As a society, we tend to raise & empower our daughters at every step in their lives. We raise them to be strong and independent. We make sure that we contribute as much as we can in making them successful and happy. But what happens when it comes to our daughters-in-law? Why do we fail to empower them? Why don’t we provide the same kind of support that we provide to our daughters?
Before you read any further, here is a much-needed disclaimer. This post is not for those, who have been blessed with supportive in-laws or for those who treat their daughters-in-law as they treat their daughters. This is for those daughters, who have been raised to be strong and independent but found themselves struggling after marriage. The ones who missed their parents and their support because the in-laws couldn’t accept them as their own.
Now before you arrive at any conclusions, I want to share it upfront that I am not proposing you to love your daughters-in-law as much as you love your daughters. No. That’s a conversation for another time.
But here I am asking why as parents, who believe in women empowerment, who want to empower their daughters, tend to shy away from giving the same support to their daughters-in-law?
At this point, it is important to let you know that this article has been drafted based on the innumerable experiences of my friends, family, colleagues, and my own self. So if you don’t agree with the post, I respect your beliefs. But at the same time, I request you to respect mine. Because our struggles might be different, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
As a parent, when we raise our daughters, we commit ourselves to empower them.
From helping them to develop their voices to raising them to stand against injustice, there are various ways that we tend to build our girls up. But how these rules of empowering become so different for daughters-in-law is what breaks my heart. Here are some rules by which we empower our daughters but tend to forget them to apply for our daughters-in-law too:
Empowering Rule #1: We Teach Our Daughters To Develop Their Voice But…
When it comes to our daughters-in-law, we try to suppress the very same voice. We tell them to follow the social norms or regressive traditions. From telling them what to say to how to say, we make sure that they are aligned with our set guidelines. While we want our daughters to have their own voice, we want our daughter-in-law to be voiceless creatures, who need to agree to whatever we say!
Empowering Rule #2: We Teach Our Daughters To Stand For What They Believe In But…
We tell our daughters-in-law to compromise and adjust. Because that’s what daughters-in-law are expected to do. They need to be flexible and quick to adapt. So though we love to raise strong daughters, we don’t like strong-headed daughter-in-law, who knows her rights and stand for herself and her dignity.
Empowering Rule #3: We Teach Our Daughters To Chase Their Dreams But…
We want our daughters-in-law to prioritize household chores and family over their own dreams. We tend to remind them that they need to be a good wife, good daughter-in-law, and a good mother. While we encourage our daughters to do things that give them happiness, we tend to call our daughters-in-law selfish when they do the same!
Empowering Rule #4: We Teach Them To Be Persistent In Their Stand Against Injustice But…
When our daughters-in-law do the same, we tend to label them as REBELS. We call them badtameez, unsanskaari, or blame their parents for raising them without values. While we want our daughters to stand for their dignity, our daughters-in-law need to suffer in silence.
Empowering Rule #5: We Teach Our Daughters To Be Firm With Their No’s But…
Our daughters-in-law should never say NO. Because saying ‘No’ means that they don’t respect us anymore. They should agree to whatever we say, whatever we do. Because in the end, daughters-in-law should know how to adjust, adapt, and compromise.
Empowering Rule #6: We Teach Our Daughters To Have Confidence That They Can Create Life Of Their Dreams But…
When it comes to our daughter-in-law, we neither have time or desire to build her confidence. We don’t have any willingness to take away her insecurities or support her in building a life of her dreams. Rather, we tend to raise obstacles so that she lives as per our desires. While we teach our daughters to believe in themselves, we, knowingly or unknowingly, shatter our daughter-in-law’s confidence.
Empowering Rule #7: We Teach Our Daughters To Love Themselves But…
We tend to pass hurtful comments and judgments about our daughters-in-law. Be it about their life choices or body appearances, we tend to shame them for who they are. We not only teach our daughters to love themselves, we also tend to tell them that we love them no matter what! But for our daughters-in-law, that love comes with tonne loads of conditions.
So, dear society here’s my two cents.
The day you will start empowering your daughters and daughters-in-law equally, no one’s daughter will suffer in silence. Next time when you complain about how you raised a strong and independent daughter, but the marriage failed her, remember it wasn’t marriage. It was your different rules for daughter and daughters-in-law that failed her!
Go ahead, empower not only your daughters but also your daughters-in-law!