Address by Mr K Barathan, CEO, SINDA at the SINDA Parenting Conference 2015 on 04 October 2015 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design
Dear Friends, Parents,
- I hope this conference was as enriching for you, as it was for me. I may be a parent with grown up children, but I too am learning new things about parenting each day—it is a lifelong journey. I thank Mr Suki Sivam for his very enlightening and humorous sharings as well.
- SINDA organised this parenting conference to provide a platform for parents to come together, to share our concerns as parents and learn from each other’s experiences. The approach to good parenting is not based on a formula. Each individual is unique—a family is made up of many individuals and a strong family is one that is able to balance the many personalities and the needs of all individuals within each family.
- You may have heard about families that are in a way or other, dysfunctional. Feedback has shown that internal, rather than external circumstances hinder the family from moving forward. Let me share with you an example.
- Mr and Mrs M live in a 3-room flat with their four children aged 13, 14, 15 and 17 years. Both are employed as cleaners. We first came to know this couple when Mrs M approached SINDA for help. They had two key challenges: Firstly, they could not earn enough to put food on the table. Secondly, they did not have enough time to monitor their children, and left to their own devices the children were playing truant.
- These were tough circumstances, but help was at hand. Our counsellors encouraged her to attend our modular parenting workshops, aimed at empowering parents with the right parenting skills and the know-how to cope with teenaged kids. Though she began attending regularly, her husband seemed totally uninterested. The reason for his attitude? He felt his parents never went through any ‘training” to raise their children, therefore, he did not see why he needed to attend these classes.
- As much as Mrs M wanted to put in practice the things she learnt at the SINDA workshops, she did not have her husband’s support to do so. She shared with us that her husband was not being cooperative to her methods and she found that his lack of communication with the family often caused issues at home.
- We realised the need to engage Mr M. Repeated calls went unanswered, but through his wife, SINDA was finally able to reach him and convince him to attend at least one modular parenting workshop. After attending one class, we were very pleasantly surprised to see him attend the next lesson as well!
- Eventually, he opened up to us. He shared with us his own struggles and pressures. He spoke about the many things he wanted to do for his family, but was let down by financial struggles. In short, he lost his own confidence in being a capable father.
- So this story isn’t really about a happy ending but an on-going process of learning, picking ourselves up when the going gets tough, and becoming better at parenting. Mr M gradually began to understand his role as a father better, what good fathering might look like, and the impact that it will have on his children for life. He now puts aside dedicated time for his children and has worked on his communication with his family as well. Though the family still has financial struggles at times, Mr and Mrs M share that the relationship between them and their children has improved tremendously.
- In a similar manner, we may face moments in life that will challenge our parenting skills. At times like this, I encourage you to reach out and get the necessary guidance. For example our modular parenting skills work very closely with parents, to make them understand current educational trends, the developmental needs of children at different ages and stages and how parents can be effective companions to their children. Such programmes give us the knowledge needed to understand our children and raise them effectively. There are also other similar programmes at SINDA. Do approach any of our SINDA staff to find out more.
- From today, I hope that all of you will increase your commitment to your children. Your commitment to them will shape their life and define who they are. I also urge you to remember and practise what all of us learned today—make it a conscious culture at home. This is an opportunity for us to create and mould future generations, so let’s do it with dedication and commitment. Remember: ‘my child, our future’.
Once again, I hope that today’s session was enriching to you. My best wishes to you and your family for your continued success.