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Don’t run away mom, make his fatherhood memorable

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Do you wonder why fatherhood is so underrated as compared to motherhood? There would be many who will be advising on how to be a good dad to the expectant fathers, but do they really address the challenges what might come in parenting? They are carers, role models, partners, companions, moral guides, teachers, playmates. They make a crucial contribution to family life through the time and money they contribute to the household, the support they provide to mothers, through their daily contact with their children; but mostly because they love their children passionately and remain loyal to them for life. As a child who wouldn’t want that?

But fatherhood takes practice just like any other skill, mostly we forget that the only reason we know about cars or football or computers is that we have spent long hours thinking about, talking about, using and dismantling, pushing buttons, making mistakes, making them crash (cars & computers, of course!), following and reading about and (if you are anywhere near the average man) obsessing about them. If we spent as much time thinking about our children we would be Einstein Dad’s.

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This touching photo of a little boy saying goodbye to his father one last time.

Modern Capitalism (just like old-fashioned Capitalism) promotes those divisions of labor which maximize productivity. This means that they get to see less of their children. Many of them caught up in the business of making their way in the world do not even realize what they are missing until it is too late. However more men are challenging this: David Beckham to his credit very publicly put his child before his training schedule at Manchester United. Explaining why he missed training before the Leeds game, Beckham said: ‘‘I put my duty as a father and the health of my son ahead of my football. I think I would always do that. Any parent would, in the same circumstances. Being involved is being involved whether you work at a job or work at being a father: men who are closely involved in being fathers are more, not less, likely to be successful at work – men who care, care about their work as well as their children – it’s not an either / or situation.”

Fatherhood is Challenging Yet So Special

Pregnancy can be a time of change, great stress, or even crisis for expectant, first time fathers. Midwives and health visitors need to be alert to signs of depression or anxiety: 1 in 10 fathers are significantly depressed 6 weeks after the birth. There are a number of things that can be done – these are suggestions to health visitors but can equally be used by anyone in contact with new fathers.

Meaning of fatherhood is much complex than it appears. Being a good father is actually tough that a father cannot do this without the desired support from the mother. After birth, Fathers need time, support and encouragement to develop bonds with the child. They often feel left out of childcare because, just as with first time mothers, they don’t have the skills. If the expectation is that the mother will be the one to develop these skills then the father can begin to feel useless, and resentful of the attention the child is getting that he once received. Mothers are not ‘natural’ experts – left in charge of babies, men and women develop skills at exactly the same rate.

The attitude of ‘Well, why doesn’t he grow up and take some responsibility for looking after the mother?’ is not helpful if he doesn’t know how to. He may be experiencing a variety of emotions: confusion, anxiety, helplessness. When men have these feelings (which quite often they don’t acknowledge they have even to themselves) they can react with anger which may take the form of withdrawal or indifference or being excessively demanding or trying to reinforce the status quo prior to the birth.

An example of this is holding on to rigid rules and the rationales behind those rules: ‘I always go out on Friday night – I need it after a hard week’s work.’ Often their resentment at feeling left out does not allow them to feel the empathy they should with their partner and to recognize that the workload in the home has gone up significantly with the arrival of the child.

The woman by contrast, who may also be unsure of herself and her skills, will often concentrate on developing them as a way of coping and because she feels it is expected of her. Her attention to the child will leave the father out, reinforcing his sense of uselessness.

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It is hard to recognize the fear that lies behind the suppressed anger or apparent indifference of fathers. They don’t know what to do and feel unsupported. The male response is to try to regain control by pretending nothing is happening or reinforcing habitual behavior: business as usual. Or perhaps spending more time with their mates where they might expect more sympathy. This male bonding while helpful up to a point can become destructive if it takes him too far away from his partner and the baby.

It might help to offer an opportunity to talk by engaging him in an activity – changing nappies may be a way of helping him develop skills with the child at the same time or if this seems
difficult, sorting the washing – a domestic chore that will be escalating.

Unless you have got your head under the bonnet of a car or your arm around a rugby ball or your brain around some complicated problem it’s hell being a man. Instead of having their feelings acknowledged they are often suppressed as with the almost too common to mention ‘big boys don’t cry’ routine. Well if they are not going to cry when something hurts them physically or emotionally what are they going to do?

It may be possible to help him to some recognition of what he feels by offering an explicit acknowledgement of how he appears.

‘You seem sad about having to go to work every day and not seeing your daughter/son.’

‘I notice that you appear to be angry when you are making the feed/holding your child ‘
‘You seem tense.’

‘If I had a new child and wasn’t used to holding him/her then I think I would feel a bit scared/unsure/nervous.’

Obviously these will need to be adapted to the situation that you find yourself in with the father – what is important is that you pay him some attention – thinking about these questions helps to think about the person before you. It is not easy to be around someone who is resentful or scared AND making it difficult to get through to them by being ‘male’ , but for the ultimate good of the family it is worth trying.

If you can be connected with someone even with difficult feelings, you are more likely to be able to understand what they are likely to do than if you are disconnected from them. People who are cut off or cut themselves off because they don’t know any other route become dangerous. We know men have this potential to a greater degree than women because that is how they are brought up: to be distancing and competitive. Having a child with someone is not the time to be exercising these characteristics. Those in contact with men who are new fathers can help them find a better way.

Don’t run mum, make his fatherhood memorable

Men often go about things differently from women – it is useful to stop and consider if there is some value in his method of doing things. There may not be of course but what needs to be recognized is that men are often not given the credit for trying because they are apparently not doing it very well.

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Give him some credit, listen to the logic behind what he is doing and make some suggestions. Consider whether telling him what to do is effective or not – sometimes it may be: some men like to be told, it makes them feel more secure. Others don’t – it’s like a rag to a bull.

Do What Need To Be Done:

‘I feel a bit worried when you throw her up in the air that way. Babies have delicate necks and she might get hurt. Why don’t you try holding her this way.’

‘Look, you’re doing it all wrong, this is the way to hold a baby.’

Either of these approaches might work or neither of them. There are no formulas for understanding men any more than there are for understanding women. It might be useful to read some of the pop psychology books: Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand or John Gray’s Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. You might get some ideas but don’t rely on them – rely on your own skills and intuitions. Remember if you feel nervous it may be because you are experiencing hostility from some frightened man who is using aggressive, controlling tactics to try to pretend to be Mr. Cool and Logical.

Men are supposed to be logical (unlike women who are supposed to be emotional) and when cornered try to use it because it makes them feel better and staves off the fear of being wrong. I use the term logic loosely here of course since most men have little more idea of what logic might be than a whippet. Probably less. What being logical often means is arguing, not shifting an inch from what they think and not showing any feelings or if they must, resorting to anger and shouting. This is not useful.

Also read: Motherhood: Pre-Natal & Post-Natal Care

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Irony of Happy Muharram – A Light Hearted Narrative Of Serious Issues

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Someone said, “Anything can happen over a cup of coffee”. I would like to add one more line in this. Alternatively, you can say that I want to modify this with some twist, “Anything can happen over a cup of coffee especially in India”.

People are so much addicted to talking that they are ready to talk about anything and evening tea is a fantastic option for talking about things. People are an expert in giving views and what is better than discussing lives of Indian Muslims with family over an evening cup of tea, which in any way does not claim to be authoritative and specialized, yet it is the funniest discussion one can have.

Indian Muslims have always been in headlines. However, there is no logical reason for this. Yet, for many weird and funny reasons. Mr. Sayed Amjad Ali since living in India for years discovered that he is not allowed to vote of his name has been changed to “Shaheer Amar Ali” automatically. This is not the case only with Sayed Amjad Ali where he has faced this thing.

Many Indian Muslims have faced this thing in past or are facing it currently. Maybe, because Z is much easier than S and hence, many Muslims have been a victim of this name change. However, it is easy to say that this is just normal govt apathy, these mistakes are not limited to Muslims and you are right but they are more common among Muslims because after so many years we are still considered an unknown entity.  

People are always like this way. They talk about things, make fun of things, name, people and their cultures irrespective of thinking that it might hurt them. However, what is more, depressing is their behavior towards Indian Muslims. They have always been seen with a different eye. This book is merely an attempt to show what an average Indian Muslim’s life is like; the good the bad and the ugly.

The book is based on rambling discussions over endless cups of tea and does not in any way claim to be an authoritative or specialized work. It merely aims to give a peep into the life and times of an average Indian Muslim who, based on my personal experiences, is an enigma for most people.

The book “Irony of Happy Muharram” authored by Syed Amjad Ali is filled with such experiences. Some of them will make you laugh, some of them will make you sad but in the end, everything will leave you with a question that whether this differential behavior is good for society or not. After all, humanity is all that we need irrespective of caste, religion and other things that make us do these things.

The irony of Happy Muharram – The Blurb

Happy muharram irony, author syed amzad ali, muharram wallpaper

What does it mean to be an Indian Muslim in today’s day and age? If you have ever wondered about the answer to this question then this is the book for you. Find the answer to all those questions you have always wanted to ask about Muslim marriages, divorce and many other issues; but be prepared for the fact that the average Indian muslim is just like everyone else.

The main attempt of the book is to highlight, with the help of humour, that India is a huge country with many different communities and just as each community has its own customs and rituals so do Muslims but this does not in any way lessen any aspect of their Indian identity. 

A light hearted look at serious issues

If we see the world from a different perspective, you will come to know that the world is a beautiful place and is filled with people from every religion, community and they celebrate different festivals. Have you ever noticed that during festivals, how the markets, malls, shopping centers’ are decorated beautifully decorated and everyone unites to celebrate those festivals irrespective of religion? If festivals are celebrated with so much of equality, enthusiasm, love, and respect then why can’t we be the same in normal days?

Additionally, the political system in India is also a factor that contributes to this indifference. Political leaders and political parties for the sake of their personal interest to win seats in parliament do this vote bank politics. Caste-based politics is also one main factor.

No matter how many schools are opening every year in cities, kids are getting the high-class education and getting jobs in MNC. But the sad part is despite getting so much education and working for good companies, their thinking is also the same.

People want to live a lifestyle that meets their every expectation. They will replace a broken vase but are not ready to change their broken mentality about Indian Muslims. How will the country work? In which direction are we all heading?

Nevertheless, as they say, a ray of hope is sufficient to provide sunlight to a completely dark room.

In a similar manner, let us get hopeful as the current generation by the grace of God is above all and are not of feud mentality and neither they favor all this differential behavior towards Indian Muslims and other community. They believe in equality in every field and this may be taken as a positive step towards a different India, Powerful India.  

Read this hilarious yet funny story in all new form. Grab a copy of ‘The irony of Happy Muharram’ by Syed Amjad Ali at: The Irony of Happy Muharram

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Muslim boy evinces the problems of Muslims in India, and it’s not funny

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Why do Muslims have such a high population growth rate? Why do not they favor uniform civil code? What about the rights of Muslim women in India? Why Triple Talaq? Questions are many, that are being fired by ‘Virat’ social media warriors and then these are easily picked by ‘Pseudo’ liberals, not to answer these but to counter-question them. They use the ‘Muslim’ word/world for their own agenda and that revamps the hateful questions from form to another – Why are many Indian Muslims seen as untouchable? Why Government is oppressing Muslims? But amidst all this ruckus of downright nonsensical questions, one thing that is irrefutable about the Muslims in India that they love India and India loves them.

While wandering on Quora, I found a question gleaming on my timeline “What problems are Muslims facing in India?”, considering it another idiotic ‘agenda-driven’ audit, I was about to move on and then I saw this answer by a Muslim boy who revealed his ‘real’ problems in India and it touched my heart.

The ‘Real’ problems of Muslims in India

islamMuch has been said about ‘Secular Fabric’ theories in India, newspapers have inked reams of paper, we have a long list of politicians who are thriving on ‘secularism’ and the intellectual society that is showering hypothetical cynicism in our society; I believe most of them make their ‘invaluable’ opinions sitting in their air-conditioned rooms without going through a grassroots’ survey.

The secularism written on a piece of paper, shouted in TV debates is far aloof from the secularism practiced in reality. Secularism is something new, but ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb‘ is an age-old tradition being followed by Hindus and Muslims with an unwavering  fidelity. Secularist hullabaloo dwells in TV debates and political spheres but ‘the real secularism’ lives in INDIA, in our hearts, in our veins.

There are some who sneer and cough in the times of rising intolerance and agenda-driven hatred, but here are many who know to smile in every milieu.

Yes! Being a Muslim I face many problems in India!

In School: Friends waited for me to snatch my tiff-in box for delicious Biryani and Kababs. I faced problems when all of them visited me at home on EID. I felt bad when I was spared from punishments during Ramzan. It was troublesome to visit each and everyone’s home on Diwali and other festivals.
In college: I again faced problems when my roommate in hostel made arrangements for me to offer Namaz. I got very angry when my college professor gave me enough liberty for attendance just to make sure I am offering my prayers on Fridays.
In office: During Ramzan, I faced problems being a muslim in India because every other individual wanted to offer me Iftar. Surprisingly, they even remembered my Namaz timings. I faced problems when my manager reduced my work load during those days and threw an Iftar party with people of every religion sitting beside me.

Jai Hind!
Mohammad Kashif

Here, Mokarram Iqbal tells how he have been lucky to live in a society that treats everyone equal regardless of their religious beliefs, while putting his experiences forward he opines it is the ‘Education‘ that makes the difference not the religion.

I don’t think I ever faced any problem regarding of my religious links rather I have been blessed and cared for being a follower of Islam in India. May be this is because my upbringing was in very favorable and great society. The major concern as if I can see is the “lack of education in the Muslim masses” that’s why they feel insecure to the majority masses. I lived 18 years of my precious life in a colony where we are only Muslim family and we are hell respected . I have got great friends who are not from my religion. I never got a single call of feeling problematic and insecure inside. In Ramzan when we were at fast, none of our teachers would even make us stand for punishment, this is not because they were afraid that we are Muslims but because they respect us. The major problem is the conventional approach of Indian Muslim society. May be in many parts of India any injustice is done to Islamic population but that doesn’t apply to general masses. Education stature of Indian Muslims must be enhanced and every problem will vanish. “I always feel safe and happy in India because I know I am living in the security of 100 million of Indian who follow Hinduism , Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity.”

Mokarram Iqbal

And while everyone was putting their sentiments forward, here comes a #BrutallyHonest answer from Abdullah Al Faruque who evinces – Yes, Muslims in India are facing many problems that might or might not be associated with other religions. There are all kinds of problems Muslims face in India. Some of these “problems” may be across religions and culture while some may be community specific. But they are there. Muslims do not face any problem in India which is a lie. A big lie! The first step towards solving a problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Denial does not help.

High population growth rate: There are many reasons for this. Lack of family planning, overall economic backwardness, unwillingness to use contraception (due to the perceived “evil” nature of contraceptives and accepting high birth rates as gift from God), lack of awareness and ignorance among Muslim women, marriage at young age (especially females) etc. are among the major reasons. And this has hampered the Muslims more than any other community. The Muslim community must look within and not be intimidated/antagonized by such elements and lose track of the problem. There has been a good decline in the fertility rate of Muslims in India and the trend must continue. The xenophobia among some non-Muslims related to this is absurd though! Analyzing the whole problem will nullify any misplaced notion on this issue which is generally fueled by propaganda.
Gender inequality:  Although this is a problem which is present across religions and cultures in India, Indian Muslims have the worst record for this. The reasons are high percentage of Muslims in agrarian and “physical labour focused” sectors, over-dependence on clergy in personal matters like marriage and divorce, marrying off girls at a young age, discouraging higher education among women (due to the age old “Indian” fear of not being able to find a groom) etc. It is absolutely incumbent for Muslim women to lead from the front in this regard. The victims have to make the loudest noise. And I am glad to say that it has already started in India. It won’t be eradicated completely in even the next 5–10 years but such change is seldom achieved in a haste.
Religious conservatism and intolerance: There…. I said it! I would like Indian Muslims to look at this issue rationally. I’m not going to quote verses here but will try to discuss this issue with nothing but logic. The main claim that fuels Islamic conservatism is that Islam is for eternity and it is perfect. OK! Let’s try and make sense of this. If the religion is for eternity, then it has to re-align itself with changing times to be conducive for progress. Change and progress are realities which only fools will deny. The modern world is radically different from what it was in the 7th century. We now know many things about the world which have never been mentioned explicitly in any of the religious texts.

“There are many other problems that Indian Muslims face but, in my opinion, these are the major ones. Most of the unmentioned problems here (poverty, illiteracy, political exploitation etc.) are common (both in size and scale) across the board which just proves my point of how Indian Muslims have integrated with the Indian culture now. Also, I think I must add that this answer might come across as pessimistic and rude to many but the question was about “problems that Indian Muslims face” and not how I party with my non-Muslim friends which of course I do and enjoy a lot,” further he says concluding his most rational reply in the thread.

When we talk about intolerance, paid-rioters, agenda-driven politics and TRP-thirsy media, we often ignore the fact that not all the fingers are same. Beliefs do not make anyone good or bad, every religion, be it Hinduism or Islam, has it’s own set of fanatic theories and blood-thirsty clerics, call them parasites who thrive on other’s blood and money. A rational approach is the need of hour, rules and verses were written in other times, if they are relevant in present times, follow them, if not – flout them.

Also read: A MADRASA THAT TEACHES SANSKRIT TO MUSLIMS

Muslims in India , Funny problems with Islam, muslims opression in indian army, hindu muslim harmony, hindu girl muslim boy love jihad

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