Mohd Khairul Nizam Ismail, 41, is very careful to to set a good example for his three children.
To him, “a father is a leader, protector and guide to his children”.
“Kids learn through the example of their elders. More than what we tell them, they’ll follow what they see us do. So as a father, we need to educate our kids by being a good example in being kind, compassionate and respectful, and this begins at home,” says Mohd Khairul whose children are aged 13, 10 and seven.
He also says it’s important for fathers to teach their sons to respect women because this is a step towards solving a lot of the issues in society today. He was referring to the recent cases in the news of schoolgirls being harassed by their male teachers and classmates.
“If we men treat our wife and daughters well, then our kids, especially our sons, will see this and behave accordingly. It all starts at home,” he emphasises.
Mohd Khairul and his wife, Nur Farah Abdol Aziz, 40, have two sons and a daughter.
“Of course, it’s slightly different raising a daughter than a son,” he admits.
“Although we love all our children equally, each has his or her own personality and responds differently, and as fathers, we tend to be more direct and straightforward with our sons but use a more gentle approach with daughters.
“And it’s natural for fathers to have that protective instinct towards their daughters,” he says.
It’s necessary for fathers to teach their daughters about personal safety, says Mohd Khairul.
“Although we wish that we didn’t have to and we wish there wasn’t a need to, the fact remains that we live in a society where we have to educate our daughters about personal safety. This is to build up their self-confidence and empower them to handle any situation they may encounter,” he says.
According to Mohd Khairul, being a father and a husband is key to his own personal development.
“When you’re a father and a husband, you’ve to be responsible. It’s more than just providing financially for your wife and children, although that is important.
“You’ve to be committed to your family, and you’ve to manage your time well, as well as balance work and family responsibilities, so that you can be there for your wife and children,” he says.
The IT executive admits it was difficult spending time with his children pre-Covid because he works odd hours. When he was home, the children would be at school or asleep already.
“During the pandemic, working from home gave me more time with my kids, and I could communicate with them, help them with their schoolwork and accompany them in their activities,” he says.
“At times, it can be challenging monitoring and guiding our children to survive in today’s challenging world so I’m grateful to my wife and other family members who are very supportive,” he adds.
In April, the Malaysian Employment Act was amended to provide seven days of paternity leave to fathers for each child born (up to five children).
“I think this is good news for working fathers like myself. At least we can spend the time to take care of our wife and children, during her confinement. New fathers can also have the experience of looking after their newborn while the mother gets her rest,” he says.
He says that his most memorable moment as a father was experiencing the birth of his daughter and sons.
“Participating in the process of childbirth has helped me understand the challenges that a mother goes through. This has made me realise that having a child is a gift which comes with responsibility,” he concludes.