Becoming a father is nothing if not life changing. Paternal instincts may kick into high gear the moment a man hears his baby's cry after birth, once he holds his sweet bundle of joy for the first time, or some momentous occasion after. One thing is for certain: it’s not an easy road. The journey through parenting is sure to be met with a few bumps and bruises along the way. So Flair asked a few superheroes out there what is the one thing they learned the hard way about being a dad, something you did as a dad that if you could do it again, you would do differently. Here is what they had to say:
I would do everything I did, but more, so much more. There are several things that I didn't do or do as much as I should, like read to them consistently; make declarations over their life; discuss how to manage money and grow wealth. For a dad with girls, I should have given them more hugs. Yes, they hear I love you and I provide for them, but the actual one on one time and hugs every single day was missing from their lives.
K.W., father of two.
The only thing I can think of is less tablet time. Over the last week, I have been trying to do more books and playtime versus having my daughter on the tablet. You'd be surprised how they get hooked on that electronic device at a tender age. It's funny it was something I promised not to let happen, but when you get home from a long day of work and she asks for Moana or Frozen, what do you do? I'm trying to rectify it: now when I get in, its play blocks, read, counting and sometimes just play, with very limited tablet time.
M.T., Father of one.
I'm tempted to say picking the wrong mother for the children. You see, it's extremely important that you watch carefully the woman who mothers your children. She is the source of all graciousness, gratefulness, or lack thereof, in your children. When your child observes the attitude of the mother towards you, they tend to transfer that to their ideal of what the world is, as well as supposed to be. It's difficult to have to train the mother and the children to be grateful simultaneously, but a dad's gotta do what a dad's gotta do.
T.B., father of two
Putting on diapers for the first time is like a production, and it can be a pain. Feeding the formula: because we as adults have a higher threshold for pain than babies, when you test it on the back on your hand to see if it is warm or not, even if it seems nice and mellow for us, it might be still be a little too hot for the baby. Also, getting used to holding the baby properly as a newbie, can be a bit of a challenge, too, but after awhile, you get the hang of it.
K.C., father of one.
The major lesson I've learnt as a father so far is patience. It's a game with few rewards and many of my best efforts get little or no appreciation. When teaching lessons like tying shoes or instructing her to brush her teeth and bathe, it's a daily repeat. Believe me, my daughter still huffs and puffs for me to bathe her. That brings me to the next lesson: you cannot always spoon feed them. You have to let them figure stuff out on their own and develop a level of autonomy. Had I a second chance, I'd be inclined to direct her into activities that allowed for greater social interaction on her part. Not that she doesn't engage in social activities, but she still displays shyness in some situations.
M.S., father of one.
I would definitely not spoil my daughter so much because I'm feeling the brunt of it now: she knows how to get her own way with me. She knows what to say and what to do to get Daddy in her corner. So I wouldn't give her a seed to sow so many of her requests. Another thing is that I would do differently is that I wouldn't let her sleep in the bed with us when she was much younger, because she won't leave our bed alone now. I want back my bed: Daddy needs some intimate adult time with Mommy, too, and my daughter's blocking that.
K.P., father of one.
I've learnt that you have to strike a balance between stern and loving. You have to let them respect you as a parent and fear what you might think of them if they do wrong. A lot of persons don't want to disappoint their father: to do so is detrimental. At the same time, you have to be loving and supportive about anything that they want to do, things that you couldn't do as a child and they want to do now, you have to try to create that for them. I've learnt to be extremely supportive in anything my children desire to do or be.
J.J., father of two.
I love being a Dad. But if there was one thing I would do differently, it would be to be there more for my daughter and her Mom more when she was in the womb. Take more photos of the progress, make markings on the wall as her tummy grew, talk to her more while she was in the tummy.
J.W., father of one.
Roughing up your child at young age will leave him or her in fear of you for years to come. I learnt that the hard way. Children shouldn't be afraid of their parents or live in fear of them.
N.R., father of two
Having custody of my two boys from a very young age was a brand new experience for me.
It was difficult but when they got older, that's when the real test began. When they were around 14-16 years of age, I felt something was missing. It was the warmth, hugging, cuddling stuff that mothers give. That was absent, and I really wanted my boys to be around their mother: this kept haunting me. So one day, when the older one was old enough, I told him that he should live with his mom. Well, he did. Big mistake. I can't express the feeling of sadness and emptiness that hung over me for years, even up until this day. I love my boys more than anything in this world, they mean so much to me, and I feel, looking back, it was a bad decision.
J.D., father of two.
I would have to say rushing my kids. And by rushing I mean, telling them to hurry up from the park to get home and have dinner, or hurry up so you can take bath. Stopping them from running around because we have to go somewhere else. I realise I missed a lot because I didn't just enjoy whatever they were doing. Life is short, if they are enjoying something, don't rush them to finish. Enjoy it, too. Enjoy it with them.
G.H, father of three.