Why South Asians Prefer the Mother’s Side

Scores of South Asians swear the dad’s side of the family sucks. Is it just evolution or something else?

Shah Rukh Khan and Jaya Bhaduri in 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' (2001)

Mehr Singh


September 5, 2023


7 min

Saniya, whose name is anonymized, last saw her father when she was 12. She, her younger brother, and her mother woke up one morning only to find that the family’s sole breadwinner — her father — had emptied their bank accounts and left the U.S. After her parents divorced in 2011, Saniya took her mother’s last name.

South Asian TikTokers have posted videos of themselves chatting on a couch with an AI snake, with the words “Me talking to my dad’s side of the family” or singing along to “Talk to me / I talk back” on the topic of “when my dad’s side of the family has something to say about my mom.” 

While social media has turned the father’s relatives into comedic fodder, research proves that there might be some truth to us preferring our mother’s side of the family. But the distaste for paternal relatives in South Asian culture may point to a harsher reality than just biology.

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