Some parents hashtag #blessed in all the social media posts concerning their little ones and describe each day as a day of wonderment.
But One FM 91.3 DJ Shan Wee doesn’t buy that.
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“That might be true for some people – that’s because your child has a very sweet personality. On the other hand, if you hear people talk about how difficult it is, that’s also true, because they probably have a child with a difficult personality,” says the 35-year-old, who has two sons, Ciaran, five, and Ruan, three.
“One of my philosophies now is that people and personalities don’t change. So, it’s best to not try and change your child, but accept him for who he is.”
Acceptance is one of the underlying themes behind Shan’s new parenting book, 99 Rules for New Dads, which humorously dishes out “dad-vice” on fatherhood from pregnancy until the preschooler years.
“I always wanted to write a book, and they say you should write about what you know, and that’s what I know right now – being a dad to these boys, every day,” he says.
The book took him six months to pen, and he partially credits his kids’ poor sleeping habits for the quick turnaround.
He explains: “My children are terrible at going to bed, so while I was working on the book at my study table – which is right outside their room – it made me stay there and write as long as it takes for them to fall asleep.”
While he gamely admits to as many parenting hits as misses in his book, Shan is thankful that his career affords him more time with his boys.
He is responsible for the first half of the day, when he drops Ciaran off at school, bonds with Ruan and sends him to school, before heading for his 4pm-to-8pm shift on The Escape Plan with Shan and Cheryl.
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His Indonesian wife, Artika Sulaiman, 35, who works as a wedding planner, manages the kids for the rest of the day.
Two, work really hard to get your child’s sleep culture right, “more so than anything else”.
Three, the philosophy that he shared at the start – personality stays from day one. “Accept that and don’t expect it to change”.
He adds in the book: “If you don’t accept your child’s personality, you are essentially condemning them to a life where the most important person in their eyes, their Dad, does not approve of them.
A life where their Dad does not like everything that they are. This is surely the biggest failing a father can inflict.”
He couldn’t have said it better.
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(Photos: Young Parents and Instagram/ShanWee)