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Gradual Exposure

Although you may have lived with your parents until your marriage, do not assume your children will do the same.

In India, most daughters continue living at home until they get married. However, this is changing, and now we see more and more young girls striking out on their own, to make a life for themselves.

Parents in India often try and ensure that their daughters lead a very sheltered life until their marriage. Then the responsibility of caring for their daughter passes on to her husband and his family.

Children move out

But more and more children now move out of their parents' homes either to study in different towns, or to work elsewhere.

They have no exposure

What happens then is these girls often don't know what to expect, and are unprepared for many situations that may arise. 21-year-old Rima was so sheltered her entire life, that when she got her first job in an advertising firm, she suffered a culture shock. She had never been exposed to women that smoked, and when suddenly she found herself in an office filled with women who constantly held a burning cigarette between their fingers, it disturbed her greatly, and she felt very uncomfortable in their presence, believing she would never fit in. She did, over time, without picking up the habit herself. It helped that she was still living at home, surrounded by her parents and loving siblings, with who she could discuss the events of the day and her feelings.

On the other hand, if she had been exposed to something so radically different from her present lifestyle when she was no longer living at home, she may have taken up smoking herself either with a desire to fit in or simply to try something that seemed new and exiting.

What helped was that Rima, although sheltered earlier on, was given an exposure to life outside her shell, when still living with her parents.

Don't shelter them too much

As a parent should try and expose your child to as much as you can and as you believe feasible, while they are still living with you. Naturally this doesn't mean that you introduce them to drugs or smoking, but you do need to encourage them to go out more with their friends instead of curtailing their socializing. This way they will be exposed to many more things at an age when they are still living with you, and you can help them make the right choices. If they are exposed to these things when they are no longer with you, you will not be around to guide them towards the right path.

Encourage socializing

Parents in India often shudder at the thought of sending their daughter to a nightclub. Before denying permission, think about the fact that although she may never go to one when she is living with you, she will when she is no longer with you. It may make more sense to let her go now, and ensure she reaches home early. Exposure in little doses is far better than none at all, or sudden exposure.

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