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My Parenting Journey – Adrian Tan

Adrian Tan: Parenting four kids is a real challenge.
With four kids in tow, Adrian is a busy father if you consider all the special occasions he has to remember throughout the year.

What/who influences your parenting style?
My parenting style is an amalgamation of many sources – Coursera course on parenting, books, close friends who are parents (good or bad).

Although I always wonder, am I “overseasoning the stock” sometimes?

Thinking back, during my parents' era they don't really give a shit about all these. If any parent back then read even ONE parenting book, that pair must be parenting champions.

But I guess just like all things in life, moderation is key. And a lot of times, this requires measured response depending on reaction. One can't just follow the cookbook to the letter even when the stove is on fire.

How do you develop close relationships with your children?
Spending quality time with them that includes putting away my highly addictive iPhone and frequently doing things that I detest but they just love so much (ok, another round of horsey ride on dadddddyyyyy).

What is the best piece of parenting advice or guidance you have ever received?
I think doing all it takes to identify their interests and really double down on that so they can achieve greatness in that field. Just like how Joseph Schooling's parents show-hand to finance his training. I think that is what parents (just like the typical gongfu shifu) should set out to do.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
Dealing with ALL situations with a cool head. Not made easy when one has to deal with four young ones at any one time. Constant reminder to myself that they are still single digit age. I probably do more dumb stuffs when I was at my oldest kid's age so I should really cut them some slack.

As a parent, what is the one thing that you want to do better or be better at?
Be more consistent when it comes to discipline.

What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Just put away the mobile phone. That itself works wonders.

With the COVID-19 virus raging out there, how do you deal with working from home with the kids around?
I wake up as usual (5:30am) even though I don’t send them to school during home-based learning (HBL). It allows me to maintain my morning routine of a short workout, meditation before jumping into work around 7am. That gives me some quiet time to do deep work before the first one wakes up and that’s when I exchange my keyboard for a spatula and make breakfast for them.

As I have three HBL kids, I don’t follow the school’s schedule and get them to start at 9am. I realised there is less tech support (from me) needed if they use iPads to access Student Learning Space (SLS). Zoom is also well set up so they can do probably 80 percent of their HBL without my intervention.

I will sit beside them at the dining table to continue my work and gets interrupted once in a while to help them in their troubleshooting.

Since they can’t head out, I have moved forward their screen time access from 3pm to 1pm and also removed the time limit on Nintendo Switch. I have four kids so they would also play with each other and keep themselves entertained.

There would be some rough edges but I keep reminding myself my relationship with my kids is above any friction caused by COVID-19 so I try to be zen about any uncomfortable situation.

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