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Aftab 1

Minhal Aftab

Syed Javed Nazir

Writing And Communication

May 10, 2018

“If you cannot feed us then why conceive us?” A question many Pakistani children

cannot dare to ask their parents. The movie ‘Bol’ was aptly able to show this desperation of

children towards their parents. When it came to the pressing issues of our society, this movie did

not remain silent. It talked about overpopulation, mistreatment of transgenders and parents’ bias

towards male children. It accurately portrays how exactly a parent partakes in such social

injustices due to their behaviour towards their children. The movie uses this question to

emphasize how important it is for parents to realize that their responsibilities extend beyond

simply conceiving a child. Although literally, this question demands parents to feed their

children, it’s actual impact is much more significant. It forces us to think about things parents are

responsible for. Simply letting children evolve themselves, or moulding them into personalities

that are beneficial to personal interests is one of the greatest mistakes parents make, and has

major impacts on the community. It is important to understand that these characters eventually

form the next generation that defines the society. Their decisions, their style of thinking, and

their morals decide the future of the society.

The social conduct of an individual represents their childhood, their interaction with their

parents, and the teachings of their parents. Society is defined by the collective behaviour of

individuals which, in actuality, reflects the thinking of a whole generation of parents. Why is this

so? In Pakistan, parents are considered to be the obeyed sublime authority. The parenting culture

here demands children to always be answerable to their parents. Asking questions, on the other
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hand, is a sign of disobedience and the markings of a troublesome, rebellious child. Hence, it

discourages these children to develop their thinking and personality; their identity becomes an

amalgamation of their parents’ beliefs and ideas, and they grow up to always be subconsciously

influenced by it. Although it can be said that many other reasons can also result in social issues

in Pakistan, however, since parenting makes a person’s character and behavior, it is considered

to be the most influential factor, and the root cause of gender discrimination, misconduct in

society, inability to think critically , and the underlying effects of all these issues on a society.

Perhaps the most evident and unfortunate issue in Pakistani parenting is the blatant

gender bias. Male offspring are valued considerably over female, with regard to many aspects

ranging from the worth of their opinion and respect to an actual right to life. In rural areas,

daughters are mostly seen as a burden and are treated as objects of familial honour, which they

must protect at all times. They are not allowed the freedom to voice their thoughts and play an

active role in their society. Many daughters in rural areas have been subjected to ‘honour

killings’, a practice that greatly plagues the country. NGOs in Pakistan have estimated that there

are approximately 1000 honour killings in the country every year. (Human Rights Watch)

Although this discrimination is not as severe in the more educated parts of Pakistan, micro-

sexism is still very much prevalent, where daughters are often raised to be married off, with little

regard to their education and goals; a great contrast to their male counterparts, who are

encouraged to pursue successful careers and are seen as the pride of their families. Mothers are

often perceived to be living in fear of their husbands.

This, however, is only one part of the problem. It would not be fair to say that men in

Pakistan do not respect women at all. There are families that respect women, however, they limit

them to a defined social role. Daughters in such families are treated as if they do not need to
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worry about education or dream of achieving anything special. These parents believe that they

are doing the right thing by making life simple for their daughters. However, they fail to see the

greater picture of society as a whole. They fail to realize the potential that they are wasting.

These daughters could go on to become doctors, artists, engineers, businesswomen, and much

more. The society would have more people who are skilled and can help communities progress.

This unequal treatment is clear as day and can be observed closely by a child. Therefore,

boys observe the way their parents treat their sisters differently because of their gender and learn

to act differently towards that gender. It is the parents that crush the dreams of their daughters

when they remove their daughters from schools. “Parents living in a Pakistani community are by

far the most interactive, engaging and chatty household figures in the world. So, what happens

when you don’t allow your daughter to go to school after tenth grade, but you allow your son to

go abroad for his MBA, you set a precedent. A precedent, which clearly reeks of male

dominance and supremacy” (Riaz). Parents decide where their daughter stands in a society and

as a result where the majority of the females stand. When females see the males being treated

differently, it takes a toll on their self-esteem. They begin to consider themselves unworthy of

love and respect. Men further exploit this mindset when they treat their wives as their personal

property or when fathers sell their daughters as part of a business deal. All this simply because as

children the different treatment has been instilled in the minds of both genders. Hence women

cannot argue for their rights because they do not believe they have any.

To a child that is deprived of love by his or her parents, the world is nothing but a hostile

territory, where he or she is constantly searching for a replacement for the love he or she was
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never given. Unfortunately for the transgenders in our society, parents do not even consider them

to be human. In Pakistan, parents find it an embarrassment or a punishment to give birth to a

transgender. It is easier to pretend that the child was born dead than to tell their friends and

family that their child is a transgender. In Pakistan infants born under such circumstances are

abandoned by their parents and left to survive on their own; often handed over to other

transgenders of the community, who themselves are living in poverty and feat. They are not

accepted by even their parents and are cast away to roam around on the streets begging for food

and water for all their life. What must go through a child’s mind when they realise that their

parents chose comfort under the curtain of ignorance over the life of their innocent child. Only

19 % transgender population gets to live with their families (“The Transgender Community in

Pakistan: Issues in Access to Public Services” 6).

On the other hand, the transgender community raises these children like their own and

teach them ways that they have been taught, despite not knowing any love other than that present

in their communities. This is the only type of parenting a transgender child may receive if they

are lucky enough not to be killed by the parents at birth. Unfortunately, being brought up in this

special community, the child does not learn much other than the ways of the transgenders. The

only way that they can survive in this society is dancing and panhandling.

Transgender people are violently treated and routinely harassed. It is the male supremacy

inculcated in the minds of every child and adult that makes men think that it is okay to violate

and abuse females and transgenders. Parents do not make an effort to talk to their children about

transgenders. They do not care enough to teach their children to treat everyone with kindness and

respect regardless of their gender. What a child grasps from their parent’s conduct is what he or
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she takes on as a source of guidance. On the streets parents show fear of transgenders

accompanied with prayers, thanking God for not giving them a transgender child. A child hence

grows up with negative feelings, judgments and fear for transgenders. Why does our society fail

to help them and care for them? Is it because parents consider such a topic taboo? Our parents

refuse to even talk about transgenders. Parents are not seen showing extra care towards them.

Therefore, the transgenders don’t even receive the love of their parents making them think they

are not even worthy of anything good. Not even a harmless smile. This is how transgenders in

the society turn to begging for food. The hypocrisy of parents can be so clearly seen at weddings

when they invite the transgenders at their house for dances. This proves how parents are the

cause of the horrible treatment of the transgenders in our society. However, some educated

parents do keep their transgender child. But those are few in numbers, and even they fail to

provide the best environment for their children under the society’s pressure and discrimination.

Pakistani parenting is highly punitive, and parents are often dismissive. Parents refuse to

listen to explanations which is why there is a conversational gap between a Pakistani child and

his or her parent. It is observed when a child is constantly punished, the next time they do

something wrong they are unable to muster enough courage to tell their parents what they did. At

this point, the fear of the consequences is more powerful than the need for help. The child,

therefore, cannot improve, this child loses his judgment of right and wrong. If children are

unable to communicate with their parents, for example, battles with sexual orientation, incidents

of assault, and such topics that are viewed as taboo, there is a problem in the method of

parenting. The parents are at fault when the children cannot be comfortable around them. Why is

rape so common in Pakistan yet talking about it in houses is so uncommon? The fact is that so

many evil acts in society go unquestioned, simply because the victim is too scared of facing the
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reactions of people.” Pakistan is among those countries where 70% women and girls experience

physical or sexual violence in their lifetime by their intimate partners and 93% women

experience some form of sexual violence in public places in their lifetime”(Kazi). A child, who

never gets to have a conversation with their parents about subjects such as molestation will never

find the courage to admit suffering from it at any stage in life.

For many Pakistani parents, academic excellence is most important and above

everything. It is not for the gain of knowledge but the pride and fulfilment of the parent’s

expectations. Why is it that despite so much talent in this country, it is unable to produce too

many people who excel in creativity. We do not produce scientists who discover new

phenomena, or engineers who invent new machines, or philosophers who change the way people

think. The reason is that parents make children believe that the goal of education is to settle well

into life and earn as much as they can. As a result, our society emphasizes on becoming doctors,

engineers and businessmen. They make children believe that ultimate happiness lies in being

someone who earns a significant amount of money. Children are forced into choosing careers

that they are not passionate about. This is why our society lacks artists, philosophers, and

thinkers. It lacks people who can ponder over the progression of our society, and steer it in the

right direction.” Parents have always desired their children to follow their footsteps in selecting a

career. Most of the historical research findings show that the level of children’s education and

occupation are influenced by the parents’ level of education and occupation “(Noreen and

Khalid, 2012).

Such parents may not provide enough social freedom to their children and often impose

excessive restrictions. Such conditions inevitably lead to stress-induced mental disorders such as

anxiety and depression. When a child seeks help from their parents, the reaction is hostile and
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often blames the child for not being focused in life, and being weak-minded. Professional

therapy is viewed as an embarrassment, and the child is made to feel guilty for bringing trouble

to the family’s peace. In some cases, the mothers understand their child’s problem and want to

help them, but are helpless against the word of the father, the established ‘Head of the Family’.

Hence often the child is left untreated.

Perhaps the greatest problem with parenting system is because of the mindset most

parents possess. This mindset makes parents instil in their children the idea of the world as a

selfish place. Children grow up constantly hearing about how they need to be safe, and how they

must first think about their interests. This halts the development of sympathetic characters in

society. Moreover, it causes the loss of patriotism over generations. What eventually happens is

that most of the public would choose personal gain over national interests, and would not think

for a second before they chose to compromise on their morals.

When parents refuse to listen to what the child has to say, and instead attempt to make

them accept decisions out of fear, the child does not learn to think critically. It is very

unfortunate, but also true that the Pakistani public is not used thinking critically in most aspects

of life. It is easy to deduce this by arguing with people in different settings. People do not

understand that it is important to have a logical reason for every action. Just like parenting,

situations in the practical world also depend on a hierarchy of authority. People working at a

company are not encouraged to question their bosses. Maids working at houses strictly follow
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their employer’s orders. Police officers cannot question who they are asked to protect. A traffic

warden will never question why he is asked to halt the entire road to let one person pass through.

The lack of questioning has caused a lot of harm at every level in society. In fact, critical

thinking is one of the greatest factors required for a society to progress. In order to refine a

decision, it must be questioned and criticized. And this habit will only be instilled when parents

teach their children to ask questions. Parents should put in the effort to reason to their children,

and not prove things by intimidation.

Although it can still be argued that children are affected differently by each parenting

style. It also depends on the way the child perceives certain acts. Hence not all blame can be

granted to the parents. A survey was carried out by the University of Management and

Technology to see how Pakistani children perceived their parents parenting methods. According

to the surveyors. There are certain limitations on the amount the research can be carried out. The

survey was only being carried out amongst the illiterate children in the urban areas. As the

authors explain “Though the current research has many new and interesting findings which

highlights the culture-specific manifestation of parenting styles and focused on child’s own

perception; yet, there are few limitations of the research” (Saleem). Furthermore, the crimes that

are largely being carried out example such as corruption are being carried out by adults. There

may be some cases when parenting was done right, but still, a child grew up to be rebellious and

arrogant. Here factors like society also work in play. Some parents may be very comfortable with

their children, yet a child could still be shy about sharing something they have done wrong just

because of their embarrassment or other issues. However, being a caring parent and involving

children in discussions have proven to be most advantageous for the children and highly show

positive feedback from a majority of children, who develop into successful and law-abiding
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citizens. Often studies have categorized such parents to be authoritative, who take responsibility

for this important task in raising a child properly.

Responsible parenting is vital to a child and in turn the society. Parents show an

inclination towards treating males differently than other genders. Its effect leads to aggravated

violence towards whole genders in society. The strict parenting and bounds on a child lead to a

disturbed mind that causes aggressive behaviour and results in the child being introverted. A

child that hesitates to think beyond what is taught to them by their parents will never be able to

develop innovative thinking which results in lack of progression of society. The problem in this

argument lies in the fact that society and parents are not entirely separate entities. If children are

affected negatively by society, it is because there are people in society who were not brought up

correctly, and that the parents were not able to prevent their child from being influenced. The

major blame, therefore, is on the parents themselves, and not external factors. So it becomes

evident that the influence of parents effects a child most.


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Works Cited

Kazi, Mudaser. “'93% Of Pakistani Women Experience Sexual Violence'.” The Express Tribune, The

Express Tribune, 8 Mar. 2017, tribune.com.pk/story/1348833/93-pakistani-women-experience-

sexual-violence/.

“Key Managerial Issues In Innovation In Public Services.” Handbook of Innovation in Public Services,

pp. 141–141., doi:10.4337/9781849809757.00018.

Mansoor, Shoaib, and Shoaib Mansoor. Bol, Geo Films Eros International Ltd., 24AD.

Noreen G. and Khalid H. (2012), Gender Empowerment through Women’s Higher Education:

Opportunities and Possibilities, Journal of Research and Reflections in Education, 6(1): 50 -60

Riaz, Ibrahim. “Gender Discrimination in Pakistan.” Daily Times, 4 Sept. 2016,

dailytimes.com.pk/59128/gender-discrimination-in-pakistan/.

Saleem, Sadia, et al. “Perceived Parenting Styles in Pakistani Adolescents: A Validation Study.”

Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research,

www.pjprnip.edu.pk/pjpr/index.php/pjpr/article/view/408/428.

“World Report 2017: Rights Trends in Pakistan.” Human Rights Watch, 12 Jan. 2017,

www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/pakistan.