I often find, especially in India, that mothers are infinitely more involved with the upbringing and day to day well being of children, as compared to fathers. The primary focus of the fathers seems to be to work, earn, and provide. That is not wrong at all. However, it does seem to rob them of precious time that every child could use, with his/her respective father.
Growing up, I shared a very complicated relationship with my father. That notwithstanding, he too, in a more general sense, seems to fit into the established status quo, the stereotype that dad is there, to be the ‘provider’. But let us examine this word PROVIDER. Provider of what? Of funds to pay school fee, to buy clothes and essentials, to purchase toys? Yes. But certainly ‘providing’ from a child’s perspective, can’t be limited to material things. I can tell you for my part, that was, and has been the last thing on the list of priorities that I would need/want from my father.
Fathers seem to be missing from children’s lives altogether. They don’t seem to spend much time with kids. Are not present at school. Are not part of any parent groups on social media. They suddenly show up for that annual vacation or the Sunday mall-trip, and that’s it! Although I have seen a perceptible change in this long-tradition, it is too recent, and far too limited to certain more ‘metro-sexual’ couples in a few larger cities. By and large, the custom continues.
I hate to sound preachy but let me go out on a limb and enlighten fathers on what a child wants from them. To provide guidance, mentoring, friendship, involvement, emotional support, humor, a mix of firmness and playfulness. And NONE of these things cost ANY money!
If this comes as a newsflash to some fathers, I’m sorry to call you out on the truth. But you really need to re-examine your parental and familial priorities. Kids don’t need pots of money or gifts. You don’t buy their love, you get it as a natural byproduct of giving them love (which does not mean material things). You don’t demand respect, you earn it by default when you lead by example, and set standards of being a decent, aware, sensitive, accepting, open, responsible individual. I recently read somewhere that preach all you want, the child will learn, only by observation. And that role model of observational learning can not be ONLY the mother, it has to be the father as well.
I have a ten month old daughter. Some might feel I am under-qualified to be sermonizing on the subject. But having been exposed to all kinds of fathers, from my own to my friends’, and seeing myself now with my own daughter from the time of her birth, I can tell you this without a shred of doubt – what kids need from their fathers, is time. Period.