A Letter To Parents Of Daughters…

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As a professional speaker and coach, I meet numerous leaders regularly. One bunch of them happens to be women. In one such engagement, I was addressing the women leaders of a large multinational company. Through the course of my speech, I realised these women drew strength from their family and immediate support system. At the same time, it’s the same family that made them weak to pursue their dreams freely and fearlessly.

On the other hand, being a daughter myself and having seen many daughters being raised in my extended families, I see the same trait present in there too. It’s the family that makes or breaks a woman’s dreams and confidence in most cases. That’s because a woman can fight with the outside world fiercely, but when her inner world comes to bite her, she has nowhere to go.  

The difference between a family that provides strength and a family that makes their girls weak is simply one word, “Pseudo-liberalism.” That’s why I thought of writing this letter. I am addressing this letter primarily to the parents of daughters, who want their daughter to excel in their professional spaces, but somehow lose the plot along the way.

I know this letter may ruffle a lot of feathers and hit people straight in their heart, but I believe someone needed to do this. And because I am a speaker who believes in Setback Leadership, I take full ownership of writing this. Here it goes.  

Dear Parents’ of Daughters, 

Do you know the meaning of pseudo-liberalism?

This word is used to define the practice of claiming to support liberal ideologies of equality, individual rights and freedom, but in reality, not supporting it from the heart and creating unrealistic standards for others so that they can’t get equal anyway.

Here is what makes you a pseudo-liberal in context to how you raise your daughters, what you expect from them and how you treat them. Read on. 

  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you say you treat your daughter, daughter-in-law, son, and sons-in-law equally, but still feel daughters and daughter-in-law’s need to be protected. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you feel your daughter and daughter-in-law must know every type of work, home or outside, but it’s alright for son and son-in-law not to contribute, because “He doesn’t know how to do it!”.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you teach your daughter that her career and dreams are utmost important, but when the time comes, you expect her to choose family over her professional goals. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you teach your daughter to have their voice, but when she raises that same voice to protest your partialities, you feel she is arrogant. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you want your daughter to be happy, but in your way, not in their way!
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you let your daughter choose offbeat subjects to study but get offended when she wants an unusual career. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you believe that your daughter is equal to your son, but she still needs permission from you to take important decisions in her life. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you expect your daughter to be superhuman who must take care of the home, family, kids and work impeccably well, also, behave like a “good girl” all at the same time. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you say you treat your daughter and daughter-in-law, equally, but still, daughter-in-law becomes the ‘IZZAT’ of the family and she is not allowed to do many things that the daughter are allowed to do. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you say that your daughter and son-in-law must be treated equally, but when your daughter asks your son-in-law to participate in household chores, you feel “she is ordering around”. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you want your daughter to pursue her dreams, but only after she is ‘satisfactorily’ taken care of the house and family.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you teach your daughter to respect her work, but only until that earns a considerable sum of money. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you say that every work is respectful but look down upon your daughter’s work because it earns a meagre amount compared to others. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you feel daughters must behave politely, but it’s ok for son and sons-in-law to raise their voice occasionally. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you think your daughter’s work is more important when she works for an organisation, but her work is less important when she is self-employed. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when your son’s late nights are ok, but your daughter’s late nights are not ok.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you feel it’s ok to criticise your daughter for every small or big mistake she makes, but never feel the need to praise her for things that she does well.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you want your daughter to be carefree and happy, but you feel it’s inappropriate to laugh out loud for girls. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you feel it’s your birthright to interfere in your daughter and daughter-in-law’s professional and personal life, but you trust your son and son-in-law’s life and work choices. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you trust your son and son-in-law with closed eyes but question every move of your daughter and daughter-in-law. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you expect your daughter to respect you simply because you are her parents, but you don’t respect her as an individual. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you educate your daughter but don’t want her to have a thriving professional life, because that will hamper her family duties. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you feel your daughter’s physical or mental health issues are trivial things to worry about, all you care is if she performs her daughterly duties perfectly.  
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you remember the mistakes of your daughter for years but forget her good deeds in the next moment. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you praise other’s kids becoming self-employed but criticise your daughter for becoming self-employed. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you expect your daughter to continue with her career post marriage but expect your daughter-in-law to call it quits once she is married. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you expect your son-in-law to stand up for your daughter but hate it when your son stands up for your daughter-in-law.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you believe your daughter knows everything perfectly, but your daughter-in-law is useless. 
  • Know that you are pseudo-liberal when you expect your daughter-in-law to choose you over her husband but want your daughter to choose her husband over her in-laws. 
  • Know that you are pseudo-liberal when it’s ok for your daughter to criticise her in-laws but when your daughter-in-law criticises you that’s a crime. 
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal when you deny all the statements above, saying “I am not like that” or “I am doing this for her good”. It’s the biggest lie you are telling yourself.
  • Know that you are a pseudo-liberal if you give wings to your daughter but won’t let her fly fearlessly.

An Earnest Request:

Here is an earnest request, STOP raising strong, opinionated, and independent daughters if you can’t handle them yourself as parents. Or, if you expect to tame them down to conform to the status quo. You are harming them more this way! 

I can go on and on, but I will stop here and would love to crowdsource ideas from everyone.

What do you think makes patents of daughters is ‘pseudo-liberal? Share your thoughts in the comments, and I will compile them all in this post with your name.

Let’s raise our voice and make it heard.   

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Author | Professional Speaker

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