Last year in May, I was approached for Q&A on parenting issues. Not sure if my answers were published or they went down the drain. Nevertheless, I kept a copy of it and thought I should share them here with you.
These are my answers and solely mine to argue with. You may disagree with mine and I may with yours too. So, this is from my point of view as a mother to my 3 children. I’m writing from the view as a parent to a daughter but I have 2 boys and a girl. There isn’t right and wrong in parenting in terms of being a model parent. So enjoy my POV with an open mind.
Topic 1 (Parenting Done Right)
1. What defies a good parent? A good parent is someone who shows good examples to their child. There is no right or wrong way to parent a child as there are no two children alike and every parenting style is different. For me, being a good parent is teaching life skills to my child, understanding their needs and show them to value people by treating others like how you want to be treated. A good parent is someone who puts their child first before themselves or sometimes anyone else. 2. Why is being a good parent important? Being a good parent is important as it shapes a child preparing for society. It's like being a positive role model for your child to look up to. I practically looked up to my mom, as she's been my role model ever since I understand the sacrifices she's willing to make to see me achieve in life. It is every parent's dream to want their child to be like them or maybe better but too much expectations shows how controlling a parent can be which will discourage a child from learning. Putting pressure on your child will create tension and stress, which will unlikely cause chaos at home. I've seen my child's friend's parents putting her in the best school, buying her the best gadgets, gives her what she wants but is that being a good parent or raising a spoilt child? In time, I believe this will have a negative effect on the child's behaviour and character. 3. Do you think your kids think you are a good parent? Why? I may not be the best parent in the world but I think my kids would think I am a good parent. Fingers crossed! I am still learning and I learnt from my own mistakes, as parenting is a continuous process. I don't push for grades; instead always do your best. If you are only good in certain subjects like languages, literature or science or just mathematics, so be it! Nobody is perfect. Always finish what you started before you start something else as that's the key to success. This isn't easy as I sometimes do falter behind. I always tell my child every person is different. Not every physically good-looking person has a good heart and funnily, the ones who have hearts of gold are the unexpected ones. When I go out, I see my child holding the elevator doors for strangers, giving way to 'makcik', smiling at the 'abang' cashier and most importantly saying 'thank you' whenever being served. That, I can tell you I have raised a good child and that makes me in a good parent category. I am content!
Topic 2 (Milestones)
1. What are important milestones for your child to achieve? Definitely taking first steps, being vocal and having the courage to be social. As my child grows older, she makes friends, her behaviour changes and she'll learn from mistakes and experiences. Developmental milestones are the most important because it starts from there. 2. Why is it important for your child to hit the right milestones? I've never thought about my child hitting the 'right' milestones. I'm happy that she is able to socialise, eat and not thinking about carbs, not shy to sing and dance aloud. I don't care if she's left or right-handed, gifted or not. A child hitting milestones has its ups and downs. Today she might compare herself with others, tomorrow she's Queen Bee and she may not be comfortable sharing her feelings, she could start to be argumentative and easily embarrassed by parents (by dad the most). It's a phase in life in adolescents and I understand them as I've gone through them all once before. 3. How do you feel when your child hits/don't hit milestones? Every child is different so if my child hits a milestone, YAY and if she doesn't, we will work it out together. I won't feel disappointed nor discouraged. We get back up and try again. Like for instance, I baked some cookies with my child and the batch didn't turn up well. She was disappointed but she said, let's make a new batter and do it all over again! Turning negative situations like this into positive ones is a milestone achievement. The courage to be opinionated is a big milestone as well. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If she accepts the consequences of a certain action, then I'm proud to be her parent. This shows that before going into a decision, she knows it could go either right or wrong. My child can be quite outspoken at times so she has the ability to reason and always ready for a debate. I find that she has the confidence, which have its pros and cons. Teens go through social and emotional milestones literally overnight and there are days when my child tends to be moody or put herself in a quiet zone, but I don't blame her. I give her space, talk to her and let her open up and treat her like any other day, nothing changes. I tell her it's okay to cry (I do, too occasionally) and it's okay to feel the way she does. Regardless of events, the best milestone for a child to achieve is being loved and supported unconditionally.
Topic 3 (Spending Time With Your Child)
1. Why is spending time with your child important? Spending time with my child is a way of getting to know my child. I'd want to know if today has been a good or bad day. Good day is something to be celebrated and a bad day is something to talk about. If something is bothering my child then I would like her to tell me about it so we can try to solve it together. A growing up child should be able to express their feelings no matter how big or small the issue is. Communication is the foundation of creating mutual understanding in relationships. 2. Do you think you spend enough time with your child? Why? Being a working mom, I don't think I spend enough time with my child. I wake up at 5.30 am on school days, get dressed, wake the clan up, prepare breakfast, do the school run, wave goodbye and I'm off to work. I'm home by 6.15 pm, have dinner, talk a little about school and whatnot, homework, who's dating who and while I do the dishes and laundry, she gets ready for the next day. Practically, I only spend about 3 hours during weekdays with my child and that includes the silence. 3. How do you spend time with your child if you had more time? If I had more time which means quitting my job, I would definitely do the school run, prep lunch or get a quick bite, get ice-cream as a treat but not everyday, take a walk around the park during evenings and probably annoy her while she socialise with peers. It's the little time spent that is important like sitting down watching her finish up her homework or us, sitting at a cafe sipping beverages with our devices even though not talking much. Those moments count! But as a mother of 3, I find that interacting with my kids individually is better as all 3 of them have different personalities and it's hard for me listen to them and digest all at the same time.
Topic 4 (Nutrition For Your Child)
1. What is proper nutrition to you? To me, proper nutrition is having at least 2 vegetables and 1 fruit servings a day. Too little of something is bad for you and too much of something is also bad. I am not a nutritionist so the basic food necessities are a must. I stock the refrigerator with juices and milk, the cupboards with chips and cookies and I find that as my child grows, she understands that too much sugary stuff is bad for you. I credit this to social media, as they tend to open up my child's mind more. I introduced junk food to my child at an early age but with limitations. I don't deprive my child from sodas and sugary treats as from young, she has always known that these are treats and not as meal replacements (but I can't say about those packed MILO). They are great as snacks during the day, at a party or for special occasions like at the movies. They know it's bad for them and they tell me it's bad for me, so need I say more? 2. What do you think is the right breakfast for your child? I've never thought about the right breakfast for my child but I've always thought about the best breakfast and it has got to be what my child wants to eat. My child can be a picky eater specially in the morning but early morning tummies aren't very pleasant sometimes. I stick to hot/warm meals such as french toast, cheese toast, pancakes, hash browns with scrambled eggs, noodle soup, egg sandwiches, fried rice and occasionally on my lazy days, I serve my child slices of their favourite flavour of swiss roll or a slice of Red Velvet (from the bakery) but all morning meals are accompanied by a cup of warm tea. If my child finishes their breakfast, I'm a happy parent.
And that’s the end of the Q&A.
I hope you get a rough idea of what I’m trying to share. Parenting isn’t easy. We learn from mistakes as we and our children grow.