The enormity of raising my son really hit me when I held him in my arms for the first time after being in active labour for over 14 hours. Even labour did not scare me as much as this huge sense of responsibility, I felt at the time for the little life we had created. Throughout my pregnancy, I never really belaboured over much on the aspect of raising my son in Australia and how his childhood would be different to my growing up years in India.
Both my husband and I moved to Australia nearly a decade ago to study but we fell in love with Melbourne and its multicultural ethos so much we decided to immigrate to this beautiful city and Country. The Australian community is accepting, generous and happily encompasses different cultures in its fold. While both my husband and I come from close knit families and grew up in an around extended families, we initially did miss having no family here. All the moral, cultural, religious and family values that a child learns through interactions with family and relatives are the building blocks of his personality as an adult.
I wanted to give my son the best of both worlds and cultures. Looking at his face, I wondered ‘How was I going to balance these juggling hats? Had I bitten more than I could chew? Was I dreaming the impossible immigrant dream? I did not have an answer to those questions then, but I had a strong resolve that I will raise an Australian Child while maintaining a strong root to my Indian Culture. I had to ensure that this beautiful being would get everything he deserved and more.
A recent research study conducted by Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) stated that, in Traditional (Collectivist Societies) including the Indian Society, Parenting is about raising a child who has a sense of responsibility towards his/her parents and community they may reside in or the religious faith they may belong to. Whereas in the Westernised Societies, Parenting is focused more so on making the child autonomous and the focus is for the children to learn through their own experiences. Reference
As an immigrant with a child born in Australia I have to maintain this fine balance of both theories of parenting, however with continuous learning about both Cultures. How do I manage to teach my son Indian Values and Cultural beliefs while living the Australian Way of Life?
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