Be­ing there for ju­nior dads are ex­pected to step up and do more than the tra­di­tional fa­ther role — and rightly so

WKND - - Paternal Instinct -

Un­like Nasif, 38- year- old Jayson Araneta didn’t get to spend a lot of his child­hood with his fa­ther, but he does spend ev­ery wak­ing mo­ment with his two- year- old daugh­ter, Jewel. Jayson re­calls the time in his child­hood when he stayed in the Philip­pines and his fa­ther was of­ten go­ing to far­away coun­tries, like Saudi Ara­bia, to work and sup­port the fam­ily. “Ever since I was about six years old, I got to see my fa­ther for a month, once ev­ery year, when he took his an­nual leave. My mother raised us,” he adds, a bit melan­choli­cally. He rem­i­nisces a sim­ple time when his fa­ther used to re­turn, and how his four other sib­lings, all boys, would scram­ble for their fa­ther’s at­ten­tion. “He used to take us out for a sweet treat but, most of the time, we would be at home. He also helped us with school­work and taught us maths and sci­ence dur­ing the time he was with us. That’s one of the things I re­mem­ber about him,” he adds.

But the great­est les­son, Jayson says he has learnt from his fa­ther, is the im­por­tance of be­ing there for your chil­dren. “As a fa­ther, it is my duty, and all fathers, to pro­vide for their fam­ily. And some­times, dad sep­a­rated when I was young. I have a very small fam­ily, and my mother put her­self through univer­sity as a sin­gle par­ent when I was grow­ing up. As the old­est of three kids, I was kind of the ‘ man of the house’. We did spend a lot of time with my aunt and grand­par­ents. When my par­ents sep­a­rated, and we weren’t a fam­ily unit, it made me de­ter­mined to al­ways be around for my kids.”

The thing Dom re­mem­bers most about his fa­ther is the week­ends he would spend with him af­ter his par­ents split. “I re­mem­ber it feel­ing like a mini­hol­i­day and we would do stuff we couldn’t nor­mally get away with when mom was around. My dad was cool when we were grow­ing up; I don’t re­ally have any mem­ory of get­ting told off by him. I guess that’s why I’m a soft touch with my kids!” he says.

Dom doesn’t dis­cour­age a bit of mis­chief with his own daugh gh- ters; per­haps, he says, it’s some­thing he picked up from his fa­ther be­fore him. “When it’s just me and my girls, we are al­ways up MIS­CHIEF MAN: Dom Robin­son lets his two daugh­ters, Matilda and Paloma, let loose when he is around

to mis­chief, which of­ten raises a few eyebrows with my wife! Ear­lier this week, for ex­am­ple, Paloma and I watched a movie and shared a biryani when every­one else had gone to bed. Great fun!”

Both Dom and his wife work, so rais­ing the kids is a team ef­fort, he says. “We still bicker about whose turn it is to change the nappy — es­pe­cially if it’s a stinky one,” he says, laugh­ing. “I def­i­nitely think the role of dads, in some so­ci­eties, has changed im­mea­sur­ably from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions,” he adds. “It’s not un­com­mon for me to plait my daugh­ter’s hair or take ei­ther of them to a play date. I’m some­times one of the only dads at kids’ par­ties and school events. My wife is from South Amer­ica and the dads there are still much more old school. So there is an el­e­ment of cul­tural dif­fer­ences work­ing as well.

“When I was grow­ing up, the role of the dad was to go to work while mum stayed at home to cook and look af­ter the kids,” says Dom. “I think, today, the onus is still on the dad to sup­port his fam­ily but, on the other hand, more and more fam­i­lies have both par­ents work­ing. That means dads are ex­pected to step up and do more than the tra­di­tional fa­ther role re­quired — and rightly so!” he adds.

Of course, it’s eas­ier said than done in a place like Dubai, says Dom, es­pe­cially when fam­i­lies re­sort to get­ting a maid or nanny. “I do think that a lot of guys feel they should spend more time with their kids, but are un­able to do so, re­sult­ing in an aw­ful lot of kids be­ing brought up by maids or nan­nies.” Dom’s ad­vice to new dads? “Hav­ing a suc­cess­ful fam­ily unit is all about team­work. So, as there are two par­ents in­volved, it makes sense that both are equally im­por­tant and should con­trib­ute equally to bring­ing up the kids to be the best they can be. Also, I have two girls, so, not as a dad, but as a par­ent in gen­eral, al­ways lis­ten to your kids and have their best in­ter­ests at heart. As long as they are happy do­ing what they are do­ing, be happy for them.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.