parents, the ones who brought us up and gave us the life we are living. Parents themselves would feel reluctant to let their sons go out and live on their own. They feel like their son is not ready to go live an independent life so they allow their sons to live with them. They stay with their son’s new family, look after the house and the grandkids while their kids go ‘pursue their career’ and ‘live their life’.

The concept behind living with parents is that the children have to look after their parents once they grow old. But if this is the case, why aren’t daughters allowed to stay with their parents? What happens in the case of parents who have only had daughters and no sons? The joint-family system seems fair only if they are all allowed to stay together.

Again, in a joint family, the problem of privacy arises. How can there be any privacy in a house where parents live together with the children? The parents would try to poke their nose into everything that happens in the house. If the son decides to take his wife out one day, the mother would get upset and say she feels neglected. These are just some of the problems that modern Indian families experience.

The problem of privacy can be avoided if they build separate houses (for the parent and for themselves) that are close to each other. In an ideal scenario, where the parents (wife’s side and husband’s side) live with their children harmoniously, the parents would work together to help the wife during her pregnancy, look after the kids while they are growing up and help their kids with a few chores around the house. When the parents grow old, their kids and grandkids would be by their side. An added benefit is that the grandkids would grow close to their grandparents while growing up.

Now, imagine if the wife and husband have siblings. They would have to rent an entire apartment to accommodate all the kids, parents and grandkids! It is safe to say that this setup can only work for a minority of Indian families - more specifically the rich urban Indian families that only have one child.

But there are Indians who live with their parents for purely selfish reasons. Some would reason it out by saying that they have to look after their parents now that they are old. Others would say they would miss Ghar Ka Khaana. Few may even try to reason out by saying they don’t have sufficient funds to pay their own rent or that nobody will look after their kids better than the grandparents would. But the moment their parents fall sick and need their kids, they will abandon them. This is not to say that all Indians do this, but as sad as it sounds, most Indians do.

Outside of India, the idea of living with parents itself sounds absurd. If a man lives with his parents even after he is earning enough to be able to live on his own, it would be difficult for him to find a suitable wife for himself. The societal norm is that the kids move out of the house as soon as they are done with schooling. They are supposed to find their own ways to start earning and fend for themselves.

It would be ideal if Indians were taught to become independent as soon as they are done with their education. They could still visit their parents from time to time and even live with them when they grow old or sick and need help. This way, both parents and children would be able to live guilt-free and happily.

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