By Mr Timothy Lee
I recall telling myself the day before my eldest was born that my life would never be the same again. What I could not have seen then was that my life was to be different again and again. My family kept growing, and now I am a proud father of three children, aged eleven, nine, and five.
Parenting challenges never seem to end, however. I’ve enjoyed raising my eldest son for the past eleven years. It seemed like yesterday when he was a newborn, crying every night to be fed. I also fondly remember the first day of sending him to kindergarten, and then to primary school.
But he and his sister are tweens now. I noticed some behavioural changes in them. They are temperamental; they want to be more independent and connect with friends over social media. I understand these changes because I experienced them during my teenage years. But I also feel that they are facing a different set of challenges today. At times, I feel inadequate. How do I relate to the difficulties that they may face? After all, it’s my first time being a parent of tweens.
Last year, I attended the Parenting Teenagers Course. The course videos and topical sharing explained the common issues teenagers face, preparing me for the challenges I would face too. There were also group discussions during the sessions, and it is through these discussions that I realized that other parents also face the same uncertainties that I did. Overall, I found the course to be a rewarding experience. Not only did I learn more about my children, I also got to meet other parents. And we continued to connect even after the course ended.
This year, the Parenting Teenagers Course will be held in person (better for interaction) on Saturday afternoons starting from 6 August for five sessions. This course is for parents, step-parents, prospective parents or carers of teenagers aged 11-18 years old. Through this course, you will learn some practical ways to help guide your children through this challenging period by teaching them how to understand and control their feelings and actions. There will also be topical issues that experienced parents or facilitators will share. As with the previous course, there will be small group exercises and discussions with other parents. I highly encourage parents, especially parents of young primary-five tweens, to sign up for this course. You may click here to sign up.
On this note, I am also excited to announce that we will be running The Marriage Enrichment Retreat this year! This will be a 2D/1N event, taking place from 23-24 October, at Changi Cove.
The retreat will be based on The Art of Marriage by Cru, which include video presentation, discussion, and couple’s projects. It will be facilitated by Patrick and Estella Low, parents of three and longtime members of our church.
The retreat is a fantastic opportunity since we have not been able to run a marriage retreat for the past two years due to the pandemic. As you are aware too, the pandemic has also put marriages under significant pressure, whether through financial hardships, the lack of privacy, health concerns, or other stressors. Take this opportunity to disconnect from everyday responsibilities to reconnect and renew your love with your spouse. If you have child(ren), it would be great if you could arrange for your parents, in-laws, or caregiver to take care of them for one night so that both of you could enjoy this getaway. You may click here to sign up.