Resilient families can come in all shapes and sizes.
For Families for Life (FFL) Council Member Mr Yuvan Mohan, growing up an only child in a single parent household does not mean that he and his mum are not a strong and resilient family.
“We had to overcome many hurdles at the start. There was plenty of communication, managing expectations, and a lot of growing up to do on my part as I had to start contributing early,” he shared. He became closer to his mother through doing simple routines, such as doing their marketing at Tekka Market, watching the TV together and being in the silent comfort of each other.
Grooming for marriage success
Outside of his bright career spanning tech, policy and finance in both the public and private sectors, Mr Yuvan is also an active community volunteer helping to develop youth leaders. He is the chairman of the Sinda Youth Club and is a Council Member for the National Youth Council too.
He will be tying the knot next year, and has already started preparing the right mindset for what marriage will bring. Through conversations with fellow FFL Council Members who are more experienced, Mr Yuvan learned that many senior couples are surprised by the adjustments they had to make after their children settled down.
“They told me that at first, they thought they would accept whatever their kids wanted. Along the way, they discovered that they had their own views and expectations of their married children,” explained Mr Yuvan. This insight has inspired Mr Yuvan to proactively engage his mother to find out her expectations once his future wife becomes part of their family and moves into their home.
Ultimately, resilient families are about the bonds and trust between family members especially during seasons of change. This is why Families for Life events are about inviting families to leave behind their problems for at least an hour and focus on bonding with each other in that moment.
Fostering family-friendly workplaces
Trust is also a key ingredient in the workplace if we want to encourage foster family-friendly work cultures. During his term with the FFL Council, Mr Yuvan hopes to engage corporates to shift their mindsets and help them realise that allowing flexible work arrangements will only make them more competitive in attracting top talents.
“For instance, what if you suddenly need to pick up your kid? You should be allowed to do that, and then you can continue your work when you get back home,” commented Mr Yuvan.
This should extend to caregiving for elderly parents too. With our ageing population and smaller family sizes, there are less people to share caregiving responsibilities with, creating a strain on couples in the “sandwich generation”. Our workplaces also need bosses who lead by example by taking paternity leave and parent care leave. This would send the message that doing so is not shameful or harmful to our careers, especially to ambitious young professionals who want to thrive not just at work but at home too.
Mr Yuvan also aspires for Families for Life and partners to make available more local literature and coaching resources on how Singaporeans can enjoy healthy marriages and build strong and resilient families. Much of online resources are written from foreign perspectives and may not fit our local context. Not everyone is blessed with parents they can approach for advice, so a community of like-minded people where young couples can turn to whenever they have concerns would be invaluable. Such networks could also provide support to other forms of family structures such as single parent families who are going through challenging situations.
“I see myself as a youth advocating for young parents and young professionals on how we can build a more positive family environment,” concluded Mr Yuvan. “We can’t escape the fast paced life in Singapore, and at the same time we still want to treasure our families.”