A very delicate topic…and an interesting one I guess. Also there cannot be some general rules regarding how relationships get built.

However I have heard of fathers on either extremes – those who are great and supportive and those who can leave scars on their kids. For those who have seen Anupama (an old Hindi movie with Sharmila Tagore as the heroine) ..it is easy to understand about fathers who leave a scar. I know of one girl who as 9 years old when she could not recognize her father – she was being brought up by her maternal grandmom in a different city. Then of course there are Hindi movies showing abusive fathers (belt, etc!).

However there are fathers who do not physically touch their daughters but can leave scars on the young minds. Not that I know of such cases, but it is easy to see girls who will blindly follow their dad’s diktats. To such girls my message is REVOLT. Just say NO. If he has not allowed you to do things that YOU LIKE to do…do not settle for a career or a boy that he chooses. In all probability he will choose another domineering guy who will dominate you for the next 60 years of your life!

Just Go. Get married to the guy you like, choose the career you like. After all in life you cannot please everybody always. Even if it is your Dad. If you think you need Assertiveness Training, by all means get it!

Read ‘The Man’ by Irwing Wallace – those conversations where the President is being taught ‘how to be assertive’ it is worth the effort…:)

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  1. So true. I couldn’t agree more. I have seen girls (and boys) who are so brainwashed into following their parents that they lose the creativity and free thinking required to do things they like. They let go of their wishes in the name of sacrifice and so-called love for parents. It’s sad.

  2. Just for a second leave your personal experiences aside and read the article again…..I guess it applies to all Parents and their kids..need not be Fathers and daughters 🙂 An excellent article !!

  3. Yes. Well said. Kids ought to have the liberty to pursue what interests them the most.

    How different is it when sons/daughters of the land are coerced/threatened into doing things they wouldn’t want to do by the Big Daddy the Government. All be it a daddy “the majority” chooses for “All” every 5 years.

  4. The generation today which is in the decision making stage is fairly competent and intelligent. However, fathers (in many cases parents) choose to ‘guide’ them in their careers (government jobs are great, join a psu – you will never be sacked, it will not close down) etc. Then worse is marriage counseling – Know of a girl who is being ‘cajoled’ to give up a boy, because girl is from Mumbai! And as far as investing is concerned -‘I invested in LIC and a house in Mumbai’ – see how well I have done for myself!

    Hope the kids do not listen to such archaic advise. The investing strategy of 2007 failed in 2008, and the strategy of 2008 failed in 2010!

    Why are fathers forcing their 1980 strategies on kids making their choice in 2010 beats me.

    My prayers are with the kids…and hope God opens the Father’s eyes and he realises his incompetence in advising – job and marriage. Let the kids decide. Help them, do not drive.

  5. “Why are fathers forcing their 1980 strategies on kids making their choice in 2010 beats me.” – That’s because the parents honestly believe “ONLY” they know what is best for the kids just like our Govt.

    “Government jobs are great, join a psu” – Assuming the kid wants to join a PSU against his Dad’s wishes , Would you think that is wrong & why?

  6. no I am saying kids should be responsible for their decision – living in a different city, working as a temporary, doing their own business, working for 2 years and funding their MBA,…working in a Psu, or not working in a psu – whatever.

    Frankly I have done a few random steps and have reached where I have. Now to say ‘I had a strategy and things went according to plan’ would be a joke. So I have no business ‘strategising’ for my daughter.

    I heard of a rich father who told his daughter ‘painting cannot be a career’ – I hope I do not make such statements. Our job is to say look before you leap that is all.

  7. Quite right. Individual responsibility.

    May I ask then why your views on matters of economy & public policy (based on a few posts I have read of yours in this blog) are contrary to matters of household (like this post)

  8. No it is not at a contradiction. I am a product of the capitalist India. My dad was a private sector senior executive, I made money in the equity markets. However capitalism does not exist in any part of the world. It exists only in Ayn Rand’s books.

    In real life you need the Government for lower level education, roads, lower end hospitals, basic infrastructure.

    Having met so called ‘capitalists’ , bureaucrats, people from film industry, etc. I am disillusioned with capitalists.

    So to talk of utopia where a medicine manufacturer will NOT sell bad medicine IN HIS LONG TERM SELF interest is again Ayn Randish. In real life the businessman creates a business to sell – long term, you gotta be joking. When I see some shares in my dad’s portfolio held for more than 50 years..and in mine held for more than 25 years…not sure whether we are RELEVANT.

    Capitalism can work only when OWNERs of businesses think LONG TERM. That is gone. So capitalism is now ‘Employee ism’ – which is in many cases worse than socialism.

  9. In my opinion, we no doubt need a government but ONLY a minimalistic one – I’d recommed you read http://sauvik-antidote.blogspot.com/ He beautifully explains what some of these “public goods”(roads,etc) are.

    We should all be living in caves/forests, riding horses, spending our day gathering/growing our own food & hunting. Most of us should have seen a few of our siblings die in birth, some in few years and we ourselves should die before reach 40 due to small pox, TB, malaria & other yet to be discovered diseases. This was reality still a few hundred years back. Thankfully that is not the case anymore.

    If you pause to think why & how, every inch of human progress so far has been possible because one thing & one thing ONLY – Profit/selfish motive. Capitalism is just the name that economists gave to this human activity. Why/how do you think man invented steam engine, automobiles, computers, internet, remedies for all those diseases, etc?

    I would argue it is the governments that distort this noble activity by way of their shortsighted laws/regulations.

    I have read somewhere that US FDA has perhaps been responsible for more deaths than the lives they saved.

    FDAs are no divine authority. They are a govt dept with a bunch of people like you & me responding to economic incentives. Imagine a drug company releasing new life saving drug and go to FDA for approval. If FDA didn’t approve in time & people died as a result of unavailability of the drug, no one would see that. If FDA approved a wrong drug, you can expect a few officers to lose their jobs. FDA officials hence have no incentive to approve drugs quickly & Drug companies are absolved off their duties to perform extensive testing if they relied on FDA.

    Can you sue FDA in India if they they approved a wrong drug? Can you sue Indian Railways for causing accidents? Did victims of Bhopal disaster get justice for the accident Union Carbide caused?

    If India were really a free market society, you would be able to sue private businesses causing damage to you by invoking Tort Law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tort

    Businesses will go bankrupt if they caused an accident. Businesses will leave no stone unturned to make sure their drugs work, their operations don’t cause any accident.

    But we are a self proclaimed socialistic society! We don’t have torts. We rely on our bureaucrats to run vast parts of our lives! How sad.

  10. you belong to the same Ayn Rand world….and i thought only socialists dreamed of a perfect world where everybody worked as per their ability and everybody got paid as per their need..

    Capitalistic society does not exist….anywhere in the world..and businesses do not go bankrupt it they cause an accident. The MD resigns and a new md comes, that is all

  11. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    Subra
    There were (are ) two perfect experiments carried out in the world.. East & West Germany & North & South Korea..

    Which of the 2 pairs prospered?.. Which of the 2 pairs people want to migrate to?.. Which of the 2 pairs build walls to STOP people from leaving them?..

    Were there not scandals, scams, cheating, fraud in West Germany and South Korea?.. Of course they were.. Its human nature.. Blame 4 billion years of evolution for it.. Living organisms usually want the most for the least effort..Life itself is selfish.. All the selfless organisms died out, weeded out by natural selection

    Still, life was & is infinitely better in South Korea & West Germany compared to the alternative.. Please do not be so cynical about Capitalism.. Because the alternative is far far far worse.. Choose between Scandals and Death camps.. Choose between scams and a frozen death in Siberia.. I will happily choose scandals and scams..

    Yet, in spite of all the scams, scandals, frauds caused by human nature, Capitalism manages to unleash the creativity of the people..
    I say again, you are a wonderful thinker, but please do not be so cynical about a system which has always worked so well..

    Subra, please read Ayn Rand again properly and with an open mind..
    Everything that she predicted has come true.. Including the financial crisis..
    I recommend- Capitalism, an unknown ideal for a start..

  12. Subra,

    I am with you at a conceptual level. Not just with Fathers & Daughters, but with Parents and Children.

    However, I feel that a caveat is in order. This is only applicable to children who have been brought up (over the years) to reach a certain level of maturity – preferably a certain level of education.

    Without adequate maturity, chances are bright that you can end up with misguided young adults at an impressionable age. Imagine, for instance, a child of a drunkard rickshaw-puller from Kolkata who has just passed Class Ten after a couple of attempts. If the mother (or father, when sober) advises the child to pick up basic PC literacy and take up a clerical post or a sales person’s job at a nearby saree shop, and wait for a few years before getting married to an “appropriate” person, that’s sensible advice.

    In the name of “Independent Thinking” and decision-making, if the young adult ends up listening to misguided elements, it is very easy to get tempted about prospects of easy money through illegal / unethical activities. He / she may end up becoming a petty criminal or, worse still, a terrorist!

    What do you think?

    Nath

  13. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    @Nath
    Glad you brought us back to the topic of the article..
    We got carried away and started arguing about political systems in an article about father & daughters;-)

  14. My argument in the article is simple – teach your kids to think! Edward De Bono! Let them choose what is good or bad. If he / she is the daughter of a cycle rickshaw puller, he/she is likely to have dreams around that. Rarely will you fly like a phoenix if you are in a group of crows!

    Having said that if children are pushed into thinking and taking responsibility for their actions from childhood, they will do what is good for them.

    We can only stand and watch. Be willing to be a parachute if things go wrong – guide do not force.

  15. Teenagers normally rebel against whatever advise they are given. The parents need to be careful in moderating their advise. Many thoughts are written above and some are good.
    Subra seems to be taking an extreme view here. It is not good to do nothing when your children take decisions which are against your own judgement. parents are supposed to be wiser, having gone through the same mistakes in their life. What is needed is a clear thinking, not based on ego or based on parents own actions in life but based on what they think is best for the children. In most circumstances, if the advise is given in correct way your children will listen. We should learn to talk as adult to adult to our grown up children.
    Regards

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