One step forward with dad, one backward with mom

‘The last time my father took a decision for me was when I was in class 10. He gave me the choice of majoring in high school and also in college,’ says 23-year-old Priya.

However, it was not easy for her as her mother did not give the same ‘freedom’ as her father. ‘I wanted to pursue media studies soon after schooling. My parents had minimal knowledge about the field, yet my father trusted me with my decisions and gave the green light,’ recalls Priya.

When she was in second year, she realised that her dream was to become a traveller and all hell broke loose the moment she expressed her interest to her mother. She says, ‘Despite hailing from a conservative family, it was my father who played the role of a mediator and with utmost patience, explained to my mother about my dream who later came to me to speak about her fears.’

It is not the situation just with Priya, but among many young girls and women. A daughter generally associates herself with father and a son with his mother. Reason? They are given freedom in their respective territories.

Mothers are considered as regressive and fathers, a progressive force. When a daughter wants to go out with her friends, it is the man of the house who right away nods and the mother comes up with a questionnaire before letting her out. A distraught daughter either fights or gives up the battle.

News Today speaks to experts in the city to know about father-daughter affinity and mother-daughter enmity.

‘When assessing relationships, the society we live in must be taken into consideration before jumping to conclusions. In India, we live in a rigid society and the phenomenon of a woman loving her father exists when there is gender discrimination,’ says SRM Medical College and Hospital department of psychiatry assistant professor, Dr Sivabalan Elangovan.

He goes on to explain about how a daughter is raised and points out, ‘Parents raise their daughter with the thought that they have the responsibility of getting her married, which is entrusted with the father. Our society is still revolving around the notion that a man cannot speak about certain things to a woman. The case is not the same with a mother as she observes every single change in her daughter because of which the daughter feels that she is constantly being monitored and finds her father to be easy-going.’

The doctor explained, ‘Since a daughter cannot be transparent with father, it is being perceived that he provides freedom and mother does not. When there is no gender discrimination in a family, the taboos are broken and the family becomes happy and contented.’

Giving a different perspective, Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children (ICH&HC) Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Professor and Head, Dr M S Jagadeesan, stated, ‘When raising a child, three factors – genetic, upbringing and sociological set-up – certainly play a major role. A mother could have been a victim of negative experiences. The fear that she contracts would transform into being ‘over-protective’.’

Bhavani Prabhakar