Michelle: My typically Asian parents were not ‘talkers’. This impacted my teen years, and I would turn to close friends to talk about my problems. My greatest wish is that my children continue to turn to me on important matters, so that we stay connected and close as they blossom into adults.
Have there been challenges?
Serene: Yes! Changing a habit is always difficult. We are weaning children away from digital devices and encouraging them to process and articulate their thoughts. Habits take weeks to change and implement, so it is not always smooth sailing.
Michelle: Also, parental mindset can be a stumbling block. Parents do not want to accept vulnerability and failure. But we are ingraining a fundamental habit in families, via a process, a journey. There will be good and bad days; days when it comes together nicely and days when your child simply wants no part of a conversation.
Love Bonds resources, or any other resources for that matter, are not magic potions. They are tools that parents can use with their children to spark meaningful conversations and open up opportunities to talk about things that truly matter— values. Forming strong bonds in the family is a long but rewarding journey, where resilience and consistency are key.
What have your proudest moments been?
Michelle: When i see my daughter living the values that we talk about. I am so proud that my 4-year-old is a loving and caring sister to my younger daughter, aged 2.
Serene: It is humbling when my son chooses to share his experiences and his puzzlement at daily life with me. I feel privileged to share his little boy thoughts and reflections as he navigates his growing universe. Recently, he has turned the conversation around and asked me questions about my work day, which is truly delightful! It shows that he has assimilated the need to relate to those that matter to him.
Is there such a thing as ‘perfect parenting’?
Serene: I do not strive to be a perfect parent— only a faithful parent. The most important relationship in parenting is that with our partner, in whom we turn to for support and assurance. There is no output without input, and that input is constant communication with a supportive partner on this parenting journey.
Michelle: As parents, we are a work in progress, and our goal is to learn and impart aspects of our journey to our children. So that they may grow up guided by values that they witnessed. For example, we have selected three all-important family values that we often discuss with our daughters— kindness, honesty and resilience.