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Raising Good Fathers of Children with Special Needs

I (Chee Meng) attended a talk-cum-dialogue session by Dr Daniel Fung at Faith Methodist Church on 7 March 2011. It was very informative and helpful.

He suggested 10 points on what the parents can do:

1. Focus on Moral Development

2. Take Care of Yourself and Your Spouse

– keep a healthy marriage

3. Focus on Strengths

– understand your child

4. Love Your Child Unconditionally

5. Have Realistic Expectations

6. There’s good and bad stress

– balance our expectations

7. Don’t Pamper Your Child

– should not give in all the time

8. Attend to Your Child’s Needs

9. Guide your Child

10. Discipline Your Child

– to increase desirable behaviours, use rewards

– to decrease undesirable behaviours, use punishment (not rewards)

– there’s a place for the use of the rod

• Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is
careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13.24

• disciplinary caning vs abusive caning – consider age, site, severity, method, purpose, preconditions

11. Have Balance in Your Life

I learnt that:

1. The pointers for fathers with typical children is the same as fathers with special needs children, especially in the area of discipline. Which means that the role of the father is the same (and of great importance) regardless of whether he has typical or special needs children.

2. It’s more constructive to focus on the child’s abilities rather than his disabilities.

3. A father can help his child fulfill his potential.

You can find out more about Dr Daniel Fung here Academic Profile of Dr Daniel Fung

P.S. Check out this article regarding fatherhood that Apple came across  What Robs Men of Courage?

Other Helpful Information

  1. Dad’s Ministry – Setting up a Support Group for Dads with Special Needs Kids
  • If you would like to consider meeting up with other Dads of Special Needs Kids for support and prayer, please email Kevin Brunk at kbrunk@apnaz.org
  • Kevin is a member of the Dads’ Ministry Committee
  1. SunJAM – G.E.M. (“God Enables Me”) Ministry for Special Needs Kids
  • Sundays, 10am at Lecture 3 of Anglo-Chinese Junior College(ACJC), 25 Dover Close East, Singapore 139745
  • The programme is led by a church staff and run by church members
  • Parents can attend the 10am Celebration Service at the adjacent ACJC Centre for Performing Arts
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The Blessing Box – March

To check out how the Blessing Box came about, read my post in The Blessing Box – January

* I thank God that I could spend time with my parents and the extended family as I celebrate my birthday. I also took some time off during my birthday to commune with God. He reminded me of His covenant. When I went to church on Sunday, my Pastor spoke on something related as well. I thank God that He spoke to me and gave me assurance of His love.

* The children ‘secretly’ made me a pretty birthday card. John even encouraged LA and gave her some help here and there so she could make a card for me too. Thank you children!!

* I was teaching Li-Ann how to wash her bowl and spoon after cleaning them with a paper towel. She learnt eagerly and was very ready to do the washing herself. I must say for a first timer, she did very well. Looks like this will be one chore that she’s ready to pick up now.

* I was preparing lunch when Rebecca told me that Li-Ann wore her (Rebecca) raincoat. Three out of the four buttons were buttoned up. I chided Rebecca for helping LA as I didn’t want LA to spoil the raincoat. Rebecca protested saying she didn’t button for LA. When I asked LA, she said she buttoned up herself. That was GREAT!!! I had her practise on a handmade top which my friend lent me some time back. I’m so thankful that LA could manage the medium sized buttons on the raincoat. She was able to unbutton too. Praise the Lord for another milestone achieved! I may change my mind about letting LA wear the raincoat some time…

* I thank God for helping CM put together the get together for our church. It was the first task he was given when he joined the committee. I thank God for his committee members who willingly agreed to help and for those who came for the food, fun and fellowship. I’m grateful that my whole CG made it and had an opportunity to mingle with the other church goers. I also had more time to catch up with some of them too.

* We have been teaching LA to say the Lord’s Prayer and to sing the Doxology in Mandarin and English. Seeing her increased interest in singing lately, I decided to make the practice more regular. Daddy usually gets a more spontaneous response from her (I told CM it’s his magic at work, and I really thank God for that). One morning, while she was sitting on the toilet bowl doing her big business, she started to sing the Doxology in Mandarin!! I was so so THRILLED!!!! I wanted to record it but unfortunately the washing machine was on. I pray that there will be a good time for me to do it.

* I was asked to share with a group of ladies how our family keep our focus on God. Throughout the whole week, I was considering many things to share and I couldn’t decide the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’. I’ve asked a few friends to pray for my preparation. Finally, when I sat down just the night before the sharing, God directed me to put it all together. Although I burnt a little midnight oil, I was so relieved at God’s guidance and direction. I was surprised at how everything came together so quickly and the flow was good. I pray that these moms will keep going to God’s Word to talk to Him and put Him first in their lives. Other things to thank God for:
– wonderful weather – cloudy but not too warm, even near noon time
– dads and helpers saw to the needs of the children so the mommies could take a one hour time out to sit at Jesus’ feet
– I got to know the mommies better and am encouraged by their sharing
– my children had a wonderful time of checking out nature and playing while LA sat and savoured the fresh corn one mommy brought
– while there were minor mishaps, all the children were safe

* EVERYONE fell ill except me. I thank God for upholding me and teaching me to serve with joy and humility when I had to do almost everything for one and a half days. More details of my learning points can be  found here Mother God.Mother Me

* I’ve asked the piano teacher to try teaching LA. Do pray for her to build a good rapport with LA. LA has been going slow. The teacher got baby Carol (LA’s doll) to play on the piano and then asked LA to do the same (thinking she may be more motivated). LA said,”Her hands are too short.” And she was already sitting very close to the keyboard! Trust LA to come up with such excuses. So clever of her to wiggle her way out! When the sticker the teacher gave to baby Carol dropped on the floor, she told the teacher,”Baby Carol didn’t want the sticker.” Is LA envious? Perhaps…coz she didn’t get a sticker.

* I’ve had better luck with getting her to try playing on the piano. I got her to imitate me – playing ‘doh’ twice, ‘re’ twice etc. First right hand then left hand. She managed!! Then I tried telling her to play ‘doh’ followed by ‘re’ and she did it too! She tried ‘doh’, ‘re’, ‘mi’ too. It was so exciting to see her being able to do it – at least she’s able to try to isolate her fingers to play. Her chubby fingers looked very cute on the keyboard 🙂

*We had fun during the World Down Syndrome Day 2011. The Walk was good exercise – LA walked the whole way too. Lunch was sumptuous. We had ice-cream and nachos. LA took some pretty good shots too.  Check it out here My Photos – World Down Syndrome Day 2011The highlight of the day was the pony ride. LA LOVED it!! She asked to go a second time but we didn’t have anymore tickets. One friend, whose girl were too scared to go, gave us her ticket. We were so grateful!! And LA got her wish.