'Is Parenting at the Root of all Inequalities?' By Naina Samson
One of the basis of all kinds of inequalities is culture and every culture emerges from parenting. Children inhabit cultural ecologies that consist of group-specific knowledge, practices, and technologies that are inherited and modified over generations. Children learn culture in several complementary ways, including through exploration, observation, participation, imitation, and instruction.
So what is the connection between Culture, Parenting & Inequalities?
“We all are steeped in culture like tea bags in hot water—infused with it to such a degree that it is virtually invisible.”
I am really not against culture as a framework since it is the culture that gives identity to every nation. But my point is that when the perception of a single family that is not in support of equality, becomes the culture of a bigger family circle and then it is gradually adapted by an even larger group of people then the environment of belief in inequalities is created even before the birth of a child.
“Parenting” is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship. However all parents have already adapted the culture from their parents and then they transfer their perceptions to their families by making those as part of their family values. .
Children are inoculated with these ‘vaccine’ of inequalities all the time when the family belief is such. For example, they are constantly told.
Girls do not need higher education since their main role is only to get married.
If at all a girl wants to work then becoming a teacher is a better and safe option.
If a boy wants to marry someone of his own choice that is ok because he is a boy after all.
Girls should not go out to play because they must help out with the home chores
The other huge issue is that every little girl is brought up with the princess syndrome. She grows up in this fantasy land where the world revolves around her and she is the princess. Her existence is engulfed with the idea that one day a prince in shining armor will come and whisk her away to the happily ever after land. Then when the reality of a relationship and marriage hits her hard she is ill-equipped to handle it.
So a boy is the Beast and a girl the helpless Beauty??
The social learning theory of Bandura emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. He states that: “Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.”
Yes, of course patriarchy is the framework which encourages and rewards boys and men to dominate women and behave in cruel and degrading ways but I am going to say something very unpopular which needs to be said, i.e. the root cause is women, and to be specific the mothers.
So this simply means that if you say things to your children about how to behave but you yourself behave in a different way, that is what they will end up learning! Sometimes these lesson can come back to haunt the same parents such as the mother who is teaching his son not to be supportive to his wife may end up being the old woman who is ignored and left alone by this same married son.
THEREFORE WE OURSELVES NEED TO CHANGE, TO MAKE A CHANGE
Naina Samson is an ASAP Youth Champion from Pakistan.