Keep Your Anger in Check
Help Them to Appreciate Quiet Time
Children have such busy schedules these days. So outside of school, homework and extracurricular activities, Wong Li Lin wants her nine-year-old daughter Sage, and eight-year-old son Jonas, to make their downtime count. To that end, she’s instituted a “no electronics on weekdays” rule at home.
“That means no television, handheld devices or electronic games. When they get bored, they have to find something quiet to do – read a book, draw or paint. On weekends, electronic devices are also forbidden at dinner, as that’s when we sit down as a family to catch up,” explains the 41-year-old.
Bend the Rules a Little
Parents set so many rules for their kids (and themselves) that they sometimes end up being too rigid. So shake things up a bit and have some fun along the way, says Li Lin.
“When the kids were little, every time it rained, we would put on raincoats and galoshes, take our umbrellas, and splash around outside. The neighbours’ kids couldn’t come out to play because the ‘rule’ says you’ll get sick if you go out in the rain. But I always remember how pleasantly surprised and happy Sage and Jonas were that I let them break the rules – and even joined in.” Sage and Jonas are regular kids who have moments of disobedience and naughtiness. When they were younger, Li Lin would, on occasion, smack their bottoms to get them to behave. But she stresses how much she didn’t like it.
“I don’t want them to remember and fear being hit because I was so angry with them. Even if I’m mad enough to do it, I remind myself that discipline doesn’t have to come from a place of rage.”
It’s not always easy to keep her emotions in check, but Li Lin says doing so has helped her and her kids learn about self-control. She cites an example: “Sage told me she sometimes gets so angry with her friend that she wants to hit her. She asked me if it was okay to think that, and I said, ‘ It’s normal to feel that way, even with friends. But good on you for keeping your cool and taking a step back!’”
Always Think Positive
Mummy guilt – especially for working mums – can be crippling. As a single mum, Li Lin – who split up with actor Allan Wu last year – feels it more. But she tries not to fall into that trap.
Instead of letting guilt get you down, accept with grace that a considerable period of your life will be about juggling work and life and its frustrations, she advises. “That way, you can stop yourself from spiralling into a negative zone.”
Create Learning Moments
One of the life skills Li Lin is determined that her children should pick up is how to be financially savvy, which is why she started her company, Loopz Fitness, in 2009. She wanted to learn first-hand what it would mean to manage her own business and funds.
“I can now draw on my own experience to teach my kids about money matters. But more importantly, I want them to learn that it’s crucial to love what you do and chase your dreams, instead