Lying is taboo, courtesy still rules and housework is a must—ahead of International Women’s Day, we asked three fathers to share the advice they are likely to give their sons so that the boys find success in relationships with women.
Sandip Soparrkar to his three-and-a-half-year-old son Arjun
Right now my son is very young and his interaction with the opposite sex is limited. When he plays with his girl friends and sometimes misbehaves and throws their toys around or teases them, I make sure I tell him that this is the wrong way to behave with anyone, especially girls. I tell him that he should treat girls gently and should respect them and I think this advice will help him in the future too.
Sandip Soparrkar wants his son Arjun to know that men and women have different points of view on most subjects. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
As he grows up, the one thing that I’ll let him know is that women are a bit difficult to deal with. They think very differently from men, and so it’s best to put yourself in their shoes and then think from their point of view. Of course you don’t have to always give in and do what they say, but it’ll help if you can arrive at a middle path. Women need to be given their space and their opinion should be respected.
Indian men are always told that women should be doing the housework, but I would want my son to know that men must contribute equally in the housework as well. Give women their independence, treat them well and they’ll treat you better.
Navin Ansal to his nine-year-old son Imaan
It is too late to suggest anything to my older son Akarsh, who is 24, but I would want Imaan to know that when it comes to women, one thing a man must never forget are his manners. Being courteous and civil around women is very important and I see more and more guys forgetting this basic rule, now more than ever before. Sure men and women are equal, but that does not mean that a man should be using abusive language or displaying rowdy behaviour in the company of a woman.
From my wife Raseel and my daughter Noor, I have learnt that women have dreams that they believe in very strongly and that as men in their lives (whether as a father, son or husband) we must encourage them just as we want them to understand and encourage our ideas. The relationship between a man and woman is no longer based on who calls the shots or who controls what, but is at a level where both parties must communicate and exchange ideas for the relationship to flourish. I want my sons to be able to communicate with the women in their lives.
Syed Kirmani to his 19-year-old son Sadiq
Never make promises you can’t keep and never keep a girl in the dark about your intentions. If you lie, you are bound to be caught—bear that in mind for all relationships.
As far as marriage is concerned, I think it is mostly a gamble. You’ll get to know your partner really well only after you begin to live with her. One thing that you must never do is discuss what happens between the two of you with outsiders.
Syed Kirmani thinks his son Sadiq must be honest with the women in his life. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Friendships with girls don’t always have to be about complicated situations. It is very important for a man to have girls who are friends, because they will add a perspective to your life no male friend can.
Also, when and if fame comes your way, take measured decisions about which friend (male or female) is out to take advantage of you and who is not.
Another thing that I would like all my kids (my two daughters and my son) to always follow is that they must never try to sort out relationship issues when they are angry or the other person is angry. Wait for the anger to subside and then talk. I learnt this from my parents, and my wife and I follow this rule to date. It works.
As told to Rachana Nakra, Seema Chowdhry and Pavitra Jayaraman.
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