Favourite quote: “Live life with love, faith, hope and joy!”
You can follow Celestia at @celestiafaithchong.
Who influenced your parenting style?
I would say my mom influenced my parenting style. She loves me in a very traditional way when hugs and kisses with words of love are non-existent. As someone who is very passionate, I wanted to create my own parenting style filled with loads of love and constant reminders both with acts of service and words of love. As a single mom, I believe that kids who are kind in nature should be inculcated with the right values, to know how to love and to be independent to survive even when I am not around in the future. Thus, it is crucial to be firm in guiding your children so as to raise them to be resilient. In my perspective, only someone who is compassionate and is able to love would be loved by others and be happy in life.
How do you develop close relationships with your children?
It's a daily habit for me to hug and kiss them, showering my love for them. We have a weekly ritual of going to the supermarket as a family and they would get to pick something each time. I will also make sure they get to have their favourite food stocked up. The kids take turns to sleep with me and I am always encouraging when they have something to share with me or when they face some challenges with their studies. It's a “family first” mindset whenever any one of them is upset. I started volunteer work with my kids since they were very young. It is part and parcel of them to learn how to give.
What is the best piece of parenting advice or guidance you have ever received?
I had been very independent since childhood and I am someone who always craves for more love. I have not really received any advice on parenting before. My parenting style evolved as my kids grew. All kids are different, thus the different methods of guiding them. But one method remains the same. I would share with my kids that we only have one heart. In order for this heart to be truly happy, we need to empty all the negative emotions and thoughts in it. It is only then that we could fill in as much love as possible. With love within our heart, happiness comes naturally and we would be able to deal with people with empathy, love and kindness.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
I would saying the biggest challenge comes from transitioning my kids from a complete family to a single-parent family. I never wanted them to feel different. It's especially so when they were still pretty young when it happened and I could only explain in the simplest term. I told them that though mummy and daddy would no longer be staying together, we still love them loads and they would still get to see and spend time with both of us, separately. At the start, my two younger girls hoped that we would come back together and mentioned about the happy moments way back. After some time, they realised that both of us are happier after separation and slowly ceased to think this way. My boy's studies took a turn for the worse but had since shown significant improvement.
As a parent, what is the one thing that you want to do better or be better at?
As a parent, I am constantly adapting to the various stages of my children's development to ensure that they grow up happy and well. I would like to be able to engage more with them in their growing years.
What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
Every child is unique. Keep special moments with them individually. Allow them to dream. Do not load them with never-ending classes. Love is a universal language that never fails to bond the family together. Use this in abundance but don't spoil the child. Love, values and independence are the best gifts we can have for them.
With the COVID-19 virus raging out there, how do you deal with working from home with the kids around?
I strive to seek a balance between the basics, like setting food on the table, ensuring the kids are adhering to the Home Based Learning schedule and making sure that our emotional well being is being taken care of. I've done a meal plan for balanced nutrition and minimum food wastage during this period. I followed up with a logbook to make sure the daily work is completed and the children's screen time does not exceed two hours daily. To keep them entertained, we play the good old board games like Monopoly, Scrabble or card games like UNO or even the Dartboard game.
On alternate days, the house will be sanitised with Dettol for the common areas and floor. The kids are given tasks to maintain the daily cleanliness of the place. My work time would be after breakfast preparation, after having lunch with them and after washing up for dinner where I get to steal some time to be on my laptop with a glass of wine. Otherwise, I will be on the board games with them. During this period, I also spent more time on online transactions like getting necessities as I try to stay home and stay safe.
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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.)