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From One Parent to Another: Keeping Up with The Kids

In my last article, I wrote about investing in our children and their future. The idea essentially is to raise them to become someone with a respectable character with mindfulness and kindness as their core values.

Easier said than done isn’t it?

I am a parent too. I have 4 of my own and I’ve been raising them as a single mother for most of the time. My eldest is turning 17 this year. In Malaysia, that’s one child reaching the final year of schooling while the rest of my kids haven’t even gone into secondary school.

For those of you who are acquainted to me, you’ll know that I’m also a businesswoman racing alongside my peers in the industry and I’m no stranger to associations. The struggle is real but the satisfaction trumps all.

It simply means that juggling business and parenting can be extremely difficult at times. Suffice to say that I’ve had help in the form of kid-sitters, extra classes and gadgets.

Flexibility and control?

As a pro-technology entrepreneur, I don’t see harm in gadgets for my kids because I believe that their future will be more than these gadgets with AI and VR technology growing rapidly. If anything, I sometimes feel that they’d be left behind if they’re not exposed to it from an early age.

The key is to have control over what they consume and how long they get to consume in a day. It is never that easy because sometimes we as parents have our pressures and stresses that requires us to pay a little less attention to our kids. So, I have to let go a little at times.

There is nothing like a stress outburst to break your relationship with your children. I have learned to be extra careful with this over time. In return, I’ve gathered understanding from my children about my career and responsibilities too.

Daily struggles, regrets and guilt

The thing is, in my busy daily strive to achieve comfortable living for my children, I sometimes miss the development of my kids. Each one changes every day and I have to say that I often miss the little changes that they go through. Before I know it, nobody wants to eat rice anymore.

Keeping up with these changes in my children is very tricky. The main interest usually remains the same for longer but as they become more exposed to things going on around the world, they start to form new interests.

This is when imposing discipline and consistency in an earlier “investment” becomes an emotional battle. All that time and effort that I have poured into molding them is now threatened. Disappointments begins to clutter my thoughts.

In most cases, parents react from a place of exhaustion in trying to keep up in the first place. However, we also start to worry and wonder if we’d be making a mistake to not encourage and support our kids to pursue their new interest.

Learning from my parents

Unless that new interest is ridiculous, I try my best to accommodate their requests. I try to have an open mind about things that are new to me. Surely, I make the effort to learn about these interests and requests first. Sometimes, I will try to talk them out of it if I feel that whatever it is wouldn’t serve a positive outcome in their lives.

As much as I want my children to grow and live up to their full potential on their own, I also believe that as parents, I am their guidance counsellor for life like my parents before me.

In raising me and my sister, my parents gave us a whirlwind of an adventure in self-discovery and spend a lot of time in our growth and development. They were pushier towards me as I am the older sister, while my younger sister gets off easier.

There’s a reason for everything that my parents did. It was a foundation that they built for us to eventually grow up and co-exist in one another’s lives. As children, we don’t see it. As an adult, we now understand it.

Did I want to become something other than what I am today when I was younger? I sure did. Fortunately, my parents could see more in me than I ever could in myself. Just as I am businesswoman and entrepreneur of sorts; my mentors and peers have opened ways for me to have this wonderful experience and life lessons.

I am grateful for their guidance towards me becoming who I am today. There’s nothing more that I want right now, which is to give back as much as I can to help the younger generation of parents and children grow together and achieve positive results.

My parents did it and I am trying too.