I have a two-year-old child. He is a handful, in fact I’m pretty sure 90 per cent of the time he’s being a jerk on purpose. You managed to bring up five kids, I only have one and am struggling to stay patient. How do you keep being the adult in these situations? Would love some tips.
Oh, being a parent is the hardest job on Earth! Motherhood is never easy and people always judge you. But I don’t think you son is being a “jerk”. He’s being himself – he’s only two! – and when they’re two, you can’t reason with them. They call them “terrible twos” because they’re really hard to discipline. When they’re three or four, then you can start.
My advice? Patience, patience and more patience. Luckily for me, Jenny Phang, I was born as a patient person. But sometimes my five children remind me, I’d also scream a lot. But most mothers scream! If you don’t scream, you’re not a normal mother. (Whoever says they never scream, they’re lying to your face.)
But sometimes my five children remind me, I’d also scream a lot. But most mothers scream!
When I had number one – Candy – I worked in a restaurant and I put her back in childcare. The most challenging one was number two – Andrew. He was everywhere and touching everything. Little children cannot be out of sight. You have to always know where they are and what they are up to. With Andrew, you have to close all the doors inside the house. Back then, in the 1970s, they didn’t have any childproof things. So you always have to keep your eye on him, even if you were shitting.
Which reminds me: I have a tip for when you’re shitting. For real! Seriously: you give them their favourite toy; read to them while you’re shitting; sing them a song. All parents will relate. Especially when they’re under five, you can’t have a decent shower. No decent shower, no decent shit.
You need endless patience. Otherwise you’ll kill your kids. You’ll literally kill them and you’ll end up in jail.
Benjamin was easy to look after – he was always on the sofa, I didn’t have to look for him. (He’s doing the same thing nowadays: binge-watching TV.) Same with Michelle, my youngest. But Tammy was more like Andrew: touching everything. She’d chau-yeh – rummage – through everything, so you have no time to tidy the house. So don’t worry if your house gets messy – the house can wait! The dishes can’t wait, but the house can wait.
So yes. You need endless patience. Otherwise you’ll kill your kids. You’ll literally kill them and you’ll end up in jail.
The Family Law episodes one and two air on Saturday, 12 January at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS VICELAND simultaneously. All six episodes will also be on SBS On Demand that night.
Seasons one and two of The Family Law will be available on SBS On Demand from Saturday, 29 December.