Friday, May 27, 2005

Family Life

About families for San Diegan
I have written about family life off and on since the beginning of this blog. Family life in Iran can be summed up simply: heaven for children, hell for teenagers and young adults, resignation for the middle-aged… Old? Depends.

Children in Iran live in a particular children's heaven: they get sweets before dinner and are not put to be early when guests arrive. They are always part of the conversation. Cousins and friends are often underfoot.

In many Iranian families, the age differences are smoother than in American families (I am sure this is changing as families get smaller). Uncles and nephews hang out like friends. Sometimes I am a bit shocked at the bossiness of children here. But, what can I say?

A friend who grew up in England but lives here now and has a young son in school here tells us that at school Iranian girls are really disciplined, but the boys are totally out of control. Boys are allowed to do everything and that respect for elders is broken at the schools. That may be why the majority of university students are girls.

Iranians complain that the revolution has weakened their family bonds. "Brother cannot trust brother," Iranians tell you.

K's interpretation is a little different: "The revolution made people retreat into their homes where they got on each other's backs too much. They have nothing to do now except butt into each others' lives."


Ali said...

You have no idea how homesick I get when you remind me of the stuff going on there. I've left Tehran about two years ago and every single day I check it's live camreas and read all local newspapers.
It's extremely fascinating to view my city and country through your eyes. You show me things I would never see had I lived another 26 years in Iran.
BTW, I though you might be interested to see this to decide where else you have to see:

Diana said...

"heaven for children..." this reminds me uncannily of something a Sephardic-Israeli told me about Israel.

Your description of the difference between Iranian boys and girls reminded me of what I saw in Russia. The boys were nasty little hellions and the girls, from age 7 on, were miniature Mother Courages.

Anonymous said...

Kids in Iran are showered with attention and are by and large spoiled. That is even more true about the newer generation. No wonder they learn very quickly how to get their parents sucked in by fake cries and other kiddy tactics. It is a manipulative system that the parents allow to exist and kids learn to take advantage of. And that's bad for the kids too.

They are raised under this umbrella erected by their parents and that's why they find it too hard to walk on their own feet and live without this umbrella (I am not talking about financial hardships here).

But that the grip of parents' noose gets tigher as the children grow older and that's why you may see parents still want to determine how a 30 year old "kid" should get married!

In North America it is the other way around. Kids are brought up very disciplined down to their eating and sleeping hours. But as they grow up, they find their parents breathing less and less down their necks and when they are teenagres, they are free to do just about anything.

It is just the opposite of the spectrum.


Rosebuds said...

please more stories about women in Iran...I remember one about how they look/act inside the house compared to the way they walk/talk outside...more about this...also more "taxi" stories those are the best!

thank you for your continued enlightenment!

SanDiegan said...

thanks! it makes me wonder if parents long for girls because they're better behaved, or if they've been much stricter on the girls so that they become better behaved. and if so, it's interesting, from other posts you've made, that the women rebel against the required dress. I guess maybe when they're older they feel free to rebel??

sorry I didn't look through the archives before I asked my question.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeegar,your might want to Add a google search to your blog!

ET said...

Itchy, sometimes I think the government is just an extension of the over-protective parent. Iranian parents do not want their children to date and neither does the government. Iranian parents do not want their children to leave the house and neither does the government. I know this is not exactly true. But it sometimes feels this way.

Diana, I saw the same phenomena when I worked at a museum in NY. When Orthodox Jewish boys' schools came to visit, there was absolutely no controlling them. The girls were the opposite.

PArents are complicit in the bad behavior of boys. That said, most young boys are absolutely adorable here. They can be really wonderful and caring. I know they are spoiled, but they can be so adorable.