MANILA – A parenting expert gave an important piece of advice to all moms and dads, whether working, stay-at-home or single.
In an interview on the radio DZMM program “Sakto” on Wednesday, parenting expert Teresa Gumap-As Dumadag said the key to becoming close to one’s children is not through giving gifts or pampering, but by spending quality time with them.
The idea, she said, is to “deposit” time in a child’s “emotional bank” as early as possible. And working parents – even those who are based abroad – have no excuse, said Dumadag, citing advancements in technology such as online chat and video calls.
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“It’s a really big challenge kung malayo ka physically… Mabuti na lang, mayroon tayong technology to maintain that line of communication,” she said, adding, “Let’s make it a point to connect with them as often as possible. Hindi mapapalitan ang physical presence ng online presence. Pero kung ‘yan lang ang meron tayo, let’s still make time for them.”
To parents who are lucky enough to live with their children under the same roof, Dumadag advised scheduling some uninterrupted bonding time with the little ones, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
She said even those short moments, if done consistently, have a huge impact on a child’s relationship with his or her parents.
“Kahit ano pa ang trabaho ng mag-asawa, the decision to become a hands-on parent is really dependent on you, the parent. Malaking bagay kung magiging flexible ang oras mo, kung ikaw ang may control sa oras mo. Malaking tulong ‘yun. Pero at the end of the day, it’s up to you, eh. You make the choice, kasi ikaw ang magde-decide kung paano mo gagamitin ang oras mo,” she said.
“Kung gaano ka ka-committed na i-set aside ‘yung oras mo para sa anak mo, sa’yo ‘yun nakadepende,” she added. “Mas mabuti na mag-connect ka kahit for a few minutes with your children kaysa totally walang connection. Let’s be conscious na mag-deposit tayo sa kanilang emotional bank account, kahit araw-araw na consistent na nagbibigay tayo ng pansin sa kanila.”
Dumadag said an important aspect of quality time between parents is listening, noting that some children tend to turn to other people for guidance if they feel that their mother or father is ignoring them.
“Kailangan na maging open tayo, na maging matapang na pakinggan kung anuman ang pinagdadaanan nila. Otherwise, who will guide them? Kailangan lang nating iparamdam sa kanila na mahal natin sila, na we are there to listen even if we are busy,” she said.
“Para kapag medyo matanda na sila, medyo malakas ang influence natin sa kanila kaysa sa mga kabarkada,” she added. “Even if they’re getting older, we should continue to bond with them, talk with them, find out what’s going on in their lives. ‘Di porket malaki na sila eh ‘di na natin sila papansinin.”
Dumadag supports working parents who have tapped a relative or a house helper to look after their kids, but was quick to stress that they should still make time for their children despite their busy schedules.
“Mahirap siguraduhin na ‘yung mga bilin natin at saka ‘yung paraan ng pagbabantay o pag-aalaga sa bata na gusto natin ay nasusunod,” she said.