Great Expectations & High Pressure: How You Can Survive Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Middle Eastern Cultures (And Parents)

Yup, I'm getting married. And yes, I'm on an elephant.
Yup, I'm getting married. And yes, I'm dancing on an elephant.

This is not your typical post. There’s no talk of self-realization, church-hopping, or spiritual wisdom here.

I’m simply writing this for those of you who read my posts on Culture Mutt last year and have written to me with questions about how to survive living in high-pressure cultures, dominant parents, inquisitive communities and families.

Cultures where your existence is compared to everyone else you know, including your genius brother, American Idol-talented sister, chess champion cousin, Harvard-going family friend, deceased Supreme Court grandfather, highly educated and wealthy very-distant relative who founded Google, surgeon neighbor, and television personalities (Sanjay Gupta, Fareed Zakaria, etc)

                                             Your circumstances.

As a kid of a Tiger Mother or neurotic parents of any highly traditional, high-pressure culture, you know what family and social pressure feels like.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in elementary school, high school, college, graduate school or a working professional. If you’re Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Persian of from any Asian country, you know that your life and decisions are not solely your own.

You’re commanded errr… encouraged to attend a particular college, pursue a specific profession which gives you titles such as M.D. or M.B.B.S., creatively introduced to your future spouse, given hints as to where you should live, what job to get, how many children to have, etc etc.

Of course, you’re never really ‘told’. Simply, asked, questioned, hinted at, barraged with a line of questions a murder suspect would get during an interrogation.

“Why don’t you go to medical school?”

“Oh…the Patel kids are both going to Yale next year. Where did you decide?”
“You can go to India to study medicine, no?”

“Why did you get a B+ in history? Do you know how much we’re paying for your education?”

“He’s a nice guy from a good family. You’re not that young, you know”

“Who writes? You can become a doctor, then you’ll write up patient charts during the week and novels during the weekends”

“So, looks like we’re cursed by the God’s and our fate’s sealed. You’re not marrying and giving us 2 grandkids!”

What do you do if you don’t want to play by the rules of your culture or family?

If you’re muddled about what you should be doing with your life, feeling pressured by your parents and culture to be a professional (and by that, I mean doctor, dentist or engineer) and feel dreadful about not living up to everyone’s expectations and demands, read on:

Survive your family and your culture – 9 tips to get control of your life.

1) Forgive your family and yourself. 

As hard as it may be to do, forgiveness is necessary for your mental health and sanity. You must be able to forgive your parents who are pressuring you and trying to control your life. More than likely, this is their unusual way of showing you their care and concern. And love.

When you forgive your parents or family, you show yourself that they have very little impact on you. You refuse to allow their overbearing and dominant ways to hurt you further. 

Forgive them, then forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for having to disagree with and not pleasing them.  Forgive yourself for choosing to live your own life. Forgive yourself so you can move on with your life, instead of being trapped by your family and culture.

2) Refuse to follow the lead of your parents and compare yourself to others.

Know that others have their own difficulties, challenges, and life-dilemmas.

Your friends getting married after law school and touring Europe may look like they have a perfect life on the outside. But you never know what’s going on with them. That very successful and got-it-together couple may be absolutely miserable internally, seeing 3 therapists or could be alcoholics – you never know.

3) Seek clarity in your life and take action.

You don’t have to have a clue as to what you’re doing with your life but you should try to seek clarity by talking to your inner circle of friends and through self-reflection.

Look at what you enjoy doing, look at your strengths, your skills and move in that direction. No matter who you are, you have certain skills, talents and strengths. Focus on those and keep moving towards mastering those parts of your life.

Stop doing those activities, professions and jobs you can’t stand.

Look for an exit.

Just take a little bit of action a day on what interests you, what inspires you and what makes you feel alive.

If you have no idea, just start. As Alexis Grant says, purpose usually finds you, not the other way around. And it finds you only after you’ve gotten started.

Start doing your hobby, your craft, your art. If you start and lose interest, then that’s not your passion. If you’re not willing to do this for 2 hours a night after a day of school or work, then it’s probably not your passion.

4) Take money, prestige and what people think out of the equation.

Be honest with yourself as far as what you enjoy doing. If you do that and do that only, you’ll find immeasurable success in the long run.

If you love teaching, like a friend of mine did, success will knock on your door. My friend’s parents tried to talk him out of a teaching career but he fought for his dream. And yes, he became the youngest state ‘teacher of the year’ a couple years back.

Unlike what your community or parents tell you, you WILL succeed in what you enjoy doing and what brings you happiness.

5) Seek confidence building activities, daily inspiration and affirmations.

All those things sound zany but they work. You hear a lot of negativity from your parents and culture.

You have to replace it with positive self-talk. There’s online videos, meditations, affirmations, books, more. Do these activities daily to keep all the negative buzz away form you. And affirm your brilliance.

Don’t let them break you down with comparisons, criticism and insults.

6) Stomach your day job until you can actively pursue your interest, passion, art.

If you can’t make your passion into a full time job or career, then spend all your free time doing it.

If you can’t give up your law practice or medical career, then write at night, take classes in the evenings, run on the weekends, shoot photos when you’re on vacation.

Have a vision of your future. Create a vision board to make your vision a reality.

7) Use negative energy, the doubters and the haters to take action.

Use their doubt, disapproval and judgmental behavior of others to move you into action. Allow the negativity to help you become even more focused and determined about doing what you want to do.

Let the negativity motivate you to achieve more.

Allow the doubters to help you achieve your goals.

8) Actively hunt for people who will believe in you.

Spend more time with them.

You already know what to do with the negative people in your life.

9) Seek happiness daily.

Be diligent about seeking happiness. Be like a firefly seeking the light of happiness.

You don’t have to do what everyone else wants you to do but you do need to do something.

Find what makes you happy and keep doing more of that. Find happiness in the mundane and boring tasks of life. Find happiness in the job you hate. Find happiness in the profession you never wanted to pursue in the first place. There must be some aspect of your job or career that makes you happy. Focus on that.

If meeting people who compare you and humiliate makes you unhappy as it well should, avoid them. If reading makes you happy, schedule that in. If family affairs are no fun, find excuses to get out of them.

Fight for your happiness like you’re fighting in a war. Be disciplined about seeking and living in happiness daily. When you’re happy, you’ll do better work and find success.

When you’re happy, it will rub off on those around you. They soon will be happy too.

Keep seeking happiness and vigorously fight against anyone trying to steal it from you.

Protect your dreams and happiness like you’re guarding the priceless Mona Lisa.

Did your community or family insist you live your life a certain way, marry a certain person, work a certain profession? Let me know how you deal with your family or community in the comments below.


  1. Only two grandchildren?!

    Wonderful post. Now I am waiting for the post in which you share how this advice has played out in your own life. You see, I can subtly, or not so subtly, channel a Tiger Mom!!

    1. Haha Galen – yes, usually 2 as long as one’s a boy and the other, a girl, everything’s ok.

      I am planning to write about how this has played out in my own life. I have a draft written but will show it to you before publishing. Of course, you had a little role in all of this too:)

  2. Boy can I relate to this! There always seems to be a generational divide between parents and their children in some form or other, but throw in culture, values and general confusion into the mix and the melting pot becomes slightly more complex!

    It is true that when you are happy, those around you are happy too. I know first hand the pressure parents can put on you when your expectations of your life differ from theirs. But ultimately, your happiness matters more. I know for sure my family would rather see me happy than adhering to their demands (I think…deep down inside….somewhere…..).

    Looking forward to your next offering, V 🙂 🙂

    – Razwana

    1. Slightly or very complex Razwana. lol I think it’s different for every family and culture but with so much pressure, expectations and demands, it can be trying for especially kids as well as parents.

      And you’re completely right about your family wishing you were happy (deep down…inside…somewhere…maybe while dreaming or while unconscious – just kidding:) But I’m with you – personal happiness allows others around you to be happy as well. When you’re happier, everyone around you seems to be happier.

  3. Hi Vishnu,

    I was raised in a very close-knit, patriarchal, Italian family where “girls” were commanded/encouraged to follow one specific path in one specific way, and boys were given freedom to explore and experiment in all ways. So, I understand this message you are sharing.

    Your suggestions to tap into clarity, forgiveness, confidence, and support are wonderful and enriching. Inner peace is too precious to sacrifice for another and these tips are wonderful ways to amplify inner peace. In my own life, my practice of presence centers me into love and gratitude–a space where that which is enlivening thrives, and past conditioning and patterns naturally dissolve.

    1. Joy, I imagine there are a lot of similarities between Asian cultures and other strong family cultures. The interesting thing is it’s not just girls who are encouraged to follow a particular path but boys too:) Of course there’s a little more (maybe a lot more) freedom with boys but there are still high expectations and pressure on both.

      The family and social pressures of living in these cultures makes it very challenging to find peace and inner happiness. Especially when your decisions and actions are contradictory to the desires of your family and/or community. Especially when your inner peace may be causing everyone else’s grief, panic and disappointment:)

      Amplifying peace in our lives may be the only choice we have – allowing more love and gratitude into our lives for our own sanity. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Vishnu,
    I loved this post! It has so much valuable information for everyone. I think most of us feel pressured by our family at one time or another and your tips for dealing with it are excellent. Knowledge every teenager and young adult should have!

    1. You’re right Wendy. Probably many people go through these pressures in all cultures and traditions and everyone can take something away here from how to deal with pressure-filled families and cultures. And sometimes these pressured situations don’t just end in childhood but into adulthood as well:) Thanks for your comment.

  5. Wow! Fantastic and loving advice for pursuing one’s passion no matter what the disapproval from family and friends. I’m sure this will hit the nail on the head for so many.
    Blessings, Vishnu!

    1. THanks Martha – it will please many and upset many, especially the parents and families out there:) I do hope the message resonates with others who are experiencing difficulties, challenges trying to fit in with their families.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Kim and thanks for dropping by. As you can imagine, following one’s passions in the face of family pressures is no easy task but there’s no other choice, really.

      I’m looking forward to hosting your post here soon 🙂

  6. Let me put it this way: When I was 5-years-old, my mom put me in a white lab coat, a stethoscope and made me a little badge that said, “Jammie Salagubang, M.D. — Pediatrician” (she at least let me choose the specialty) for career day at school. I wore that same outfit, every career day, until I was 10-years-old and suddenly realized that if I became a doctor I would have to deal with blood, bodily fluids and other yucky stuff.

    I received much flak (and I still am receiving it) from my parents for my chosen career (I wildly veered off the family medical career path to become a journalist/writer.) To be honest though, they would be fine with my profession if I were making a lot of money. I keep pointing out that I am happy and doing what I want, I have food, shelter and clothes to wear. But sometimes it’s like talking to a brick wall in a family where wealth = success. After talking with them, it is hard for me to follow #2 and #4 sometimes. Your #1 tip hit me with the sledgehammer of truth and I realized if I truly did that, the rest would fall into place. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when I keep the conversations shorter. 😀 Great post and a great tip — I really needed to read it.

    1. Thank you for sharing this hilarious story about you growing up, Jammie! I think your Mom was doing visualization, law of attraction and a lot of subtle (over-the-top) suggestive behavior. hahhaha Wouldn’t it have been funny if you thought your last name included the MD? lol

      Yes, it doesn’t matter how happy you are, they do equate success with wealth and wealth with happiness! It is hard to do #2,4 because we are human and our families are in our lives (a lot) And the power of suggestion, influence by those closest to us is great! As we know Jammie, it’s exactly in pursuing our passions and interests that we will find our own success in whatever we do. And from there, wealth. #1 is something I’m working on as well as hard as it may be to do.

      1. First of all… those CultureMutt posts your wrote worked like crack for my traffic!! Feel free to keep ’em coming:)

        Wow… whenever Jammie tells me that career day story it cracks me up… Marrying into a Filipino family has definitely expanded my cultural horizons!

        There’s a flip side to all this: It’s called Scandinavian culture. And I have my own gripes about this Northern European brand of raising kids: I actually WISH I had been giving a little more guidance. Like “Maybe don’t make French Studies half of your double major, it won’t make you a dime.”

        OK, so the French actually did pay off in the professional world but still, Swedish parents err on the side of providing too little direction in the name of respecting individuality and “not meddling”. Letting the kids figure it out for themselves has limitations too..

        With this kind of weak sauce approach to child rearing you get kids talking back, calling authority figures by their first names (or worse) and a whole bunch of other dysfunctional behavior like extended “finding myself” trips around the world.. oh wait…:)

        But yes, the Filipino family comments about how much we are currently being paid to live the international blogger dream make your point abundantly clear:)

        1. hahahaha that was a funny story about Jammie! and a good try by her parents! creativity runs in the family 🙂

          I completely get the flip side too that you bring up, Bjorn, and you make a great point. And yes sometimes we need to be told that certain fields are not too profitable career-wise. (But it’s probably like anything – if you studied it with the intent of doing it in your career 100%, then it does pay off. LIke if you had a become an interpreter for example! Or how you used in your professional life. Or if you studied religion and became a pastor.) But for the most part, we end up doing things we didn’t study in school. And the other great part is when you choose to do a field that doesn’t net a lot of money is you’re told to pursue some professional course which you have no interest in and told to do your ‘interest’ as a hobby. Like – oh you can become a teacher…of medicine. haha!

          I think you’ll agree a balanced approach – some advice, meddling and some, ‘we trust you to do what’s best for you’ is the right mix.

  7. Hmm… this is a great article Vishnu, dealing with a very difficult topic for many people. It takes a lot of courage to go against the grain, but the rewards are enormous for living a life you love, rather than a life in chains.

    Thank you for sharing. Lauren

    1. Yes, Lauren, we need to live a life of love instead of chains. Even if one is living a life of chains, take small steps to do more of those things one loves!

      Thanks for your visit and comment.

  8. Hi Vishnu,

    As a Brit of Indian origin I could so relate to this post and I’m really glad you wrote a post about this area. Let’s just say people of ethnic minorities in Western countries are a little ‘special needs’ and you covered the issues and what to do, brilliantly.

    It is a challenge growing up with both Western and Eastern values, particularly as older members of our families can be more traditional. Indeed, our lives are not always our own (at least it seems that way). Hence, we do need to make more effort to stand our ground, never lose hope of our dreams and what we believe in (this can quite hard when it seems like everyone is against what we do, but very important that we stay strong), while still maintaining respect and understanding for our families.

    Thank you.

    1. Glad you could relate Hiten! I think all of us with Asian, Indian heritage can relate in small ways to the cultural expectations:) Yes, trying to find that balance between standing up for ourselves and respecting our families is a delicate balance, when living in two cultures. I don’t think we’ll ever get it right cause every family is different and there are no rules (haha) but we can keep trying 🙂

  9. I enjoyed reading this post tremendously, Vishnu. I may be a bit of a Tiger mother myself. It sounds like an excuse but societal pressures can be hard to fight off. Yet, I try to be mindful about not being overly attached to results and expectations with my children.

    Yes forgiveness is key. I have long forgiven my parents for not giving me more helpful advice about a suitable career to pursue when I was growing up.

    I have also since refused to heed the advice of my parents. They were not in favor of the idea that I give up on my banking career. They cannot imagine why I can be so busy running an online business. In fact, none of my friends can too. But I choose to do what I love, despite what detractors say.

    1. Thanks Evelyn – there’s a tiger in all of us haha There are both tiger parents and tiger children maybe:) ??

      There’s definitely some benefits of the over-the-top parenting style of parents who push us to reach our potential, get professional degrees and seek stability in our lives. It may not be the recipe for each one of us but can be a recipe for financial stability.

      Glad to hear that you’re following your own path despite what others around you have to say. Loving what you do is priceless.

  10. I really like this post. As an Indian mom raising 2 boys in the US, this has given me a lot of insight from the child’s perspective. I think we immigrant parents are under a lot of “peer pressure” too and then irrationally transfer that onto our kids.
    It’s almost like if your kid is not in the Honor society then you as a parent are not doing a good job. It’s hard for a parent to step back and look at the big picture, to allow your child to follow their heart, their destiny and enjoy the blossoming of their life.
    Education is important as you state in #6, but I think more importantly we need to teach our kids to trust in the inner strength, the inner power that will support them when things are not going their way and be with them at all times even when we are not.(Now if I said the above sentence to some of my acquaintances-tiger moms they’d look at me like i’m crazy!)
    All the Best Vishnu, keep those posts coming!

    1. Anu, really like your comment b/c it shows introspection, reflection and consideration of the contents of this post. Which I don’t imagine would be the reaction of most parents, including my own. They are much more apt to criticize the content (which they regularly do) and tell me I’ve lost my way (and my mind), along with 99.9 percent of the other Indian parents out there. haha ok maybe 95% 🙂

      You’re absolutely right about being called out by Tiger Moms for encouraging your kids to trust their inner strength and personal strengths. This would be heresy lol The funny thing is they may look at you like you’re crazy but it’s their kids who will be spending time on the therapist couch, in mid-life crisis’ and writing blogs. hhahahhahaha I’m making myself laugh too much by responding to this comment.

      Anyway, back to my point, just the fact you have an open mind speaks volumes about the balanced approach you must be using to raise your kids! Which they will definitely appreciate later in life. I’m always open to having another perspective on the blog on this issue or any other. If you feel compelled to write one, please get in touch 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Great article Vishnu, thoroughly enjoyed it. As a fellow Indian with “Tiger parents”, I can surely relate to it. I think our Indian culture can be summed up in one word – pressure! From our first day of school til retirement, we get pressured into being a certain way.

    After reading this, I’m inspired to write a post on it with my own take on the subject.

    1. DK! glad you like the post. You don’t have to say …with “Tiger Parent” Just saying you’re Indian would correlate with “Tiger Parents” haha

      Pressure is the right word and senseless pressure to get ahead! Yeah, you should write a post and explore this issue more – our priorities our values and what we really stand for. I have a hilarious one penned about dating and marriages coming up which is both funny and all sadly true. I’d definitely like to read your post on this issue and get your feedback on this other post I have coming up.

  12. The thing is, with whatever origin we came from, parents learned to become parents by playing the role. There is no school for being a ‘good’ mother or father. I guess, most of what they do, they also learned from their own parents as well.

    In our culture, I guess, like most Asians, we were expected to excel in school. We were not excused from the pressures we received even from relatives. The only difference was, my siblings were highly regarded for their brains…and my mom counted on my beauty (I always thought I had no brains lol).

    We were taught to ‘obey’ and not answer back. My siblings and I did until we graduated from college. After that, oh well, we made a ‘mess.’ I’d say that after graduation, we felt ‘freedom’ from my parents ~ like holding the hose for a long time and finally releasing all the water it contained…

    I think I owe myself more forgiveness… I have chosen a career my mother wanted for herself. When I declared I wanted to do missions, all my cousins thought I was rebelling against my mother. I was under the care of Europeans and life became totally different. My thoughts and attitude towards life expanded and I learned to think for myself.

    I have learned to trace God’s hand in every situation in my life. When I came back home, the pressure is on getting married…I have asked my parents not to meddle on this. I have chosen a career that focuses on research with my brother, and my parents respect that. I continue doing my mission with kids every Saturday and my parents allowed me to use our house as venue for teaching them. Now, as I take care of little children, I teach them to ‘think’ freely and allow their parents to guide them not dictate and to learn to dialogue as young as they are.

    I’m happy and yes, I’m protecting my dreams 🙂

    Love this article!

    1. I love this comment! thank you for writing it – I could have made it into a guest post by itself, sister! I do agree that no one is really taught to parent and everyone learns to do it as they go which may be a problem in an of itself. You pick up parenting from your parents:)

      It’s an interesting journey that you’ve taken – from disciplined and strict upbringing to choosing to do what you want in your life. I especially like the fact that not only are you making decisions based on what you want to do and God’s guidance but also helping kids be ‘free thinkers’. You’re allowing them to choose to be guided, instead of told and commanded – which I’m certain they will appreciate one day.

      Thanks for adding your thought here M and doing all the wonderful work that you’re doing.

  13. Hi Vishnu,

    Very insightful blog! Your thoughts about Forgiving your parents and your self is very intriguing.

    Personally, I do follow that from time to time but its quite difficult to have your spouse to see it with this same perspective. Its particularly difficult if both your parents and your spouse are headstrong.

    Still looking for that silver lining to deal with such high pressurized drama..

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jameel, thanks for the feedback and your comment. None of this is easy – takes patience, courage and practice (continued trial and error:) especially with headstrong family members, parents, spouses, etc.

  14. Hi Vishnu! Thank you for a very inspiring post. I am stuck in a situation right now where I want to marry a Pakistani Muslim girl born and raised in Canada and I am of Indian Muslim decent, born in the Middle East and moved here 10 years ago. She is one to not care about the differences between people of the two countries and neither are her parents. They have loved here for 35 0r so years. Their entire family is here. On the other hand, I am a member of a family of four: my sister, myself and my parents. We have no relatives here in canada. All my relatives are mostly in India and a fee speed around the UK and Middle East. We had approached our parents about each other separately, and her parents didn’t care about the fact that I was Indian. I somehow got out families to meet and they liked me. They even said to her that if you love him
    So much and you are sure you will be happy with him and e will take care of you, we have no problem with him. However, my parents, especially mom, are very much against it and even called her mother and expressed that they only wants an Indian bride and that we should stop talking. Interestingly, this brought the girl and I even closer because we feel so strongly about each other. My parents, despite my stating clearly that I am not in agreement with their thoughts, clearly declined the marriage. I
    Am still fighting with them, as much as I can, to get them see reason that they problems they are worried about:
    1. Cultural differences between Pakistanis (Lahoris) and Indians (New Delhi) are too vast to expect a long term healthy relationship with is living under the same roof. My parents originally wanted to love in a joint family environment, and honestly I didn’t under either because I want to care of them I their old age. And I am sure this girl will be amazing at that, in addition or the honest and open relationship we have where trust and communication are the two hoga most important to us.

    2. Visa- She, being Pakistani, will not able to travel to india because the strained political relations of the two countries. Their fear is I will lose connection to my roots entirely. The thing is, I never lived in India. We would only visit every couple of years from the Middle East and since we moved to Canada 10 years ago, I haven’t been. My reply to that was that I have to build my life with here, it’s why they came to canada in the first place. And we will keep teying to get te visa, and whenever possible we will go.

    3. My parents and I have seen many mixed Indo-Paki marriages that are/have caused problems in families. I only care about the person I am marrying, and so does she. My parents are basing their decisions on observations and assumptions. When we went over to her place, my mom didn’t even speak to her beyond greetings. My parents don’t even know what the girl, I want to spend my life with, is like. And of course when I say to them that she is not of the mentality you have seen, and that we are a different a generation that grew up thinking a person’s character and values is what we should see, putting aside prejudice and discrimination based on cast, colour, creed and nationality.

    Now I still want us to love together but my parents are saying you have to love separately. I have no problem with that except, they also are saying they won’t be involved with the wedding at all. Since my mom already said no to hers, her parents are also turning away slowly. Her mom actually defended us on the phone, sayin they like each other and as long as they are happy it’s okay. My parents are saying to me I can do whatever I want, but knowing her parents, they won’t their daughter away to a man when, while his parents are alive, they won’t be attending the wedding. Her entire family is here, and they will be embarrassed and ashamed to tell everyone. She is gettin marriage proposals from a lot of other families, but she keeps telling her mother that I need more time to work things out with my parents. They haven’t budged in 5 months. It’s only gotten worse. Of course, her parents have options where the guys’ mothers are so happily willing to accept her and bring her home. I am afraid if losing her and she doesn’t want to lose me either. It will be so difficult and messy if we have to elope and hide from her family. She would be partially willing to do it, despite the fact that it will break heart and mine because her parents liked me and were willing to let us get married. If I leave my house, I lose all hope of convincing her parents against the other opportunites they have.

    Do you see any room for a resolution or something I can do, aside from just trying to convince my parents that I will only marry her, to get the ball rolling? I really think I will have to talk to her parents alone, but I don’t believe that will help much because of other familial and societal pressures they’d be feeling.

    1. hi Fahd – I have a couple other posts on the blog about relationships and marriage. You’re welcome to read those posts and see how it applies to your situation.

      I would say the simplest advice is to follow your heart and do what feels right to you. And not just right in the short run, but if you think this will work in the long run. Not really in regards to cultural and family pressures but how compatible both of you are. Family will come around – do you both share values and beliefs that will last a lifetime?

      Also, if having support is important enough to both of you, then talk it out between both of you and have a mutual understanding with each that you’ll wait until your family agrees. But you both have to be on the same page, have strong communication and trust and have a strategy if both your parents put a lot of pressure on both of you.

      Lots of things you can do if you want to be together – your parents will come around now or in the future. If you’re going to do it, without their approval, be sure you can both support yourselves and have a strategy to survive for a bit without your parents in the picture.

      Hope this helps!

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