Daddy, Daddy, can you play with me?

Published on January 28, 2014

“Daddy, Daddy, can you play with me?” This sentence comes up every now and then from my two wonderful children, age 7 and 5.

Both my children were born premature. I remembered when I first laid my eyes on my children; they seemed no bigger than the size of a kitten. Even though they looked so small and fragile, I considered them the most beautiful and dearest ones in my heart. They had to be placed in the incubator in the first few weeks of their life. And every day after work, both my wife and I would travel down to the hospital to look at them and ensure that they were ok. Even though as tired as we are from our daily affairs, the joy of seeing them made our daily travelling back and forth seemed so minute. After all, what will it cost to raise our kids?

Before having children, I have heard many stories from my friends and colleagues that parenting is not easy at all. The commitment to take care of children, attend to their needs, ensure that they have what they need to grow physically, mentally and emotionally seemed to be challenging tasks for many parents. Because of all these concerns, many have also shield away from having children since it seems to take so much to bring up a child in the modern and stressful world.

Even though we knew of the responsibilities, my wife and I decided that it is a choice that we want to make – to have a family that is not just the two of us. We wanted to learn not to just to build our lives around ourselves and our careers, but to be able to invest our lives in our family. While we are as busy as many working couple, we had to ensure that we spent quality time as a couple to ensure that our relationship continue to be grow in our marriage. This also becomes a greater priority when our children are born, so that we do not sacrifice our couple time in the midst of taking care of our children.

From then onwards, we never regret our choices and we considered the choice to be the best we have made. Personally, the experience of raising my children is simply a wonderful one. From the moment I laid my eyes on them, and to see them growing progressively stronger over the months and years - I consider myself privileged to be part of all these moments. Imagine I was able to see them start their first crawl, walk the first step, and calling me “daddy”. Sometimes, even when I am just watching them engaging in their own play and learning activities, the joy I felt is already tremendous. I would sometimes reflect and say “Just see how much my children have growth!” At times when they invite me to join in their play activities, I could also felt an increasing establishment of my parent-child bond with them. As I watch them grow, one of the priorities that I will not compromise is to spend quality time with them no matter how busy or tired I am. I would also deliberately arrange one-to-one personal time with each child, so that I can ensure a personal bonding time based on the uniqueness of each of them. I will never imagine that having children is a chore or burden. In fact, my wife and I thank God every day in our life for choosing us to parent our children. The whole perspective of us chosen by God to parent our little ones simply changes the notion of us “being” no choice that they are our kids and we just have to bring them up no matter what cost us. From them, we learned what the true meaning of patience and love are about. In actual fact, the children helped me and my wife to develop an even deeper relationship with each other through the process of looking at each other’s strength, and helping with each other’s weaknesses. As with any couple, both my wife and I have our unique strengths and weaknesses. During the process of parenting, rather than focusing on each other’s weaknesses, we learn to share expectations of our roles and responsibilities and best see how we can use our strengths in our family. In areas that each of us are weak in, we learn not to blame each other, but to best see how we can help one another to grow and contribute to the family. Therefore, communication is an important part in our marriage, as we learn to converse deeper about our children and our parenting skills.

Whether you are at the first few years of the child’s life, or already in the teenage years of the child - I will never say it is too late to develop a bond with your child. After all, what is there to lose? The time and our effort that we can put in as parents is nothing compared to what we can stand to gain - a well-adjusted child and the establishment of a strong bond with them. While all of us want to do the job of parenting correctly from day one, most of us learnt from our mistakes we made along the way and grow in our knowledge and skills of good parenting skills. I believe we can all learn to recover lost ground with an enduring patience and an earnestness to set things right. So “Daddy, Daddy, can you play with me?” my immediate response? Let’s Play.

"When you look at your life, the greatest happiness is family happiness."
~Joyce Brothers


Article Contributed by
Willy Ho, Founder/Lead Counsellor at The Counselling Paradigm


Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Child and/or Adolescent Issues, Happiness, Parenting

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