Parents should make a conscious decision to spend time with their family: Families for Life Council

Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling said parents should be more intentional in spending time with their families, at the Singapore Parenting Congress on Sunday.
Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling said parents should be more intentional in spending time with their families, at the Singapore Parenting Congress on Sunday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Parents should make a conscious decision to spend time with their families, said Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling at the second day of the Singapore Parenting Congress on Sunday.

"We should make a personal decision today to be more intentional with our time," said Ms Low, adding that there is a difference between things that are urgent and things that are important.

"Let's start by doing at least one thing (each week) that is important to our family," she said to some 500 parents.

"When we set aside other pursuits to spend time with our loved ones, what we're really telling our loved ones in a very intentional way is that they are important to us."

This is also the new key message of the Families for Life Council, which begins a new two-year term from August. MSF reappointed the Council's chairman Ching Wei Hong, chief operating officer of OCBC Bank and there are four new members - Brigadier-General (NS) Ishak Ismail, Mr Jeff Cheong and media personalities Gurmit Singh and Lin Ruping.

Ms Low announced the appointments at the two-day parenting conference at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The event, with sessions in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, was attended by over 3,000 parents. For the first time, an engagement session for young people will also be held at Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Monday.

According to an FFL poll last year of 872 respondents here, seven in 10 people felt that spending time with their family gave them the most happiness, but only half were satisfied with the amount of quality family time they had.

Many seem to feel work gets in the way. Around six in 10 people aged 20 to 49 felt that their jobs keep them from spending as much time with their family as they would like, according to an MSF survey in 2013. The proportion has risen since 2009.

Taking time off technology could also improve the quality of family time, parents were told on Sunday by keynote speaker Jeff Yalden from the United States. "The more you're willing to listen, the more they'll want to tell you," he said.