Question from an online forum:?What are the pros and cons of raising kids in America for Indian American parents?
My wife and I moved to India this summer with our 7 year old , primarily to be closer to my aging parents. Our son spent over six years – through first grade – in the US, and we had been making annual trips to India.
So, here is a bit of musing on raising ?Indian American? kids in India (flip this for a response to the question)
America is a melting pot and people from literally all corners of the world continue to migrate and call it home.
- While immigrants bring their distinct cultural identity along, they are expected to be ?American first.? It is expected that we think and act like an American, albeit a brown American.
- Kids growing up in India acquire mannerisms, accent and usage of English distinct to South-Asia (nothing wrong in this)
India is changing, and cities in urban India are loosing the distinct cultural identities. Why do I say this?
- Kids are as comfortable talking about the latest American sitcoms (or cartoons) as they are about Desi episodes. My son loves Kris and Bal Hanuman as much as he loves the escapades of Oggy and the cockroaches
- This ?westernization? continues through childhood and by High school, kids (whose parents can afford to) begin finalizing plans to ?go abroad? for higher-education
Most public schools focus on academics and little else. The daily grind of commuting to work and school in India leaves little time for other activities like learning music or art.
- Taking the child to a music class or Bal Vihar in an hour-long Uber/Ola ride after he gets back home at 4 or 5 PM is neither practical nor fun for the parent or child
- Parents in India have to invest a lot more effort to ensure some ?cultural induction? for the kids. One can argue this is similar to the additional effort parents in the US put to take their kids to Violin Class (or a Gujarati class) an hour across town every week.
?Indian Values? This is perhaps the most overrated issue constantly discussed by Desi parents in the west.
- The fact is that the values and mores many of us grew up with in India in the seventies, eighties have changed.
- Indian Millennials are as ?globalized? or ?westernized? as their peers in America or England.
- Middle class in urban India is struggling with some of the same challenges we see in the west – Youngsters moving in to live together, promiscuous relations etc.
So, what do I think of all this? My son enjoyed his time in the US. Although he sometimes misses his old school, he has begun to enjoy his new school; making, new friends, learning new languages like Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil are a big plus.