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The Trouble with Russian Parents

Obviously, I am switching from being a travel blogger into a life blogger. In this post, I want to discuss the child- parent relationship. Indeed, a tough topic. On the other hand, I am not making a history as the generation problem has always been there.

Parents do love their children, and I won’t argue against that. Yet, the form of love can be culture specific. Moreover, it may have a pathological side.

So what motivated me to make this post? My father follows me on Instagram, and he saw a part of my writing about mid-age crisis and moving to Australia. He immediately started shaming me for (the possibility of!!!) moving further. My parents hardly see me now, when I live in Finland. Moving to another continent will make everything more complicated. And further guild-inducing stuff has continued.

Of course, many parents are not happy with their children being far away. Yet, I want to clarify particular cultural issues. Very often (not always luckily) Soviet parents perceive the child as their property, not an independent individual with own desires, goals, dreams. Surprisingly, it is applicable to any age group of their children. Parents usually have the whole life scenario scripted for their children, and are very controlling to assure everything goes as planned. Here are some examples:

1. Live close to them or… even with them. It doesn’t matter if you are not happy in that place. Here, I’ll give my own example. My parents were quite negative of me moving to Finland. It got worse when I went to Portugal for the exchange studies. I remember how much I had to defeat my stay in Portugal. I was explaining that I was happy there at that point. My mother’s reply was that I needed to return to Finland and even better back to Russia. Then, I explained that it will make me extremely miserable. Her answer to that: “Yes, life is hard. It’s not about joy”.

2. Mute own desires and wishes. We dream of a particular place to live, job to work on, particular partner to date. If your type is different from the type your parents have decided, you are wrong. Parents always know better. Another interesting thing here is that some parents boast to their friends about their child’s achievement, e.g. studying in the best university, working as a lawyer. This is a way to receive appreciation from nearby people.

3. Be under control. The form of it varies. Usually, it implies different degrees of manipulation, guild inducing, etc. Some parents take it way too far, ruining the self-esteem of their children.

How can it be explained? In the Soviet Union, the public opinion was crucial. Every family needed to raise an obedient Soviet citizen, who will never criticise the authorities, who will never question the direction of those authorities. If a family failed to ‘produce’ such a type, they were considered as bad parents. Yes, it was long ago, but it is still strong in the society. It is still difficult to relax and let children be happy. Actually, happiness is considered as something mythical and even shameful. Older generation had a lot of limitations, and why should you have a different life? How dare you?

The dangerous thing is that it happens on the subconscious level. Many parents don’t realise that they choke the future of their children even if their motives are positive. As an educator, I encourage self-consciousness and self-education. Luckily, a variety of literature and videos on psychology is available these days in libraries and online.