Dear Indian Parent, Please Let Your Daughter-In-Law Be: She's Also Independent, Just Like Your Daughter

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 3 July, 2017

Dear Indian Parent,

Most girls are excited about their wedding, right from their college days, or after they complete their education. Everyone dreams of their Prince Charming, arriving on a horse to sweep them off their feet and wed them. And then, to have a cute little family of their own. Girls do get married, just as they had dreamt of. But this is the point when their whole lives are changed and turned upside down.

Her new family members decide when she should wake up, when to work, what work to do, when to take a nap, when to go out, when and what to eat, and most important of all—her appearance—what clothes and jewellery she should wear, how should she comb her hair, and so on.

She has lived with her parents since childhood and now after the wedding, she must ask for her in-laws’ permission to visit the place she has called 'home' all her life. When a girl gets married, her life changes completely. But what about men?

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Why are men not treated equally after the wedding? Why are girls expected to leave their parents’ homes but not the boys? Every girl wants to have her own family, with just her husband and kids. They dream of decorating their homes as per their likes and dislikes, to cook for their husbands lovingly, and to be independent in their own homes. 

All these dreams are shattered once married into a joint family. The girl quickly finds that she is the “outsider” in the house. Her in-laws do not talk openly when she is present. Her mother-in-law tells her younger children to behave “decently” in front of the new bride, especially if it is a younger son. This only makes them behave formally and artificially, and the girl never gets to know her new family members. It is in very few families that I see the daughter-in-law easily mingling with everyone in her family.

Every mother wants her daughter to live independently without in-laws, but these very same mothers demand that their daughters-in-law should stay with them.

Every mother-in-law was once a daughter in-law. Their lives also changed drastically when they were married and they know how difficult it is for a new bride. But when they become mothers-in-law, they forget all that they have undergone, and place a thousand restrictions on the new bride.

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Please, parents, give your son and daughter-in-law the space to start a new life after their wedding. Let them create their own family with love. If you give them this space and respect when they begin their lives, the relationship between you and your daughter-in-law will be very beautiful and she will surely take care of your son and you as well, when you become old.

By a frustrated daughter in-law.