Mom hugging the boy not the girls

Parents treat males and females differently in South Asian Culture. It’s ok for their sons to do something but not their daughters.

I’m a South Asian female and I have an older brother and younger sister. I feel like I’m not treated equally in the house and the expectations of me are different from my brother. I just can’t seem to do anything right to keep my parents happy. I don’t really get along with anyone in my family because they nag me all the time. It’s unfair that my brother has no responsibilities and can do whatever he wants.  

I feel so stressed out because I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer and I just can’t seem to do anything right to keep my parents happy. 

I’ve started drinking and smoking weed because it’s the only way I can relax and feel like myself. I don’t want to do these things but I have no freedom and need to get out of my head. My parents have caught me a few times and I get in so much trouble but when I get in trouble, I just feel the need to escape even more. I want to go out with friends or have a proper social life, but my parents don’t let me go anywhere. Sometimes, I sneak out. 

I feel like I’m not treated equally in the house and the expectations of me are different from my brother.

 

Youth are struggling to talk to their parents

"Parents treat males and females differently in South Asian Culture. It’s ok for their sons to do something but not their daughters".

"There is a generational gap - the kids want their parents to adapt to their culture but the parents don't want to". 

"Dreams and aspirations because parents have their own dreams for you like being a doctor". 

As a parent, caregiver, or other supportive adult

Connection and attachment is very important. "In ALL cultures, connection and attachment to your child are very important, and age does not matter. Several studies suggest for youth to grow into successful and positively attached adults, they need at least one positive adult or caregiver in their lives from a young age. Within the South Asian culture, there are ideals that it takes a village to raise a child.  I encourage you to lean into that ideal, where connection builds our children's hope".

Sarjeet Purewal, Family Counsellor, South Asian Family Strengthening Team (SAFST)

— M.B., Registered Clinical Counsellor, Surrey


Be your child's role model despite their non-compliance behaviour. "As a child matures into becoming a youth, then into a young adult, it is common that children and youth desire to become more independent. What is critical to remember is that our children being independent does not mean that our jobs as parents have ended. We must continue to be role models for our children, despite their non-compliance behaviour or even when youth are not wanting to connect with their parent or adult, it is vital to continue to make consistent and persistent efforts with our children. In turn, this will cultivate our children and youth into responsible, connected, and positive role models as future adults."

Sarjeet Purewal, Family Counsellor, South Asian Family Strengthening Team (SAFST)

— M.B., Registered Clinical Counsellor, Surrey


Treat your daughters and sons equally. "To parents raising sons and daughters it is important to continue to raise them equally. If you have an expectation that your daughter should do something in the household, make sure the same applies to your son in the household. There should not be gendered roles as this puts children in difficult situations. If you create equality in your home – children will grow up feeling well rounded and supported. If we continue to treat our daughters differently than our sons we do nothing to empower them. Empowering our daughters is important because they are equal to our sons."

- Pamela Sangha, Clinical Counsellor, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society 


 Learn more about your child's unique interests. "Remember that all children are unique in their needs and what works well for a sibling does not necessarily work well with the other. Set aside time to learn about your child’s interests and incorporate those in your family life and offer praise where they do well. Do not let your only interactions with your child be disciplinary as this will create an avoidance and distrust."

— Alana Thomas, Safe Schools, Surrey School District 


Talk to a professional if they are using substances. "If you’ve noticed your child is turning to substances for coping, it is important to connect them with professionals who can work with them on making healthy choices regarding substance use. Substance Use Liaisons are able to connect with any student in Surrey Schools and parents can notify the school they would like to make a referral or contact Safe Schools directly. Check out other resources available to your child and family."

— Alana Thomas, Safe Schools, Surrey School District