Friend, philospher and guide: the evolving father-child bond (June 16 is Father’s Day)

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Ishaan Chawla, a student, is planning a motorbike road trip. Unlike others of his age, who would want their friends’ company for the adrenaline-rushing journey, this 22-year-old wants to make it memorable by teaming up with his father for the adventure.

“I know I’ll have to be way more patient with dad, in the sense that maybe stop for tea or a break every 50 km, but I guess it’s worth the experience to have his company. It will be a special boys’ trip out for me,” Ishaan told IANS.

Such is the friendly, warm, interactive and open turn that the father-child chemistry is taking nowadays.

Communication consultant Bhuvaneshwari Joshi says her bond with her father, who died a year ago, went beyond the traditional parent-child relationship.

“I was his best friend, guide, mother and a mentor. We spent time with each other and that’s what made our bond stronger. I lived his dreams and he respected my decisions,” said Joshi, explaining how the father-daughter bond had “matured” to “one about freedom of expression, mutual respect and understanding”.

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, said child psychiatrist Samir Parikh.

“One-dimensional strictness and one-dimensional leniency are dated. They don’t work. Two-way communication is the key because there is reciprocation of behaviour. If a parent shares his or her problem with the child, the child will do the same with them,” Parikh told IANS.

For long, boys and girls used to share their emotional side just with their mothers, while issues related to studies, career and finances were kept for daddy’s expert advice.

That has evolved.

Today, children are comfortable talking about anything under the sun with their dads – be it about their likes, dislikes, ambitions, girlfriends, boyfriends, career plans and holiday plans.

In the past, Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor has shared how he is comfortable having frank an practical discussions with his children – daughteres Sonam and Rhea and son Harshvardhan.

“If I don’t like the men they are dating, I won’t mince any words. I’ll tell them that the guy’s totally s***! But if they are with someone who’s very sensible, then I wouldn’t object to it,” Anil had said.

Youngsters even love to take their dads out for a drink, dinner, movie or even a session of bowling.

Giving an impetus to this changing bond are some exciting offers this Father’s Day – take your father out for a paintball game, or send him for a rejuvenating spa experience, or gift him a chance at a bungee jump or even a wardrobe makeover.

But the simple everyday things are most enjoyable for a lot of youngsters, they say.

Delhi-based software developer Mohit Jumrani, said: “Sometimes at home my dad and I sit and watch classic English films. Otherwise, we go for drives. It’s fun, especially when we both want to buy the same thing.”

“We both have similar thinking, want big things in life, care about family and friends equally. Personally, when I’m in doubt, I turn to him for advice and clarity,” he said.

Also, spending “quality” over “quantity” time is healthy for a father-child bond, said Amol Arora, vice chairman and managing director, SHEMROCK and SHEMFORD Group of Schools. That’s exactly the ideology he tries to impart to his school’s students.

“One should look for areas of mutual interest and spend time doing those activities together. Families need to switch off the TV and invest time in relationships, which will go a long way in creating a harmonious home and ultimately a harmonious society,” Arora told IANS.

Over the years, Bollywood, which is said to be a great influence on youth, has shown all shades of fathers – the strict father in Amrish Puri, the goofy one in Anupam Kher and a warm-hearted parent in Alok Nath.

But Farooque Sheikh’s latest portrayal of a friendly and liberal father, who talks whole-heartedly to his son, essayed by Ranbir Kapoor, in “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, seems to be closest to the evolving reality.

The film is about a son who loves his father but hates restrictions, and a father who simply lets his son live his dreams on his own terms.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])

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