However, society is changing and is finally slowly accepting dad as an equal to mom. Dads go on paternity leave, are busy with the kids and don’t “help” raise, but raise the kids.
Exclusive interview Delphi for the Family interviewer Paulius talked about his own special relationship with being a father. After experiencing his father’s betrayal as a child, when he chose another woman and a new family, he now tries to be to his son everything that his father was not to him. “Since the birth of my son, I have realized that his well-being is the main goal of my life,” says Paulius, who is not just a shadow who occasionally contributes to the family.
– Do you remember the feeling when you first found out that you will be a father? In movies, and probably in life, that moment is mystified, often idealized, women often expect a certain reaction from men, but they don’t always get it. How did you experience and feel the news?
– My wife and I are normal, ordinary people who share a household, relationships, good and bad emotions, so we react to things very casually. The child was long awaited, we tried to get pregnant for more than a year. After a while, we simply stopped seeing pregnancy as a goal. We just lived, worked, planned, and after a short escape from the city, life started by the sea. We didn’t think about anything, we didn’t try to follow any advice and the like, we just had a good time.
After a while, after I went out to smoke at work, my wife called and said that I was going to be a father. The reaction was very underplayed. Out of joy, I just said “come on…”. And in the heart, it seems, fountains, hurricanes and, of course, tears of joy.
I think it’s a very intimate moment. It doesn’t have to be ideal according to some standards. This is a moment for those people and it should just be natural, whatever it is.
– Have you thought, planned, what kind of father you will be? Why?
– I always knew that I would love my child and he will never doubt that. I hug my child every day, not just before bed, just when I feel like it. I tell him I love him as we stand at traffic lights, picking him up from school, wiping him off after the shower. It doesn’t have to have a specific place or time.
I don’t know when anything might happen to me or him, but I want him to always know that he is loved and important. Only then can we be family and best friends. Even if he is scolded for some pranks, he knows that I will hug him soon. I dream that when my son grows up, we will still be good friends.
– Tell us about your own childhood and adolescence. What was your relationship like with your dad?
– My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. My sister stayed with my mother in Kaunas, for a while I also lived in Kaunas with my father. But later he married another woman and took me to a small town near Šiauliai.
I loved my dad very much from my childhood, he was closer to me than my mother. She was very hysterical then, I can’t judge her, my mother was only 17 when I was born. Dad was a year older than mom. He really loved me and tried, but he was weak in character.
When he started living with his stepmother, the manipulations began. Dad kept complaining about me, and he kept complaining about me. I’m a teenager who both broke a window and got into a fight, and who hasn’t? The stepmother treated it like the biggest criminals. And if dad came back with a smell, I would listen to how bad he was, etc
So, little by little, we moved on. Dad was between two sides and in this case I became an outsider. Especially when their common child was born.
Over time, the manipulation only increased, I don’t know why. I wasn’t some different kid than the others. I had an average education, earned some money, like all teenagers, but it was not treated as teenage antics, but as a tendency to do bad things. Apparently, after a few years, Dad believed it and I was already over the line. I was punished by working in the garden, in construction (my father was building a house). Friends in the yard came to ask my parents to let me out to play basketball in the yard, because they saw me digging or digging, and even one-year-olds felt sorry for me.
Maybe 16 years old I met a girl I like. I started to stand up for myself, I didn’t lower my head, but I didn’t tear my eyes either, because my stepmother kept threatening me that she wouldn’t give me food or take me into the house, because I didn’t want to be bullied anymore.
And so it was. For example, if I didn’t come back by 11 p.m., the door of my own house would be locked and the key would be left in the lock. Understand, it’s too late to come back – do what you want. I have slept in a woodshed in the yard, in an outdoor toilet. When he got up, he unlocked the door. Then in the morning it was possible to enter.
After a few months, I found a job in garages where cars from Germany were repaired for sale in the car market. I have also slept in a car parked in a garage. Here are just some of the experiences when my real biological father lived in the same house.
My stepmother sometimes attacked me for doing things that I really didn’t do. Something along the lines of “a friend of mine said she saw you smoking”. Then I had to prove that it really didn’t happen, or be punished by going to chop wood all day. She referred to it as an educational tool and justification for not being able to spend time in the yard with my friends. Out of desperation and nerves, I sent her once. My father beat me for that, I was maybe 16. A few days later, I was admitted to the hospital with headaches, where they diagnosed a concussion.
I spent a week in the hospital. To avoid embarrassment, I said I was beaten up on the street. The father saw no need to visit or apologize. He might have resented it, but he was apparently too weak to apologize and admit that he had gone too far in his punishment.
– What does it mean for a boy to feel like a half-stranger to his father? We talk a lot about the feelings of women, girls, but we know relatively little about what boys, and later men, feel.
– Then you feel hopeless and helpless. The person you love, from whom you expect a sense of peace and security, becomes unpredictable, you do not trust him, you feel lonely and withdraw into yourself. When normal kids would run home from school, I would stay at school as long as possible. I think that says a lot. I just didn’t want to go home.
– Why do you think so many fathers distance themselves from their children after they divorce their child’s mother? What is the mechanism and reasons for this?
– It probably happens naturally. Immediately after the breakup, there is a shock, then they look for comfort in their children, and when they recover, they forget the children. Children become less important, the period of not seeing each other increases because, for example, the father found a new crush or spends more time with friends, and children are interesting when there are no other people around.
Children need attention, love and openness. They feel it and if you try to play it, you won’t succeed. Maybe this is what parents are running away from. I don’t know. But always in such cases the children suffer first, because they don’t understand why everything is like this.
– How are you being a dad? A lot of people say “you’ll understand when you’re a mom”, what did you realize when you were a dad? Have you come to understand your own dad better, or maybe the other way around?
– I am not ideal because I am demanding. I think sometimes I demand too much discipline or foresight from my seven year old.
But I had to see a lot of life myself, from the hardships of childhood and adolescence, emigration, return to the Motherland, to the current full life for family and children. I really wish my child wouldn’t have to go through many of the things I went through.
Since the birth of my son, I realized that his well-being is the main goal of my life. This is not fanaticism, I just know what needs to be given to the child so that he can become a full-fledged person. Attention, warmth, love, support and opportunities to achieve goals in life.
I understand my father. He is too weak a person and succumbed to the influence of a domineering wife.
What I don’t understand is how you can treat your child like this, who has done nothing wrong to you. He did not curse, did not steal, did not humiliate. He didn’t participate in the performances of my dance team, he wasn’t at the last call, at the wedding, he still hasn’t seen his seven-year-old grandson.
– There is such a stereotype: when women talk about family life, they often say “the man helps”. Helps to take care of the child, helps to clean the house. As if meaning that they do everything and the men help a little. How do you see your role in parenting and family?
– In our family, stereotypes have little effect. We both share the household and raising and educating our son. We are not only a family, but also a team. If I work on Saturday, my wife cleans the house, takes my son to training. Then I come back in the evening and we just hang out.
I often have days off on weekdays, then these things are done by me and it’s an absolute pleasure. My son is very happy when he finds out that, for example, I have days off tomorrow and the day after. I’ll pick him up right after school, we’ll walk the dog or go for a bike ride together, then we’ll go to practice.
We are able to spend time with our son and I am very happy about it. Maybe this is how I compensate for the emptiness I experienced as a child, but I would never let my child feel this way. Spending time with my son makes me very happy.
– How do you see your mission as a father?
– Dad, especially for a boy, is the main guide. Dad should be a comforter, a comforter, a firm and sometimes harsh word. A helper who encourages even when it seems that something will not work out.
A father must give his child his mind and heart. A child is a small person who in the right hands can grow into a big person or vice versa. Overprinting can do the opposite. Dad has to help you balance life, hold your hand when you need it, hug you, scold you and tell you again how much you are loved.
First of all, the child needs to be given love and freedom to choose. I must give the child the opportunity to pursue what he is most attracted to. In my son’s case, it’s basketball. I am proud of him because he attends the basketball academy, watches the NBA and the Euroleague, and is one of the best players in his academy’s age group. This is a kid who lives basketball and it’s my mission to help him achieve his dream of living basketball and basketball. If I had to choose between something for myself and a basketball camp for my kid, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute.
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