Personal bio: I am married and have two young children (5-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son). I believe the essence of parenting lies in inculcating moral values no matter how difficult times get, especially like the times that we're currently in.
Who influences your parenting style?
My mother. She is a teacher. She lives in another country. But technology has made it easy to keep close ones closer. She keeps me in check. I was a rebellious child. My daughter is my reincarnation in a way. And sometimes it's difficult. I feel like going to extremes when I can't handle stress. I keep asking for assurances from my husband, who in return keeps telling me that I'm doing better than ever. Parenting with a supportive partner is a rare blessing.
How does your parenting style differ from your parents?
My father was not present physically for more than a decade. He worked in another country. My mom raised my brother and me with her in-laws. I have been rigid with my husband when it comes to sharing quality time with the kids. I want to create memories with them because I didn't have many memories with my father during my growing years. Thus, I'm conscientiously making an effort to create shared memories so that my kids won't go through a similar experience as I had with my father.
How do you develop close relationships with your children?
We co-sleep. Every night we say out loud the three things we are grateful for that happened during the day. My husband is not openly affectionate. But this has got him to say out loud how he feels too. My daughter does not hesitate in expressing, as we try to do the same. As we grow older we start building these “expectation” walls. They might be small, but we adults seldom get over them. But for children, they jump over those walls and come to you. No matter what. So if I scold my daughter before she goes to sleep, or if I give her the silent treatment, she is the same next day – loving, caring, curious and, most of all, happy.
What is the best piece of parenting advice or guidance you have ever received?
I haven't. My mom, who is my go-to person, will always positively appreciates the way I am bringing up my children. She doesn't show doubt or question my ability. So the only advice I'd taken heed of is my mum’s. But she doesn't preach.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
Patience. I have a short temper, and it gets worse because we live with our in-laws. Things can get tense and raw emotions can spill over on the children. During those times, to control and take charge is the most difficult for me. I am not super kiasu when it comes to parenting. I give space. I let them know I need space too.
As a parent, what is the one thing that you want to do better or be better at?
The one thing I want to be better at is organising a time table for my children. I'm still disorganised myself. It's in the works ever since I gave birth.
What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Let the kids get bored. Creativity stems from there. Being idle and being bored are different things. Trying to continuously entertain your child takes away the fun from their lives. It's almost like we tell them what to explore, instead of letting them explore by themselves.
With the COVID-19 virus raging out there, how do you deal with working from home with the kids around?
I am a freelance content writer. COVID-19 basically took away that from me. So I am currently a full-time mom. When I do have Zoom meetings, I usually set it to “mute”. I tell my husband in advance so he helps with the kids.
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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.)