What/who influences your parenting style?
Primarily I look to my parents on how they raised me and my sister, but my wife and I try to strike a balance between traditional and modern-style parenting. We try to get the best of both styles, blend it together and hope that it works for our girls. So far we've been lucky that it seems to be working.
How do you develop close relationships with your children?
I try to be present in their lives as much as I can – and not just physically. I try to be interested in whatever they are currently interested in (therefore I was brony at one point). Little things such as asking them how their day went – what did they learn, what made them happy, if there's anything they want to tell me. Just to let them know that nothing is too insignificant and that I'm totally interested in what's happening with them.
What is the best piece of parenting advice or guidance you have ever received?
That there's no set template in raising a child, because each one is different. Even within your own family, what worked for our elder daughter won't necessarily work for our younger daughter. We teach them the same values but we approach them differently. It's not a one-size-fits-all model.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
For me, it's having to tie their hair. I'm at awe with how other dads make this seemed so easy. Unfortunately, I'm all thumbs, and have to resort to headbands… 🙁
But seriously, one of the biggest challenges I face is knowing when to let go and have them figure things out by themselves. I don't think I'm a helicopter parent, but I do try to protect and shield them from life's realities. However, I realise that the older they get, the more they need to be emotionally-ready and make decisions on their own.
As a parent, what is the one thing that you want to do better or be better at?
I'd like to be better at explaining things to them in a way that they can understand. My wife is very good at this. Somehow I just muddy up the water and become too technical, and before I know it, I've added a new concept that I will again struggle to explain.
What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Try to listen to everything that your child tells you. No detail is too insignificant. They definitely recognise the effort you make and will want to share more, and hopefully keep the communication lines open even when they reach the dreaded teenage years.
With the COVID-19 virus raging out there, how do you deal with working from home with the kids around?
We're luck y to have an auntie and my mother-in-law stay with us. They pretty much keep our house in order and we're able to take on the kids. We try to clear out urgent work stuff early in the morning and then focus on helping the kids. My wife and I divide up the work and spend whatever breaks we have to teach the kids (especially the younger one as she needs more attention/guidance). We do end up working late more but it is what it is.
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Proud father of two lovely kids, who at times pushed me to seriously consider editing out the word “lovely” from this sentence. (I am not alone in this.)