Father-Son Relationship

Has modernization brought about a shift in the endearing father-son relationship?

Yes, times they are a changing. But is this change reflected in the relationships we share with different members of our family? Has modernisation injected its scientific discoveries and technological advancements on to our everyday relationships? What about the most endearing bond between fathers and sons…?

With the waning of the ‘disciplinarian father’ concept, which was a rule rather than an exception not so long ago, things have changed in the relationship quarters. Whether the signs are obvious or not, there is that underlying tug of love that is expressed without hesitation. In some ways, it has toned down the ‘respect your elders’ chant that was drilled into children born a few decades ago. There is, of course, respect, but it is a mutually shared one.

This may be a city trend than a universal one, but the fact that modern day father has broken the staid breadwinner stereotype had had a role to play in the change. The disciplinarian tag has also received a beating in the stress-riddled world, giving the father a wider berth to perform his duties and responsibilities. With psychologists drawing a strong connection between children who show positive social and emotional development and fathers who are demonstrative in their affection, overtly or otherwise, the father-son bond has found newer connotations.

But that is not to say that the modern day fathers are more loving than the fathers in the past, who sought respect and were disciplinarians. Today it is about bridging the generation gap, rather the emotional gap that existed when there was a mix of fear and respect for the father.

Academicians, who have studied the changing patterns of relationships, have found striking changes in the last couple of centuries. They maintain that each generation of fathers has passed on less power, less wisdom and even less love to their sons. It probably can be traced to the Industrial Revolution when fathers were out at work for most part of the day and even days at a stretch. It also altered the perception of masculinity, as it shifted from domestic involvement to family provider. Father then was the status symbol of the family.

While some may opine that things have not changed much since, as fathers continue to take their role of providers over vigorously, at times, at the cost of family bonding and the much needed father-son relationship, there are several generations of sons who have thrived in a positive family ambience. The onus, of course, is on the fathers to take stock of the situation and build the bonds and ensure that their sons do not go through the ‘lost father’ syndrome, which is common among boys and men who have not enjoyed the protection or nurturing from their fathers. There is that yearning in them for a father who will make them feel that they are perfect to be considered as men.

Often, the father-son relationship can be complex, more so during the adolescent stage. This is compounded further when feelings are not communicated with ease. While there is no single solution to help change this situation, there are little tasks and activities that could help build the relationship.

  • Begin by understanding the universal truth that sons are influenced by their fathers. The old dictum ‘like father, like son’ reflects it perfectly.
  • Find ways to develop common interests. When you do something together, anything that brings joy to both of you, you establish a platform for other things to share and do.
  • Make time to talk and listen what your son is saying. Show your interest in what he is saying by responding positively.
  • Throw ball or play some game in the backyard or in the neighbourhood park to assure your son that his fitness is important as is the bonding experience such play will provide.
  • Take up some DIY project with your son to boost his confidence in creating things on his own.
  • Dedicate time for a father-son talk. Make this a regular practice or save time during the weekends for that special bonding.

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