Chennai: There are two things most men in our country would associate the term ‘rough and tough’ with — the once-popular denim brand and, well, their father. Until the previous generation, at least for boys, fathers generally were stern, hard to talk to and unfriendly, especially in their growing years.
It was perfectly alright then and was regarded as the ideal fatherhood. The modern day fathers are not only friendlier with their kids but make it a point to spend more time with them and provide emotional support just like their mothers do.
Actor Suriya, who is a father of two kids — Diya and Dev, says he bathes his kids, puts them into sleep and spends daddy-only time whenever he is home. “Putting them into sleep is the best part. That way, That way I get to talk to them a lot, tell them stories and answer their queries,” he says. Suriya says it was an eye-opener for himself and wife Jyothika to see fathers accompanying children in the US whether it was to school, gymnastics, museum or even to park.
“They weren’t busy in their own world talking over the phone or working on the laptop. When they were with kids, they were only with them,” he says. Suriya envies Jyothika for being a perfect parent and says he has been trying his best to match her.
Actor Arun Vijay says the father-son relationship has evolved to a new level where they can be like pals. “My relationship with my father and my kids’ relationship with me are completely different. I would say my father kept his distance when I was a kid. I couldn’t have raised an objection to my father’s word. But kids of this generation question a lot and I think it’s our responsibility to answer them, says Arun Vijay, who is also a father of two kids — Purvi and Arnav Vijay.
What is important is that a friendlier father doesn’t mean budging to children’s every demand. Dads should know the art of saying no and making the children understand their dad is correct. “My two-and-half year old son frowns at me if I raise my voice. He just wants me to explain to him in a kind way why he shouldn’t do something,” says Arun Vijay.
Psychologist Anita Mohan says a father should balance both being friendly with kids and being a consistent parent that they don’t take you for granted. “Parents have to be strict when they have to, but not in a strict way. Talking them down is not fine because how we treat them matters a lot. When a child feels accepted, its self-confidence increases manifold. That’s what the ideal parenthood is about — to convey to them that you are there for them.”...