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5 harmful habits Indian fathers must give up

By Nimish Tanna
Last updated on: February 21, 2019 13:30 IST

A father shares two things with the child -- genes and dreams. Unfortunately, most fathers expect their children to pursue and complete their own unfulfilled dreams, says Nimish Tanna.

Before you ask your child to do/avoid something, ask yourself if you want to 'control' or 'care'?

Harmful habits fathers should give up

Photograph: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

Books on parenting, a relatively new fad, have caught up with young parents and how!

Almost all of these books indulge in habits that can influence the unborn child's health and morality as they grow up. 

However, if looked upon closely, a child is largely a product of his/her conditioning at home and society s/he grows up in.

Be it a girl or a boy, parents would always want them to grow up strong, safe and secure.

In pursuit of this very goal, they inadvertently tend to steer away onto the path of actions that may foul the way the child perceives and functions in their life.

Just like the mother knows what's best for the child, fathers have an important role in the upbringing too.

This calls for commitment. But for that, parents, especially fathers need to give up on some of these old traits.

1. Over-protectiveness

Be it a swimming pool, a running track, a swing in the garden or the edge of a bed; a father would go at lengths to prevent the child from falling.

This very attitude of preventing the child from falling/failing gradually transforms to over protectiveness.

Ask yourself: Who will prevent the fall once they grow up someday?

Instead of 'preventing' the fall, what if you could 'secure' the environment by placing an applicable cushion?

The child might still fall but at least be safe.

This way, they would learn what led to the fall and consciously avoid the mistake themselves the next time.

2. Control Vs. Care

The two words are different and fathers need to understand it more.

When you try to control your child, you expect them to behave in a certain way.

When the child does the opposite of what you force them to, you feel helpless and get angry. You condition them further. This is a cycle best avoided.

Caring is an emotion that needs no control.

If you really care for your child, you can share your opinion once or twice and then let them decide what’s good for them.

If they still don’t get it, you can find another way to do it.

Keep trying, but don't try to control them or their thoughts.

Before you ask your child to do/avoid something, ask yourself if you want to 'control' or 'care'?

3. Comparing your journeys

The phrase, 'Everyone has a story' is as true as 'Every story is different.'

The milieu in which you (the father) grew wise and successful will always be different from what the child is growing up with. Understanding this difference is critical.

Giving your child time and space to learn and grasp on their own will not only help them learn better but also help build an active thinking mind.

Your journeys are different. The sooner you realise this the better.

4. Your kaleidoscope

A father shares two things with the child -- genes and dreams.

Unfortunately, most fathers expect their children to pursue and complete their own unfulfilled dreams.

It is important to know if your child shares your vision and dream.

When you try to impose your dreams on your children, it becomes an obsession which will not only burden the child but may also lead to a strained relationship.

Dear fathers, don't try to be a kaleidoscope; stop seeing your life in symmetry with your child's.

5. Denial

Remember how simple life was during your childhood? Well, that is not the case today.

This tech-savvy generation has opened a new can of worms. You cannot deny that.

Imagine a formative mind trying to grasp the complex new ways of the world?

An adult mind cannot really empathise this phenomenon that a child goes through every day.

You might believe that their lives are more comfortable, but remember their minds are not.

It’s imperative to study your child's mood with an open mind to gain new insights.

They may not share your struggles and experiences, but they have their own set of challenges and pressures.

If you can try and understand their challenges, you may be able to communicate better and help solve their problems too.

 Lead image used for representational purposes only.

Nimish Tanna is the author of two books. His latest book Divyastra, a mythological fiction deals with a father-son conflict.

Nimish Tanna