When we were very young, most of us would almost always cling to our mom’s shoulder, and always expressed our love for her physically, by hugging her or kissing her. Our mothers also used to love us back in the same way, and on Mother’s day, I remember how I bought gifts for her and gave her a morning kiss.
However, most of us never did this with our fathers, we seldom hugged him, or even said ‘I love you’ out loud to him. We always felt the protective cape around us, but I always wondered why the affection of fathers goes unexpressed. Now, we don’t mean our fathers didn’t love us, he just had very little space for display of affection somehow.
But, growing up, one thing that I realized is that the affection of fathers, almost everywhere, is very understated. A father’s way of expressing love for his children is quite different from that of a mother. Ever since a woman expects a child, she develops a special bond with her child and keeps him in her womb for 9 long months, and then goes through agonizing pain to finally bring him to the Earth. Physically, it is always the mother who goes through the pain to give birth to a child, and this is the major reason, a father’s affection sometimes goes unnoticed.
Right from the moment a child is born, before he knows anything about the world, he knows one thing, that his father is a hero. He is the personification for safety, the anchor of emotional support for the child’s mother, and much more. It is generally seen that children are happier around their fathers, perhaps because fathers save them from their mother’s scoldings and the children know they can always fall back on their fathers, even when they have done something wrong and return home being all guilty about it.
Father-son relationship: the unnoticed father’s affection
This gap in terms of expression of affection is more evident in the cases of a father-son relationship. While many dads are seen to express their love to their daughters publically by hugging them, and entertaining intimacy from them, this generally isn’t the case with their sons.
A father’s way of expressing love
It is generally seen that most fathers shy away in expressing their love and affection, especially for their sons. They do love them, are always there for them, to guide them, to be there as a mentor, and most of the things children learn about finance and the money market are because of the priceless teachings of their fathers.
A father devotes his life to his children, trying to shape them into better persons. He just has different ways to express his love. He will spend that extra hour in the office to gift you that new video game on your birthday, he will willingly be the bad guy in front of your mom only to save you from her long lectures, he will let you fall in life sometimes only to teach you how to get up and be the hero of your own life. Such is the affection of fathers.
Now, come on, we cannot dislike them only because they don’t say I love you to us every other day. (Also, we know that they do 🙂 )
Why is this gap more evident in the case of sons?
Now that we’ve sort of established that fathers all around the world have an understated relationship with their children, there is a greater question that lingers. Why this difference between the affection of fathers in the cases of their sons and daughters?
Well, it has to do with gender, obviously. We believe it is this little tension between intimacy or a father’s affection, and masculinity. A son’s relationship with fathers’ is ruled by cultural expectations and the conventional ideas of masculinity.
The relationship between a son and a father is a relationship between two males, males who are expected to be emotionally strong and less sensitive, men who are believed to support each other, just not emotionally, perhaps. The idea that men are supposed to act with each other is also applicable to a father-son relationship, which is bound to create physical tension between them. Hence, it is natural for people to not be able to see the affection of fathers from outside, but well, it certainly does exist!
The need to honor this relationship
Often it is seen that mothers or maybe other people make it seem like mothers love the children more than their fathers do. Well, firstly, this is not a competition. Children are supposed to be loved, by both their parents, and it’s good if you do your part well. Secondly, fathers generally shy away from expressing their love, and we think it’s okay.
Most of the time, the affection of fathers and their relationships with their children might seem to an outsider as cold and indifferent, but it’s just the opposite of that. You can never judge what two people feel about each other. Children’s relationship with the father is distinct and incomparable in its own way, and it needs to be left that way.
Someone might sing praises of your beauty for days and might still not love you like the person who sits in silence and makes sure you do not have to go through anything alone.
A little tip
While we utterly believe in honoring and respecting a father’s way of expressive love, in its own unique and beautiful way, we do understand men’s need to be loved and to feel like they’re loved. A father’s affection towards his son will grow manifold times if it is expressed out aloud sometimes.
So, dear fathers, the next time your son brings home an achievement, do not hesitate in telling him how you’re proud of him, or the next time he brings you a gift, tell him that you love him. Your sons need this and trust us, you need this too!