I was told that I really ought to reconsider wanting to send my children to an American university because I will lose control of them. ( control povum). This fact was further reiterated  by letting me know that American Universities do not even send report card of the child to the parents.

Two things bothered me with the above assumption. One is the Indian parents’ need to be in control and the other is their inability to accept that children grow in to adults and therefor do not need the parents to be involved in their day to day life when they are at the University. ( And the University understands that, the reason why they don’t send the report card home)

My (second) cousins who were born and raised in US were not allowed to go for the high school prom because their parents decided that Prom isn’t culturally acceptable. The parents control every bit of their child’s life with a Mallu yardstick. I find that attitude extremely unfair. It was the parents who chose to live in US and if they wanted to raise their children like how they were raised in Kerala, then they should have stayed back in Kerala. ( Isn’t it odd that girls in Kerala wear saree for social ( I did in my 10th) and wear kerala saree on Nov 1 and attend the street march or whatever you call ( Jaatha) and that is culturally acceptable?)

As for control, what exactly does one expect to gain from controlling every move their child make? As I said before, my mother tried that and if she knew all the things I have done while she was under the impression that she was in full control of my life, she will have a heart attack.

My job as a parent is to guide and guard my children. I have taught them what is right and what is wrong. I really don’t want to see their report card when they are in Universities for they should know by then that they are the captains of their ship, if they work hard, they get good grades, they don’t, it is their grades that suffer, the outcome only affects them, not me. I have done my job by then.


10 thoughts on “Control

    • Thumbi: You are missing the point completely. Since you asked where American Mallus send their kids to study,I will respond according to what I have seen. I have plenty of cousins in US and this is what I have seen them do. Two gene pools separate them, one is of those who are in US under skilled migration category and the other is the family migration category. Chances are the former will send their children to a college within 100 km drive from their home, hoping the kids would pass the MCAT ( medicine still rank among the top degrees to study)and if that was not successful, they send them to do medicine in the Caribbean ( Antigua is the preferred location) to do Medicine.the latter would pack them off to India, possibly Chengannur /Thiruvalla to do MBBS/BDS.( Kashu labham, control povathilla and Kerala is culturally acceptable) But none would send their children (halfway across the world) to Australia to study. ( Control povum !) When my cousin suggested I should reconsider sending my kids to US to study, he meant that I will not have any control over them as I live 16000 km away.

      • Aaah!.. Got you.. It’s more because of the distance than the culture then…you should consider moving then if Yaya makes it here.. Princeton is a great place to live.. expensive, but great..:D..

        Wow – on maintaining a tight leash with distance/culture…Guess we (IT) are a totally different breed from medical background immigrants then… I don’t know any of my friends who have ever talked about sending their kids to India for college (saving money/forcing culture)…The most I have seen is moving into a neighborhood where there are more Indians…Do they differentiate sons and daughters when they consider this?..Is it just girls who needs to go through this?.. As a mom, I understand the dilemma.. but I think they are allowed to make their own mistakes after 18 and we can only hope what ever good we instilled in them allows them to chose the right path..:).. The hardest part as a parent is letting go and wonder if everything is going to be alrite, I guess, even when they get on the school bus every morning from the driveway..:)

        • Thumbi: I was planning to move to US when Yaya completes grade 12 and although the house prices in Philly are reasonable, the property taxes are too high. I refuse to spend 12000$ annually for property tax alone.( I know the taxes vary according to locations, but the places I was interested with good school the taxes were high) At the end when I retire, all the money that I paid for taxes, heating etc, I will not be able to recover from selling the property even if I add the property appreciation value. I don’t wish to work until 70 and I want to be able to have sufficient funds to enjoy my life when I retire. So I decided to live here since I pay less than 2000$ as property tax and the medicare is much better here in Australia !

          • School taxes vary according to the suburb you live.. We pay only half of that (still really high compared to yours, but it’s a great school district :)..)…have you thought of renting a house/ 3 bed apartment?..

          • Thumbi: Rent money is dead money, when I rent, I am helping someone else to pay their mortgage. At the end of 3 year lease assume I was paying 1000$/month, I would have paid 36,000$ I I will own nothing. I am already 42 and I need to ensure that I have sufficient income to retire and do the things I really want to ( sail around the world tops the list)

  1. I guess this letter on indianhomemaker’s blog depicts why the people you were referring above react the way they do with “control povum” :

    I have to say, your blog(I’ve been a reader when you started and fell off from the radar some time along the years; suddenly two weeks back , I thought wonder what’s happening with Sarah and kids and googled you.:)) and IHM’s blog has opened my eyes as to what all unbelievable things people go through in their lives; so different from the sheltered life I had and thought everyone had.. 🙁

    • Thumbi: if a 31 year old woman living in UK and planning to do second master’s degree can’t cope with emotional abuse from parents, what hope do we have for those daughters who live with their parents and go through this every second of their life?

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