With more gender equality and perhaps the need for a higher household income to better-provide for the family these days, more women have entered the workforce – mothers included. And with their working wives having less time to spend on domestic duties, some fathers have stepped up to help out. But, there is also a growing breed of what we would call “modern” dads, who are more hands-on with parenting – perhaps just as much as their wives are. Here are four characteristics of these new-age daddies.
Being actively involved
Charles Pereira, 45, father of nine-year-old Tiana and fourteen-year-old Seamus, says he and his wife spend equal amounts of time with their children. But, they each nurture them in different aspects. While his wife will engage them in crafts and help them with languages, he helps them with Math and spends his quality time with the kiddos by enjoying a round of board games or teaching them how to play different sports.
Showing the love
Traditionally, fathers do not express as much affection to their children as mothers do. It is always the mothers tucking little ones into bed, or kissing foreheads during an illness. Many fathers often take a backseat in that aspect. Modern dads, however, are more open to showing their sensitive sides. For Aloysius Hong, 36, he ensures that he hugs and kisses his six-year-old twin boys Fynn and Jayren before they go off to school and before bed, and says “I love you” to them once a day. This is vastly different from how things were like for him as a child.
“I knew my father cared about us by asking us to eat more during dinner and in his own silent way, but we never spoke much, so we weren’t close. My mum would hug me on occasions like Christmas or birthdays, but I never had that with my dad.”
Doling out discipline
When reprimanding their kids, modern fathers would rather spare the rod, and focus on reasoning to explain wrongdoings before dishing out suitable punishments. Aloysius is one of them. Unlike his own father who used to cane him for misbehaving, he does not think that pain is a good consequence as he feels it won’t achieve anything except create unnecessary fear of him in his kids.
Blending old with new
At a glance, it may seem like modern dads are veering away from traditional ways of their fathers and coming up with their own parenting methods, focused on nurturing and communication. However, it’s not to say that old ways are completely being thrown out of the window. The way we see it, it’s all about taking what you’ve learnt from your own parents, adapting it, and mixing it with what works for you.
Bonding with your child
Here are three of our favourite ideas for some daddy-kid quality time!
- Play games
Video games are meant for kids, but grown-ups like them too. Plus, playing with your child is a good way to monitor the games they play and control the amount of time they spend on them.
- Cook together
Your child should know there’s more to life than microwaved pizzas. If ready-to-eat food is the extent of your own culinary skills, it’s never too late to right the course. You can experiment and learn together.
- Outdoor adventures
Take your child cycling along a nature trail. Or a trip to the park for flying a kite or a radio-controlled air plane may also appeal to younger kids. Even a short ride on the bus or MRT can be a great adventure in itself for younger kids.
Whether you consider yourself a modern dad or not, the most important thing is to do what you think is best for your child, while being open-minded. This way, you’re constantly improving yourself as a parent, in turn strengthening your relationship with your precious one.