So, what kind of Dad are you?

               Having a kid transforms your life – life, as you know it, will never be the same again! There are of course, different parenting styles. When you become a parent yourself, you tend to draw a lot of stuff from the way you were raised by your parents. Today being Father’s Day, this is my observation of the changing times and the Dads around me. So what kind of Dad are you?

Traditional Dad: He is the one who believes in the traditional role of man being the provider for the family.  This often translates into Dad wearing the pants in the family. He is clear about the activities of his kids he ought to be involved in – a little bit or almost none of the feeding/diapering/ bathing/putting to bed part. Sorry, that’s the Mom’s department! He might occasionally read them a story or take them to the zoo or the museum. If something (including kids’ toys /sportsgear /electronic equipment etc.) gets broken or needs repair, Dad’s the one to turn to. He does consider disciplining his kids as one of his sacred fatherly duties. Sometimes, as a result of all this, he appears a bit aloof and authoritarian to his kids. He no doubt loves his kids, but is afraid to show much of that love for fear of appearing ‘unmanly’ or mushy.

Child reaching out for Dad

 

New Age Dad: He is a ‘hands-on’ dad. He likes to be involved in a baby’s life right from the moment it is conceived! He’s not ashamed to attend childbirth classes or hold Mom’s hand while she’s going through the ravaging pains of labour. He can change diapers effortlessly, can bathe a baby, can soothe a crying infant, can rock a baby to sleep in the middle of the night. He takes time out of his busy schedule to drive his daughter to dance-classes or cheer up his son on Sports day in school. He tries to learn about his kids’ favorite dishes and cooks them if or if not Mom is around. He is not afraid to shower kisses as he tucks his son to bed, nor afraid to shed tears along with his daughter while watching the evil witch put the princess through hardships – mushiness be damned! He is not just involved in most of the activities of his kids, but he actually misses those if he cannot be a part of them for some reason.  He is the modern-day dad who has come far from the days of ‘hunter-gatherer’ to ‘nurturer’ in the truest sense of the word. Thank God for such fathers who are increasing in their numbers day-by-day! Apart from actually giving birth to a child and breastfeeding, there’s almost no other job I could think of, that a New Age Dad can’t do. To borrow an old punchline from an ad,  he is ‘Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride’ 🙂

Dad soothing baby

 
               So if you are one of the New Age dads, take a bow! Chances are that most of you may have grown up in households where your own moms and dads never ventured out of their  traditional society-defines roles. It is not always easy to learn new things and unlearn old ones. But you yourself have not been afraid of being part of a change. Don’t ever change your way of thinking due to societal pressure. Here’s why(!)- You’ll get a lot more from life being a part of your family in the real sense. Kids grow up soon and before you know it, life will pass by and so will your kids head out the door for college, for jobs. You can have all the time in the world then to make money or play video-games or pursue your love for racing bikes (You can still sneak in time for these activities now, but may be just less amount of time than you would like to). But the time for setting up a good example of  being involved in your kids’ lives is now – when your kids are still young enough to observe you, listen to you and look up to you! And you will be bonding with your kids much better! Not to mention the amazing memories you’ll be making that both your kids and you will cherish for the rest of your lives.

              But what if you are one of the Traditional dads? Well, to you I say – It’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon! The reasons are again the same as above. You need not do all the things at once, but can certainly lend a hand or two to Mom in caring for her baby. Soon you’ll start enjoying the activities fully and the biggest reward is the better bonding you’ll have with your kids. The thinking that Moms are better instinctively at anything to do with children is a myth. Ask any Moms around you and you’ll hear stories of things they have goofed up with kids but never cared to tell you 🙂 Ask any new Mom and chances are that she’s trying to learn things as they come to a pass.

               So enjoy the ride and you’ll end up richer and fuller for the experiences you’ll have… A Happy Father’s Day to you, Dad!

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