Desi Parenting: Daughter vs DIL

2 May

DG often jokes about the definition of a desi daughter-in-law, an enemy brought home with marching band and fanfare. Other bloggers have blogged about failure of married men to draw a balance between their two prime relationships, female parent and wife. A statement made by a psychologist posted by IHM attracted DG’s attention, “…Your mother loves you unconditionally and will ignore disrespectful behaviour, but a wife has expectations and cannot forgive transgressions…” It strains DG’s grey matter, why a mother will ignore disrespect shown by her child and how and why unconditional love ought to be devoid of respect. Then there are others who keep asking this question why MIL’s and FIL’s don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter and why DILs’ don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents! DG has contemplated and reached this conclusion…

Why MIL and FIL don’t accept the DIL as their own daughter?

Beacause their daughters are not what they are very proud of. Their daughters talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. They pout, give silent treatment to moms and pull out skeletons from the childhood closet. Children are what parents taught them to be. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, same applies to their sons. Parents have trained them and have invested time and emotion in them so they take nonsense from them. Are they ready for that from a new person in their homes? Doubtful. That is the reason they have two sets of rules for daughters and DILs. DILs have to fulfill their fantasy of an ideal daughter they could not make :)

Why DIL’s don’t oversee smaller things as they would with their own parents!

A DIL can tell her parents, “Mom Dad enough is enough I have heard this story million times,” can she say that to her MIL and FIL? DILs are daughters too, as daughters they do the exact things your daughters’ do- talk back to their parents, throw tantrums, engage in emotional blackmail and even make unreasonable demands. Are the parents-in-law ready for a replacement daughter? Again, it is doubtful as they want to retain their right to be the dominant party with right to unconditional reverence from a relatively stranger. Adult children (biological and adopted)  bear the generational dysfunctional parenting because they have grown up with it and do not know how to call it off and they feel they owe it to their parents for changing their dirty diapers. Wish people could keep it simple, “my parents changed my diapers so they are my responsibility, your parents changed your diapers so they are yours to deal with.”

A person cannot be adopted in adulthood (leagally yes but emotionally it is doubtful). Won’t it be more practical to accept one another as fellow adults and behave like one instead of childish passive aggressive mind games if that doesn’t work then violent outburst (throwing things and beating people). Some in-laws begin converting the new DIL into their own kind the minute she steps into their doors and they expect her to follow their dysfunctional instructions like a robot and should only express positive emotions. The statement, “I treat you like my own child/daughter/son” is an eyewash for treating another adult as a child, even if the in-laws are twice the age of a DIL she is still an adult with a mind of her own. Wish people could learn to be adults in relationships.

19 Responses to “Desi Parenting: Daughter vs DIL”

  1. iniyaal May 17, 2013 at p05 #

    Love this post! Makes a lot of sense… It is so artificial when I hear people say they love their daughter-in-law as their own daughter. Every daughter – parent relation is unique and cannot be replicated. Instead, why cant we accept and cherish the DIL – in-law relation as it is is? Why are we trained to always think that a formal relationship is less perfect?


  2. Barkha Dhar July 16, 2011 at p07 #

    Once again an excellent post. A DIL can never be accepted as a duaghter. If that happens, heavens will fall on earth! In addition to the facts stated in your post, I would say many in-laws have double standards, one that just applies to their daughter & the other that is only meant for the poor DIL! For some in-laws, thier daughters can wear any kind of western outfit, but thier DIL should restrict to the Indian attire only(just one another example of the shenanigans!)
    You may like to watch this video
    Barkha Dhar

    For double standards follow these posts


    • desibahu September 6, 2011 at p09 #

      double standardssssssssssssssssssss….say it louder….everything is double standards…..a daughter treated differently from a son, a wife treated differently from other women, a son in law treated like garbage but your own sons have to be dictators in their house, a daughter who treats her husband like a slave but a daughter in law has to be your slave. a special daughter whose in laws are bad is looked as a poor thing, but they treat their own daughter in law worse. a wife who complains of maltreatment from husband or in laws treats her mother in law like crap and husband as nothing and abuses her brothers wife. does anything make sense here? crazy.


  3. intercultured May 13, 2011 at p05 #

    And look how simple would that be if:
    a) people had some good will
    b) marriages were a sole business of a woman and a man without the whole “marrying into the family thing”
    c) women were raised to stand proud and independent instead of leaning towards mercy of the “host family”
    d) everyone would generally avoid drama instead of indulging in it.

    Just an outsider point of view 😉


  4. The Brown Vagabond May 7, 2011 at p05 #

    You hit the nail in the very first sentence.

    I agree with so many commentators above who believe in treating people as what they are. I cannot and will not accept my MIL and FIL as my own parents. They are my MIL and FIL, not my mother and father. I never addressed my MIL as “amma” and so she stopped addressing me by my name. Funny, is’nt it? I would have loved to address her as “aunty”, but it is hard to imagine the drama that would have taken place.

    People who talk of MIL and FIL being their own parents and DIL being the daughter is all drama. Indian families and marriages are so pretentious.

    Some people do genuinely love their daughters-in-law and vise versa and they may choose to address them as ma and pa but it has to be their choice not forced upon. DG admonishes the drama of calling ma and pa and fuming at the same time for all that is said and unsaid…

    DG was 18 when she started addressing her father’s colleagues as Mr. so and so and not uncle or auntie, people were taken aback. One of his colleagues even had a fit and tried to rebuke her she stood her stand and dad was upset for quite some time but she persisted. Her reasoning still stands, she doesn’t know you and she need not establish a relationship with you even if it is fictious. But she addresses all men in her father’s generation at her village as Chacha and Tau like wise all her mother’s contemporaries in maternal village are Mamas; these are the people from her roots and her parents grew up with. 🙂


  5. Formerly Anon May 6, 2011 at p05 #

    Just chanced upon this:
    Old-age pension for parents having daughters
    Jayalalitha’s Cradle Baby Scheme is another experiment that is considered a success.


  6. desibahu May 5, 2011 at p05 #

    they go around saying, “our daughters are not ours, they go away after marriage, but these (dils) are the real daughters”


  7. Smitha May 4, 2011 at p05 #

    You are absolutely spot-on, DG. If only everybody understood this, and treated DILs with respect(as an adult) rather than trying to ‘mother’ her or ‘adopt’ her to suit their purposes..


  8. Anon May 4, 2011 at p05 #

    Hi DG – Have been reading for your blog for quite some time now. Am not sure if its a right forum to take up what I am about to now, but I feel distressed and it feels like I just have to do it.

    I got married almost 2 years ago. Ours was initially an arranged marriage but my parents called the wedding off when they felt that my husband’s family is expecting Dowry. And as is expected I was foolish thinking that I am in love with my husband and so is he so I talked my parents into
    getting married to him.
    Before marriage, my husband used to call me up almost every waking hour and was very caring. So were my would be in-laws.
    But the day after i got married, my husband’s attitude changed 360 degrees. He absolutely stopped calling me when we were at our respective offices, he was never interested in talking to me when we used to back at home. We never used to go out alone but with entire family and even then my husband would never walk with me. He never made me meet any of his friends and would keep his phone away from me and would not let me touch it. We were never too intimate. He would get new clothes for himself and stack them in his cupboard without letting me know. If confronted, he would say that they are old clothes.
    I started noticing this strange behavior and checked his mobile couple of times. Most of the times, all his call logs and message logs would be deleted. But almost few months into my marriage I saw a few messages from a female which were sent around 11 at night and were some forwards about lost love and such stuff. On confronting he said that what can he do if people fwd messages and that he is totally committed to me.
    And i spent almost year and half like this but never really believing him. Last year around September, I caught hold of his mobile logs where he had sent almost 20 – 50 messages to the same female whose messages i had seen earlier in the cell. He would start messaging her as soon as he would leave home and it would continue till it used to be time for me to reach. And there would be no messages exchanged on weekends when I used to be at home. And all this had been going on for almost 2 months till I blasted the lid. He had also saved that female’s no as a guy’s name in his cell. When confronted he said that he had only been taking friendly advise from that female as to how to work his relationship out with me as that female is herself married now.
    After that incident, my husband’s attitude has changed a lot. He is a lot more caring now and does not try to hide his phone and trying to do everything for me.
    Most of the days I am over this incident, but deep down am not able to take this thought out of my mind that I had been cheated on. He insists that I only see negative and am not looking at all the positive things he is doing for me. I am in a fix where I do not know if I should forget eveything and move on and if I am justified in feeling hurt even though this incident is more than 6 months old. Please help!

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    If you have been reading GGTS then you know “this is the place” to discuss relationships.

    Apart from the arranged part it felt as if DG was reading her own life story. Even she thought she was in love, if it is hurting then it is not love. 🙂 Guess, rush of hormones is confused as love.
    You have been married for 2 years he has been acting up from the beginning and now from last six months he is behaving. The question is, is he really? After lack of intimacy, trust and misbehavior if a person brings flowers even once it seems like great positive change. Even if they are genuinely trying the seeds of deep seated distrust they sowed germinate every now and then.

    …he had only been taking friendly advise from that female as to how to work his relationship out with me as that female is herself married now….

    Every other Desi is a counselor or a therapist and we went to school for nothing 😦 . Friends with their own messes to clean are giving advice to others, it is like a blind person leading the other blind person…

    The initial days for marriage need lot of time together to build happy memories so that in hard times one can look back and strive for them. When we have nothing good in the past we cannot imagine what we are striving for in future. Poor desi men in early marriage have to spend time in convincing their natal families that newly found license to have sex is not going to make them indifferent or neglect mommy and daddy. 🙂

    Here the issue is lack of intimacy (intimacy is not sex it is more than that) and trust, that was not there to begin with or what ever little it was left too early. Please seek professional help. You both are working so you can pinch some pennies if you think you want to make this marriage work.

    Both partners have to work to make a marriage live, one wanting it and other indifferent does not make a marriage. To make your marriage a priority follow the links and see if you can agree on not some but all things mentioned.

    For more join DG on gmail/gchat.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


    • anon May 6, 2011 at p05 #

      Hi DG – Thanks for taking time out to read and advice. Its much appreciated. I have taken the first step and seeked a counsellor’s help. Although my husband does not believe in this and would not accompany me but to me my well being is most important right now. From now on I will only strive to become what I was earlier..fill find out the self that I have lost as they say “No one’s but my own happiness is in my power to achieve or to destory”. A heartfelt gratitue towards you for maintaining this forum where people like me can share their issues without feeling that they will be misguided. Much obliged. God Bless!


      That is a great news that you are taking back your life.
      Your life and happiness is your business rain or shine. 🙂

      Few things to remember when seeking professional help:
      DG has seen people going to marriage therapists or counselors otherwise for years and still dealing with the same issues.
      1. Ask the counselor what is she offering? Just talk therapy or identification of personality traits and skill building. Counseling is not venting emotions that we cannot share with anyone else, it is more than that. It is an opportunity to see behavior patterns over life time and correct them.

      2. Do your home work- what you want from each session and whole process- 12 weeks 36 weeks or what ever.

      3. Set some goals- follow up your progress and address problem areas.

      4. You are paying for the services so you should get most of it. You are not paying for venting sessions, you need help with example learning new problem solving skills or trust building techniques etc.

      DG tells everyone, if your partner refuses couple’s counseling then go on your own. Please keep DG and readers informed about your progress. Here is some information on how Couple’s Counseling works, may be you can make a print and share with him.

      GGTS is a safe space, keep coming back because it works, work it because you are worth it.
      Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
      Desi Girl


  9. seashell May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    Well said, DG!My inlaws are very dominating and controlling.While they have not used the “you are our daughter” card with me yet they do expect me to not talk back to them, to obey them and feel/behave the way they want me to.It is a living nightmare for me when they visit us or we visit them.I agree that it would be easier if they just treated me as an adult but no point explaining that to them because they don’t know what that means.According to them they are much more liberal and grant me more freedom than other Indian parents-in-law and somehow I should be grateful to them for that.Who are they in the first place to grant me freedom?I was born free…

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Yes, you were born free just remember that always.
    Work on your relationship with your spouse than wasting time on the Godforsaken in-laws. If your primary relationship is strong then rest can be taken care of. Try these posts

    Stay strong.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


  10. sexandtheindiancities May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    if only my in laws had a piece of me the way my parents have / had . one set of parents are enough to deal with , we don’t need another set.

    Accepting others as an adult with a mind of its own and a way of life of its own will solve many problems . New generation won’t force the older one to change their ways to fit into their modern world and older generation won’t try to convert DIL to one of the family .

    lovely post DG

    DG had two sets of parents (one set exclusively for only listening to) and an additional dad in the form of that Godforsaken now ex. 🙂


  11. fakeindianbbahu May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    Very Well Written !!!

    Thank you. Long time no see 🙂


  12. perpetualquandary May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    this was brilliant DG!

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


  13. R's Mom May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    Wow..thats so well written…Totally agree to you DG 🙂
    DILs can never become daughters whatever, anyone says..and I think the idea of just treating the other person as a adult and with respect will bring a lot more to a relationship than saying that ‘you are now my daughter’

    @R’s mom,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    It is hard work to be an adult in a relationship and it is easy to patronize the other person and shove your madness in their throat in the name of “you are now my daughter.”

    Please share this message of hopw with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


  14. shail May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    You are spot on. I have always questioned the fact why I am not allowed to talk to my MIL the same way as to my mother when everyone insists that I am ‘like’ a daughter. A DIL takes so much more from the MIL than she ever does from her mother.

    Of course it would be so much easier to just treat each other as adults and let a relationship develop mutually or not as the case maybe.

    Next time if someone says you are like a daughter tell them do they want to hear you yell, scream and pout all at the same time like a daughter 🙂

    You are right person may take more from MIL, DG left home at 19 and never went back more than few weeks where as her SIL spends more time with DG’s mom. Mom did more for SIL and when I asked her why she was like you are a one man army you don’t need help you need time table, she needed lot of support as she has not been a fauji.


  15. The Wild Child May 3, 2011 at p05 #

    Very well written! This whole you’re-our-daughter-now-so-you’ll-do-as-we-say-but-don’t-you-dare-talk-back-to-us-like-you-do-with-your-parents really used to get my goat.


  16. Pixie May 2, 2011 at p05 #

    Loved it!
    yea – we need to be adults in a relationship!!
    very beautifully written!
    Agree with what you say completely!

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


  17. Tbg Dgc May 2, 2011 at p05 #

    Oh My God!! It’s so beautifully written & amp; expressed. Children are indeed, what parents make them.

    How’ D? Long time no see on GGTS.

    Yeah parenting is a tough job. Some parents do create “mini me s.” DG was teasing her dad, her bête noire is becoming her own parent. Guess they did a pretty decent job with DG 🙂


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