Not too long ago, entrepreneur Sha’arin Wong and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and actor Peter Davis took their sons Noah Ismail Wong, five, and Preston Davis, nine, on an exciting father-son trip to Singapore to spend some quality time together.
In Singapore, the father-son teams embarked on an adventure like no other. At the Singapore Zoo, both pairs learned to handle reptiles. At Resorts World Sentosa, they went snorkelling at Rainbow Reef. The next stop was Shark Encounter, where both Peter and Sha’arin swam with the apex predators as their sons cheered them on from the outside. Being water babies, both Preston and Noah enjoyed the Big Bucket Treehouse at Resorts World Sentosa immensely, especially going down the massive slides with their dads.
Peter and Sha’arin then defied gravity at iFLY, a simulated skydiving experience. Preston needed some coaxing but it wasn’t long before he was in the air like a pro. Only poor Noah was unable to experience iFLY as he was too young.
Then it was time for Skyline Luge, where the young ones conquered their fear of heights with the help of their dads. Their outdoor fun was capped off at the Southern Ridges with a cycling adventure on the 10-kilometre trail in the ridges.
Both dads were extremely pleased that they got to spend some quality time outdoors with their sons, especially in this digital age when playing outside is becoming quite rare.
The Importance of Playing Outdoors
For Sha’arin, spending time outdoors with his kids is important to build on the relationship and at the same time, have fun together and being on these adventures rides together with Noah really helped the both of them reconnect.
Peter, who is an outdoorsy person himself, concurs and adds that when kids play outdoors, it helps build their character. In Singapore for example, the Rainbow Reef at the Adventure Cove Water Park was a great adventure for Peter and Preston as Preston overcame his fear of the water, and with Peter’s encouragement he even went on the rides a second time!
“The human body is wired for like experiencing excitement, danger and fear can only be experienced outdoors. Playing outside is good for the senses, and it keeps children in shape,” Peter says.
“My wife Yasmin and I only allow 30 minutes of gadget time per day for our kids. Of course this is easier said than done so our tactic is to explain the consequences of too much gadget time,” says Sha’arin.
Then they distract him with books, toys or outdoor activities like swimming or football, which is Noah’s favourite sport
Followers of Peter on Instagram know that he is an avid runner and sometimes when he goes running, Preston joins him on his bicycle – this is a great way for father and son to spend some quality time while getting fit together. Sometimes Peter takes Preston in his car and they go on road trips exploring the great outdoors together.
Cool Dad or Disciplinarian Dad – Which Parenting Styles Did They Choose?
Sha’arin says his parenting style involves a lot of reasoning with his sons, especially Noah. For example, if Noah gets into the car and refuses to put on his seatbelt, Sha’arin will then show him a child-appropriate video of what happens when people don’t fasten their seatbelts.
Being an entrepreneur who runs his own business has allowed Sha’arin to spend more time and be more hands-on with his kids – he prepares breakfast for them, sends Noah to school and ferries him to and from his extra curricular activities every day.
While Sha’arin is more laid-back in his approach to parenting, Peter says he is more of a disciplinarian, a trait which he believes he picked up from his mum. He can be a strict father and like most parents, he reveals he sometimes gets frustrated when Preston does not listen to him. His tactic is to have a chat with Preston to let him know that he is unhappy with his behaviour. And this usually does the trick as Preston responds positively.
“Being a father is not easy and I learn something new every day. I still make mistakes even though I’ve been a father for nine years. But I learn from these mistakes and I know what not to do in the future,” Peter says.
Peter also advises parents to stay away from baby talk. “I speak to them like they’re adults. For example, I would say, ‘Eat your noodles because we have to leave shortly’. Explaining to them why they have to do something usually does the trick. Speaking up to the child gives him a sense of importance and he feels that he is being treated like a grownup by his parents. Plus it improves their vocabulary tremendously.”
Looking Forward to the Teenage Years?
Even though it’s still a long way away, Sha’arin doesn’t think he’ll ever be prepared to face the teenage years.
“I don’t expect my parenting style to change but I’m sure it’ll definitely evolve. I hope that the foundation that we’ve instilled in Noah will help ease him into his teenage years better,” Sha’arin says.
Sha’arin said his dad was a cool dad, which is where he believes he gets his laidback parenting style, but when there was something that his dad did not approve of, he could get very fierce. And this terrified Sha’arin when he was younger so he makes a conscious effort to steer away from being that way with his children.
As Sha’arin grew into his teenage years, he and his dad began to spend more time together. “Sometimes he would take me out for lunch or tea to talk about our lives and if dad was dissatisfied with something I had done, he would talk to me about it. I think this was a very effective technique as he treated me like an adult and this is what I intend to do when Noah enters his rebellious teenage years,” says Sha’arin.
What Life Lessons Would They like to Pass on to Their Sons?
“Life is short, so always be nice and respectful towards people. Have fun, do whatever you want, within a reasonable limit, of course,” says Sha’arin.
Peter echoes Sha’arin sentiments as he too always teaches Preston to be nice to people.
“When you react positively to people, they will respond positively to you. And vice versa.”
Advice to Dads this Father’s Day
To all fathers this Father’s Day, Sha’arin has one piece of advice: “Fatherhood, especially when the kids are young, might be tough but this difficult time will not last long. So instead of looking at it negatively, just enjoy this phase all you can.”
He adds that as parents sometimes it’s easy to forget to let children be their own person.
Peter says that a new father will face plenty of challenges but it’s a wonderful experience and he advises them to enjoy it while they can.
“Also, you have to be confident that you’re not going to accidentally kill your child. And please get your kids car seats!”
travel360.com would like to thank Singapore Tourism Board for making this article possible.
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