Raising Children In Pakistan Today

Reflecting Society Values

childrenChildren are the greatest assets of every human society and the future of a nation. Other than sharing the universal principle of love and care for children, every society has its peculiar set of circumstances and values to raise and teach their children. This depends largely on their culture, traditions, religion, social values and a score of other considerations. Pakistani society is no different.

Ours is a nation of 220 million people and has a very diverse cultural heritage. With an over 98% Muslim population (converted from Hinduism centuries ago), Pakistan has cultural borrowings from a variety of sources and some with strong religious influence. The society is held tight with strong family bonding and social affiliations. Divorce and single parenting are phenomenons here.  Male children are generally preferred over female, although this is not true among the more educated members of the society. The literacy rate is not very high and social rights awareness and implementation are poor. All of this forms part of the cultural backdrop in which a Pakistani child is raised and taught.

The Basics Of Raising Children

While not all-encompassing, the following are some of the ways that the socio-cultural and religious heritages of Pakistan influence how we raise our children:

  • Typical of an Asian society, most children are raised in a family setting where the teaching of basic social values is everybody’s business including grandparents to aunts and uncles.
  • Basic social values are considered most important in pre-school years. These would include paying respect to elders and practicing religious rituals.
  • children
    The future of the nation

    Schooling usually starts at the age of 5 years or later depending on the social class in which the child was born.  Seventy percent of children are born to rural families and so educational facilities are at best just above unsatisfactory.

  • A majority of children belong to the underprivileged class of this society among whom malnutrition, poor access to civic facilities and quality education are rampant. These children have to fight against all odds to reach a point of recognition in life.
  • A typical household will have over four or more children. In these circumstances each child has to compete for limited resources from his/her parents. A male child would be generally more privileged in such an environment.
  • Fathers hold a position of prominence and dominance in most households while mothers are emotional anchors for the children.  Mothers are always the bridge between a child and his/her NOT SO ACCESSIBLE father.
  • A Pakistani child does not suffer from social or behavioral attention deficiency disorders due to strong family bonding and strict parental control.
  • Sexual exploitation is not as common due to strong social monitoring and observation.
  • Teenage pregnancies are almost non-existent due to social restrictions on intermingling of the opposite sexes.
  • Physical handling is not considered inappropriate. It may be for the fear of a beating or rough handling that it is unusual to see a public display of misbehavior by a child.
  • An urban child would get better chances in life and education as compared to a rural child (though success stories are not uncommon for talented rural children) as the educational facilities and socio-economic factors would place him/her in better position.

childrenSuffering of Less Privileged Children

  • Owing to poverty and economic deprivation, many children are unable to attend or continue school. They end up working as low or no paid labourers in auto workshops and in the cottage industry. Most rural children, except for the few lucky ones, work alongside their parents .
  • Early marriages (though prohibited by law) are still happening, however, increased negative media coverage is resulting in the reduction of these marriages.
  • Malnutrition is common and there is no concept of balanced diet.
  • Sports and recreational facilities are few and far between. This will result in a NOT SO HEALTHY future for Pakistan.
  • Due to the strict social order and the parental preference of unquestioned obedience (a symbol of a ‘PROPER’ Pakistani child) the flight of imagination, creative thought process and power to reason is somewhat affected in our children.
  • With the recent surge of violence and terrorist activity against Pakistani children (eg., on December 16, 2014, over 400 Pakistani school children were killed by Taliban terrorists in a school attack), our children are suffering huge emotional loss en masse.

The Last Word

Pakistan’s children are raised and taught in an environment of mixed blessing. At one end, he or she do not have the ‘fun’ that their equals enjoy in western societies. On the other hand, he or she does not have to face some of the emotional traumas that a western child might have to cope with such as broken homes or single parenting. Wherever in the world children are raised, what is true is that nobody gets a perfect deal.


Contributor
Neelma Tashfeen

Neelma Tashfeen was born and raised in Pakistan and is our main Contributor from that region of our world. She brings a different flavour to the banquet here and writes on many areas of women empowerment and societal issues in Pakistan. Neelma has shared with readers stories of the lives of women in her country. “A Peek Into The Daily Lives of 3 Pakistani Women” was Neelma’s first article here. She was one of the Contributors to our series on prostitution with her articles: “Prostitution in Pakistan: The Stories” and “Pakistan Taboo: Palace or Prison?” She can be contacted at tashfeenneelma@gmail.com

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43 thoughts on “Raising Children In Pakistan Today

  1. I only have a son, but I am so thankful for the fact that girls are encouraged to further their education, and that children are *generally* born into an easier way of life here!

    1. Ms Claudette

      We all have to give thanks for how we are blessed – it might look different from someone else’ but it is what we know. Namaste. 🙂

  2. This is interesting. I actually didn’t know a lot of this.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Well, thank you for checking it out. 🙂

  3. I have Pakistani friends here in Dubai. They each have their own story to tell. Although none of them ever had a life that is frightful, abusive, nor sad, but the others are just not as lucky.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are correct, everyone’s experience is different so we have to listen with an open heart. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing this story.. I’ve watched the documentary about the Pakistan, pretty sad

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are most welcome!

  5. Eileen xo

    This is the environment they are born into and I guess the have all known nothing else. I long for eace through the world

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, that is there way of life. 🙂

  6. It really sounds scary, but I think when you’re used to this way of living, then it’s really alright.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You have hit the nail on the head – when you grow up a certain way and are happy with your way of life, who is to say it is wrong? Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  7. While nobody gets a perfect deal, I still thank my lucky stars that I live in freedom where girls are educated, children are fearful of being beaten, and religion does not reign supreme.

    1. Oops that should be — children AREN’T fearful of being beaten.

    2. Ms Claudette

      Yes, we all give thanks for the liberties that we enjoy where we live. That however does not mean that people elsewhere do not enjoy their daily lives albeit different from ours. Furthermore, if truth be told – not all girls are educated, not every child goes unbeaten and not everywhere ideology be it liberal or conservative does not greatly influence daily living. To each his own and we all on all sides must learn to respect that.

  8. This is really interesting. I like learning about how others live and differ from our culture. It sounds like they are very close families which is definitely a positive!

    1. Ms Claudette

      It is indeed a positive. Thank you for highlighting that Shaylee and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  9. I guess it’s all relative. What seems unfathomable to us is just the norm in other parts of the world.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Exactly – and they or we have no place casting judgement or demanding that either side live by the other’s ideals. Namaste. 🙂

  10. I love this! I love that, although some would see this kind of treatment as abusive; you point out that it’s not really all that bad. There is a good side to this type of parenting.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I agree with you that is is important for us to see other sides of parenting. Actually, it is good to see other sides of life and not just assume it is good or bad or any other labels. Thank you so much for your visit! 🙂

  11. Elizabeth O.

    How interesting. It’s always nice to learn about other cultures, especially how they raise their children. Raising a family doesn’t depend on the culture, but our culture has a huge influence. I think as we go along it would be nice to accept change but then again, you can’t simple change how parents raise their kids.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am not sure that I fully understand the point you are making and yes, while you do not have to accept all cultural norms but as you said, they do influence and heavily so. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  12. the ones that most often get hurt in struggles like this are the children and the poor both populations that do not really have the ability to do anything about it

    1. Ms Claudette

      And seniors as well Angie! I so agree with you and it happens everywhere in our world. 🙁

  13. I learned a lot from this. Seems like a tough place for kids.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It seems to have some serious challenges, however, where doesn’t? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Tara! 🙂

  14. I think raising children anywhere int he world today is a difficult and scary task!

    1. Ms Claudette

      I would have to agree with you there Heidi! 🙁

  15. it is a scary world to raise children it regardless of where you live. i really hope that people there, especially women, can find a way out

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are so right – everywhere there is something that is not necessarily suitable for the raising of our future generation. 🙁

  16. This is very interesting and informative. I think we tend to forget there are people in other lands and other cultures that are different from ours in the west. But the bottom line is this: people are people are people.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I wish that I could high five you for that Tina! Until we stop seeing each other as inferior or less than for whatever reason, we will be in conflict. On this blog, we share diverse few – with one bottom line, Love. Thanks for stopping by.

  17. mickyspage

    Very enlightening

    1. Ms Claudette

      Indeed. 🙂

  18. neelma

    with reference to robin remarks i would like to post a little explanation being the author.
    i am a Pakistani born and raised woman and i find myself privileged in many ways as compared to my gender fellows all over the world (just being a Pakistani woman). the point which im trying to make here is that “no body gets a prefect deal” and when we judge another society by the yardsticks of another society then we are bound to fall short of true picture and understanding of real issues. happy reading

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thanks for adding that Neelma! 🙂

  19. dltolley

    My thoughts and prayers are always with the children.

    1. Ms Claudette

      It has to be, right Diane? 🙂

  20. The education system in Pakistan is diabolical, when is everyone going to wake and up smell the coffee and realize that education is free for all?! We need to stop making it about class and give our children the best start to life that they can.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Diabolical is not the word that I would use – not for the system in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world. There are many children in North America – as an example and because I am a citizen of this region – that do not have access to education due to poverty. I try to refrain from slapping such labels on other people’s ways because as we look at our own ways we find equal “evils.” Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  21. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I would be scared to have kids if I lived there. It must be so tough.

    1. Ms Claudette

      We adjust to our circumstance/situation I guess and if you were born there then you would just go with it, no? But yes, coming from the west, we would have major challenges fitting in. 🙁

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