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My Parenting Journey – Tracey Or

Former teacher, Tracey Or, shares her parenting journey.
Tracey Or is a former teacher who now writes on a freelance basis and runs a blog at She has five children aged 12, 10, seven, four and one. Her favourite quote: “The longest journey a man must take is the 18 inches from his head to his heart.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
Currently, one of the biggest challenges is in parenting children in the digital age. It has opened a whole new universe of unknowns to us in terms of learning more about the way young people communicate these days, their patterns of online behaviour, and the potential pitfalls and abuses.

It's been a huge learning curve for us and that's usually the first pain point as we're far from experts in keeping up! We don't want to evade technology but want to teach responsible and appropriate online behaviour from the get-go, with proper social media etiquette. We hope to discuss more about some of these issues in our dinner conversations.

Another big challenge in Singapore, is finding “school-life” balance. I do struggle with the fact that children have much less time to play and enjoy their childhood now than previously and the academic hot-housing is just not helping. I wish we could all have a broader perspective of education and success at the end of the day.

…children have much less time to play and enjoy their childhood now than previously and the academic hot-housing is just not helping.

Tell us about your proudest moment as a parent.
It doesn't quite culminate into a single proud moment for me. Sure, there are milestones, achievements and all and we are happy to celebrate with each child. But more significant are the daily pleasures and the little things everyday. Watching them grow and mature in character, having them express love and grace towards me in ways that I don't expect, smothering me with sloppy hugs and kisses… These make my heart swell with pride, together with the thought that I am that privileged person at the centre of their lives.

How do you develop close relationship with your child?
I think it's different with every child as each of them has a unique love language. Definitely, observing what speaks to the heart of my child is important in order to connect and that changes in different seasons of their lives. Also, giving them attention and listening non-judgmentally ranks high on my list. We try to be intentional in carving out pockets of family time to bond, protecting our family space/schedules too – so we have the bandwidth to interact without stress points. Sometimes individual one-on-one time is needed with either parent and that does wonders to fill their love tanks.

What are the three most important things you want to know about raising kids?
I want to know how to raise children who have character, convictions and compassion. I think character is all-encompassing. We all want our children to be of good character and to possess sound moral values. However, modern day parenting somehow sidelines this aspect quite a bit and it's been more challenging to impart good old fashioned values and manners that stick.

Convictions are important so that the child is self-driven and self-directed with what he chooses to achieve in life.

Finally, kindness and compassion – because the world needs more of it. I want my children to learn not just how to take care of themselves but of others as well, to have a mindset to give back and to plug the much needed gaps in society.

What influences your parenting style?
My faith. We hope to raise children who are respectful, kind and god-fearing. We read books and articles on parenting occasionally but we try our best to parent from our knowledge and intuition of how God himself would parent and love us.

What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Learn to laugh more at ourselves and don't beat ourselves up too much. Even as parents we learn and are still learning, as long as we do our best. Also, enjoy your children and accept them for who they are, unconditionally. Usually, mismatched expectations kill relationships.

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