Forum: Hotline needed to give parents immediate help and guidance

I write in response to the letters by Forum contributors Yeow Beng Zhen and Tay Tze Siong (More needs to be done to help families struggling with stress; and Set up a hotline to support those facing parenting problems, both Jan 25).

As a fellow parent, a healthcare professional and a current counselling psychology student, I concur with the calls for more to be done for families struggling with stressors and for a dedicated hotline and safe space to be set up for parents to share their problems.

At last year's dialogue sessions on building a Singapore that is made for families, parents highlighted to government ministers the need for more holistic support for caregivers that goes beyond financial support, and for a one-stop portal for parents with children of different abilities.

Parenthood involves the unlearning of parenting methods which are outdated or ineffective, and the re-learning of new ways of coping with daily challenges at home and children's changing needs.

While a pre-schooler thrives on physical and verbal displays of affection, and a school-going pupil needs timely encouragement to master various competencies beyond the academics, a teenager may need tacit acceptance of his tears and expressions of angst.

There is an urgent need for a dedicated hotline to give parents and caregivers of minors access to immediate help and guidance.

There are several moments in a parent's or caregiver's daily life when all he needs is someone to validate how he feels as a breadwinner, homemaker or homeschooler. Someone who will listen with empathy, and someone who can point him to the available resources in the community and new possibilities at home.

Lim Hwee San

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