While many modern Indian parenting techniques reflect methods typically utilized in the United States, the Indian culture can vary in approach to raising children. Urban areas of India and Indian families living in the United States are similar in teaching children general values of respect, honesty and independence. Other parenting tactics commonly seen in the Indian culture, however, can differ from the typical Western perspective.
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As a patriarchal culture, Indian families are generally run by the father or grandfather with family life and home structure based on decisions made by the male family members. Women are responsible for domestic duties and daily childcare tasks. Many Indian families live together in a multi-generational household, with children living with their parents until, and sometimes even after, marriage.
Teaching Life Values
With Hinduism as the most prominent form of religion in the Indian culture, many Indian families impart the importance of prayer and worship to their children. There is a strong emphasis on respect of elders in the Indian culture. Children typically grow up with their grandparents in the same household. Children are generally held by adults more and spend less time in cribs and playpens in the Indian culture versus Western culture. Many Indian families choose to begin toilet-training their children by the age of 12 months, another cultural difference.
Disciplining of Children
Traditional Indian families tend to discipline their children in a more aggressive and stern manner than most typical U.S. families. Mild corporal punishment such as spanking is considered a normal aspect to parenting in many Indian families. Children are rarely coddled or allowed to misbehave in any way. Since the respect of elders is such a key component to how children are raised, speaking or acting out against adults is punished in a fairly harsh manner.
Rural Areas of India
In rural locales of India, families utilize parenting techniques quite different than in modern Indian culture. For example, herbal remedies are generally used more often than medicines. There is a significantly lower amount of childhood vaccinations given. Some rural Indian families distribute opiates to their children on a regular basis to modify behavior. It is also a common expectation for children as young as 6 or 7 years old to work in the fields every day to contribute to family life.