How Culture Affects Parenting and Family: “A Thousand Splendid Suns”

1156 words | 4 page(s)

From my experience with my family, I believe that a good family should comprise of both parents who adequately provide for their children and love them unconditionally. In stating providing, I mean both financially and emotionally. Children find themselves being needy of emotional attention in most cases and, therefore, require a supportive parent around. Culture seems to have had a determining role in all the families and it affects how the various individuals within the families react and interact. Both parents seem to be affected by culture and this affects how good or bad fathers they turn out to be. However, while culture has its effects on the various parents, the individual parent’s experiences over time seem to have a bigger role in moulding them into the parents they turn out to be indefinitely. Some pass through various extremes of problems and ultimately turn out as good parents while others on experiencing the problems, it affects their parenting negatively. Nana and Leila are both good mothers and Miriam also learns to be a good mother later in her life. Fathers should be protective and always provide for their children.

In my opinion, Jalil’s home is a good home. This is due to the fact that Jalil seems to adequately provide as a father and seems to always be there for his children emotionally. He takes them to the movies and ensures they get education. Culture seems to have an effect on family and to some extent contribute to how Jalil treated his family. According to their culture, the man seems to be expected to provide for his family and seems Jalil lived up to this. However, it seems that it also has a negative effect due to the fact that despite Jalil providing for Miriam and her mother, he does not want to be seen with them or affiliated to them as it may have a negative effect on his legitimate family. Therefore, culture seems to have a negative effect also on the family as it prevents them from being together, despite Jalil seeming like a good father. While Nana’s home might not be the ideal in terms of emotional care for children, it still is a good home due to the fact that both the mother and the daughter love each other genuinely. This genuine love is a vital part that makes up a home from my experience. In addition, Leila’s home ultimately comes out as the best home in the novel as her family had all the qualities of a good family. With all the members caring for each other and no discrimination in terms of gender, her father ensured that she obtained education.

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In my opinion, a good mother is one that actively seeks what is best for her children. From my experience, mothers make sacrifices for their children and love them unconditionally. In addition, when it comes to their own needs or opinions and ultimately place their children first. Nana was a good mother in my opinion. This is due to the fact that despite all the heartache she had in her life, she still managed to be there for Miriam. While her methods can be questionable, in the sense that she might have scarred her daughter emotionally, she still seems to have tried her best to enlighten Miriam, especially about the world and her father Jalil in particular. Laila is also a good mother but different from Nana. This might be due to their parentage and experiences in life. She grew up in a good hope with the model father and mother who cared for their family. While she also has her fair share of problems later, she still makes sacrifices for her children to ensure that they get the best in life. This includes getting married to a man she did not love just to protect her child. Culture seems to have had an effect on both characters. With Nana, it had a negative effect of making her bitter about life as it forced her to live in seclusion and also be disowned by her family. Miriam later develops into a good mother and we can observe that both her and Leila were moulded into better mothers from the experiences they had and their culture.

From my experience, good fathers are those that actively protect their children and ensure that they are well provided for in all aspects. That is both emotionally and in material terms. Jalil turns out as a good father after all but it seems that culture affects his parenting negatively. He is a good father in the sense that he provides for both his families and all his children in material and emotional terms. He ensures that he is there for Miriam, despite all he says to her seems to be a lie, he at least tries not to crush her emotionally as her mother did. When Jalil fails to protect his daughter Miriam against his wives and ultimately weds her at a young age, he is painted as a bad father. In addition, by his refusal to at least provide education for his child Miriam he also turns out to be a bad father.

While this can be attributed to a culture that prevented him from associating with Nana and Miriam in favour for his legitimate family, in my opinion, he at least tried to do the best he could with the cultural constraints. Rasheed, on the other hand, is a bad father due to the fact that he refuses to visit Leila’s daughter at the orphanage yet he was the one who decided that she should be taken there. He only shows fatherly tendencies towards his son, who he considers legitimately his. Babi, on the other hand, seems like by far the best father in the book as he adequately protects, loves and cares for his family and ensures that they get the best in life as he provides for them. Culture comes out as having a negative effect on most of the fathers, the key of which is Jalil as it prevented him from conducting some of his fatherly duties towards his daughter Miriam.

In conclusion, while parents might want to be the best parents to their children, other factors seem to have effect on how they actualize their parenting. Culture specifically comes out as a factor that affects all the parents negatively and it seems to have prevented some of them from being the best parents or at least model parents. In addition, life experiences may also influence one’s perspective on parenting and family, therefore, turning them into bad parents as observed in the case of Nana. However, the novel indicates that while one might have the worst experiences in life and their culture being against their parenting means, they can change for the better and develop into better parents as in the case of Miriam.

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