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It has been 5 years since it hit me that my wife and I are no longer a ‘regular couple’ who had the freedom to do whatever we wanted to, go wherever we wanted to, eat whatever we wanted to and rest whenever we wanted to. Anyone reading this would probably think that we transitioned from our college lives to the professional world. But it is something more profound and meaningful that happened…we were blessed with our daughter Sanjana!
As a father, I clearly remember the day Sanjana was born at the hospital. By the way, keep in mind that I had not carried my daughter in my arms even after a few hours post her birth as I was very scared and anxious! It was a long day for my wife and I as we were in the labour room for almost 6 hours, so needless to say, we (Sanjana included now that she was born!) slept fairly early at night. But we were not prepared for what was to come next. It was 3 am in the early morning and Sanjana starts to cry. Both of us wake up and I ask my wife what to do next in order to pacify Sanjana – ”damn it…pick up the baby” exclaims my wife. Surely enough but after a lot of hesitation, Sanjana was in my arms for the first time. This was the most amazing moment of my life as she stops crying and enjoys being carried around like a queen in her father’s arms. Now that I look back at this moment I realized that my role as a dad had started that moment on.
Guys (Dad’s and to be dad’s) I want to share my experience of what I learnt over the course of the last few years as a father as I do hope that this will help you in some way to not just contribute but also cherish the moments of parenthood. The old school thought to a large extent was that it was the moms who would have to bear most of the responsibility of raising a child while the dad’s contributed only financially. However, as you all might agree with me that times have changed and both parents are now contributing to the upbringing of kids. Not everything is rosy when it comes to parenting as there are good days and then there are bad days.
Open communication – What I may see as just a small tantrum that my child throws could be something that has been brewing in their minds for a long time that my wife would have observed but I would not have realized. I must admit that it took me a long time to realize this and the only solution to handle a child when he/she is naughty is by keeping your communication channels open with your wife on a daily basis so that both have a clear understanding about what may be coming next from their kids. This way you are armed with the necessary solutions to manage your child’s behaviour and also allow us to make them understand as to why certain behaviours may be detrimental to them and to everyone in the family.
Take a step-back approach – We are all humans and there would be days when we do not have the required energy or mindset to handle our child. I have learnt that by simply scolding your child if they are naughty is not the right solution to help them learn from their mistakes. These are times when one of the parents who may not be in the right frame of mind should take a step back and allow the other parent to handle the situation. Chastising your child is only going to increase their tantrums and fussy mood
Don’t compare your child to others – We’ve all become competitive. Parents are engaging their kids in various activities from a very young age and this has led to other parents to follow suit as they feel that their kids should not be left out. If you do not enrol your child in a particular activity such as dance, sports, music, etc. the society will question you and this will lead to us parents questioning yourselves – this is the start of a new dimension in your lives of comparing your child to others kids. Itis is not necessary that your child has to be good in the same activities as other children.
Every child is unique and I realized that it is ok if my daughter does not like a certain activity. It is important to stop comparing and let your child enjoy their childhood as these golden days will never come back once they grow older. The day I realized this it just made our lives easier. Dancing and art were the only two courses that she is enrolled in as that is what she enjoys the most at present. I know that her preferences may change as and when she discovers her inner strengths.
My child is my best friend and I will never lie to her – I feel like parenting was so easy when my daughter was just a baby as all my wife and I had to ensure was that she was properly fed, bathed and put to bed. But now that Sanjana is 5 years old, she has developed a mind of her own and she has the ability to question and argue about various things in her life with proper logic to a large extent. I have learnt to never lie to my daughter and to answer the oh-so-famous questions such as “how are babies born?” – I can’t just say that they were dropped by the pelicans! Bad idea! If you don’t they will eventually find out! I have learnt that there is a way to make your child understand in the right way if they pose any hard questions. I have never lied to my child and this has only helped build a bond between us stronger.
At the end of the day, let your child enjoy their childhood and don’t lose the child in you as well. For life is too short to worry! Go with the flow and enjoy every moment with your family.
Rohan is a third-generation Bengalurean! He completed his undergrad in BBM from the centre for management studies (Jain University) & followed his dreams of pursuing his MBA from the USA. He lived & worked in the US for 11 years before transitioning back to India. He now manages his own family business of textiles & also enjoys his family time with his parents, wife & daughter.