I am the father of my 11-year-old son. When my son was born in 2007, I was very happy (like all of us). My mother usually gives the bath to my son, my wife usually change his clothes and clean him after his pee and poop.
But something was in me who wants to do all this for my son. Soon, I started doing all his work (not daily but frequently). And I never felt like I am doing work of a mother or a grandmother. I always felt happy about it. My father and my uncles never did such motherly work. Obviously, it draws my attention but I never stopped and never felt womanly about it. My feeling was like…” he is my son, he is so loving, and I love to do his jobs”. I am getting my son ready to go school since day one. It was only me who was able to get him ready for school without his crying. I was the only one (in a family of 5-6 members) who was able to get anything done by him with his happiness.
Even today, it is me with whom he openly shares everything (without any hesitation, nervousness, or fear). It is me with whom he enjoys his studies; it is me with whom he is much more emotionally close than anyone else, not even with his mother. When I compare the relationship between me and my son with me and my father, it was completely different. I was never comfortable with sharing my emotions, my little secrets, and even my desires with my father, but I was comfortable with mother. Now, my son is comfortable with me and not his mother. Even, my son is so open to me that I was never such open with my mother as well. What am I doing? Am I the mother of my son or what? Am I man enough to be called as a man?
When I gave it a good deep thought then I found a very strange thing about myself and I felt proud of myself. I found that I am man enough to be called as father because I was doing every single bit of father’s work (which my father and my uncles use to do), plus (additionally) I am doing job of a mother, plus some more which is even beyond the scope of mother’s job.
The effect of my father on me in my life was always that I tempted to do my work with discipline, face things with courage, bear confidence all the time, be a leader in my social groups, take charge of my life in every way, always have an attitude of a warrior and be an alpha male. What I see is… exactly, this is my effect on my son as well because I never-ever act or teach feminine things. I always remain manly and alpha. I take all the important decisions, I am the main bread and butter earner, my wife seeks my approvals, and I hold a good position in society and people respect me and all that.
My son is deeply connected with me emotionally, share every bit of thing with me, and he is so open that one can be that only with a very close friend.
So, who am I now, a father, or someone bigger than just a father? Actually, I am a “father-friend”.
To play an excellent “father-friend” role in the life of your children, you have to be very much aware of situations that include long-term situations as well as impulsive situations of your children. A father-friend is a friend most of the times until there is a need of the father.
In other words, most of the times father and children live like a friend (joking, chilling, playing, shouting, fighting, giving and receiving equal respect, an equal social and emotional value) and at any moment (at any second) father is needed to come out, and recognizing that moment is the biggest challenge for a “father-friend”.
We can make ourselves ready for several, usual, and important situations and can play a role of good father-friend. Some of such situations are —
- Studies – When it comes to studies, you may be thinking that only father is needed. But the fact is that it is ONLY “father-friend” who needs here. Many-many times children want to escape from studies and look at father to become their friend, they have strong urge to go out for playing or doing the activity of their choice, and don’t want to study. But, as a father you know that this is the time for studies and have strong urge to put children on studies. In case of such tug-of-war situation, how you should act to be a good father-friend?
As a father-friend, I face such difficult situations almost every second day. What I do is… I ALWAYS say this to my son… “Okay son, let play now, but tells me when we’ll study so that you can hit your study goals? It is also important, right? So, you decide the time when we’ll study together.”
This simple question makes my child happy that he is going to do the activity of his choice and bound him and prepare him for studies as well. In parallel, my son feel “not-guilty” and paying attention to studies by himself (a sense of self-discipline, self-management, a commander of his own life, a feeling of pride & dignity, and a feeling that there is no one above his head to pinch, direct, and push for studies; it helps building strong willpower in children). This is probably the very important feeling which every child should carry always.
- Results – I mean… results of studies. Well, it is almost impossible to score 100% marks in every subject. We can say that… we all (including children) stay hungry for more marks. When a result is declared then, broadly, there could be two types of situations you and your child have to face—either your child scored good marks (a situation of high-spirits/good mood), or not good marks (a situation of low-sprits/bad mood).
Now, every child looks at father (parent) and eagerly wants to know if the father is happy with the marks or not. Now, being a father, your reaction is critically important for your child. How you’ll react in these two situations?
I face both the situations frequently. Here is how I react.
(1) When my son score good marks, then obviously, I reach very happily. Award him with some good gift, a party, and more importantly… I share the news of good marks with many people. This makes my son feel a feeling of bringing proud to his father, making him happy, and a feeling which tells how important he is for his father. A very important feeling for making a child full of self-esteem.
(2) When my son doesn’t score good marks, then the very first thing I do is… I make him feel not-guilty, not responsible for bad marks, and not to feel even a bit of bad about it. I ALWAYS say… “Look son, marks are direct result of how much time you have given to your studies; this is just a memory test i.e. how much you have memorized; I know you have given importance to your hobby this time and I am happy that you did something for your own self; the first aim of life should be finding a true hobby which gives true enjoyment and make is a profession; next time do better time management so that you can take care of your studies as well as your hobby.”
These simple statements put my child back in self-control, self-management, and self-confidence state. And yes, he pays good attention towards studies after that. And if I see him slipping, I remind him to secure his studies well enough to feel good at the time of results.
- Sports & Games – There are a lot of kids who prefer video games or other indoor game over outdoor games. My child is one of them. He is very selective when it comes to outdoor games. What should I do? Being a “father-friend”, how can I compel my child?
I found a solution to this. Make a list of some really exciting outdoor sports and ask your child for them, like you can have snorkeling fun with your children. Generally, children love water sports and snorkeling can make it thrilling for sure. And water sports are rated as one of best physical exercises. When I take my child for snorkeling, he instantly fell in love with it and we did it every single day of last summer holidays. Don’t change until your child starts feeling bored with a particular sport. There is NO alternative to physical exercise so no matter what exercise (sports) your child pick, let him/her go with that.
- Healthy eating– make a list of vegetables and fruits which your child really likes. And if his/her choices don’t complete a balanced diet then keep on offering different recopies of the vegetable which he/she didn’t like normally but important to make a balanced diet. The aim should be to ensure that your child is getting a complete balanced diet from the eatables of his/her choice.
- Outing/Meeting with people (parties) – This is time to demonstrate Alpha male skills. Don your super alpha mode and give some real importance and respect to your child. And see how your child is becoming a true lion of today’s jungle. I strongly believe, we males should always bear our alpha male character that includes home as well as outside.
In general, a child is either studying, playing (leisure), sleeping, or in a social gathering. Besides this, a child can have other situations which are not very normal, so a father-friend has to analyze every single situation and act accordingly. The key to becoming of good father-friend is to be aware of his father-friend role every second.