Note: I am not generalizing because every rule has an exception. This article only talks about the majority of Egyptian parents.
Growing up, we were prohibited from doing a lot of things because of the way our culture is structured. One of those things is having a healthy relationship with our parents. Many of us were raised by strict parents, which means that we had to learn how to be stealthy; how to talk ourselves out of trouble and how to be sneaky. We didn’t ask for this! We would have gladly settled for honesty and open communication instead. 

Our parents raised us in a way where an open line of communication is out of the question. They raised us the same way they were raised. Our parents used the same techniques and taught us the same lessons, because it was the only way they knew how. They shield their past from us, and we never realize that we’re living with strangers until it’s too late. It’s a relationship built on comforting one another through a pile of lies. More than anything, it’s a dishonest relationship where the two parties are never totally comfortable around one another.

At age 15, we start to be curious and feel the need to venture out and experience life on our own. We try our best not to disappoint our parents and refrain from engaging in any of the activities they’ve warned us about. We try our best to uphold the beliefs they’ve been instilling in us our entire lives. At some point or another, we fail to do so. And this is when our relationship with them starts to go downhill. Because of how strict they were, we fear confronting them. We don’t confide in them, because we’re scared to tell them about anything we might have done that goes against how they raised us. We start to keep secrets, be moody and ask for personal privacy. When we mess up, they are the last ones to know, that is IF we decide to let them know after the storm has passed.

Our parents raised us to become better versions of themselves, but if we don’t grow up to be what they expected, they won’t try to get to know us because they don’t like what we’ve become and they prefer to stay in the dark. If what we grew up to be is not what they wanted, they simply don’t try to have a decent relationship with us. And we cease to try either because we think that all hell will break loose if we tell them about everything we’re up to. And all hell probably WILL break loose if they knew.

Parents must be prepared and ready for every possible scenario. Yes, parents are only human and they can’t predict the future but at the very least, they must be willing to accept their child for whoever he or she turns out to be, especially if it’s the furthest thing from what they expected.

Parents must accept the fact that their child might grow up to have different values and beliefs. We won’t necessarily want to live our lives the way you would like us to or befriend the people you deem “appropriate”. We will venture into the world and shape our own set of principles and make our own blunders. All we need from you is acceptance. Accept whoever we choose to be because that is the only way we can have an honest and open relationship. Don’t expect us to follow you blindly and without ever questioning you and your methods.

We are your kids and we owe you our lives, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to control it.

  • Ramy Ehab