[This is a sponsored article with Allianz Malaysia.]
What drives our parents to do the things they did in raising us? If we could guess, it probably involves lots of love, plus some fears.
While our mums usually wear their hearts on their sleeves, many of us are likely in the dark when it comes to the vulnerable sides of our dads.
To change that, we struck up conversations with our dads recently to learn more about their greatest fears as a parent, as well as personal advice they would share with other parents, if any.
Since some of us were raised by single mums who had to take on the dual roles of acting as both mum and dad, we included their answers too.
1. Their children mixing with the wrong crowd
Mr Morgan, the 63-year-old dad of our intern, Joanna, shared that one of his greatest fears as a parent is that she would mix with the wrong group of friends.
Joanna’s mum echoed his fear, stating that she worried over whether Joanna and her siblings would be matured enough to make the right choices and decisions when it comes to mingling with their peers.
Our digital content executive, Zhareef, learnt from his mum (who wished to remain anonymous) that she worried about the same things because she believes one’s friends would affect their decisions and practices.
This worry apparently extends beyond their children’s childhoods, because as Claudia’s mum, 50-year-old Carrian, shared, she was concerned about her children working for a company that wasn’t the right match.
And her fear is not unfounded; she pointed out that Claudia had ended up working for a previous company with irresponsible employers who did not pay her on time, or provide a good working environment.
2. Eventually growing distant from their children
Our own chief technology officer, Bing Han, a 36-year-old dad of two young sons, shared that the fear of growing apart from his own children is something that will always be on the back of his mind.
“The simple reason behind that is I believe that there will always be a generation gap in terms of education, cultural, and technological advancements,” he said.
“That is why I would try to spend time to understand and connect with my kids to keep up with them.”
The mum of our senior writer, Joyce, also said that she was definitely afraid that her children would grow apart from her.
“I know when children have grown up, they have their own lives to lead. I’ll be proud of them when they become independent, have their own house/apartment, have a good career, and live well.”
She continued, “I do expect them to live on their own, but I also expect them to visit me regularly, or at least once a week. Call me regularly to chat. Be filial children, that’s all we ask [for].”
Janet too shared the same fear when it came Rikco since he’s her only child, so while he was studying overseas in the UK, she made sure they had daily calls.
3. Their children not forming a family of their own
For Carrian, she believes having grandchildren will ensure that her children will never be alone when she and her husband are no longer around.
Zhareef’s mum felt the same way, stating that she would be concerned if her children decided not to start their own families since “life without children will be boring”, as she put it.
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4. Their children growing up to be irresponsible and dependent on others
Joanna’s mum remains worried about her children’s independence, because she understands that she and her husband may not be there for the rest of their children’s lives to meet their needs.
For Zhareef’s mum, the worry of her children growing up to be dependent on her or others is amplified, considering how much effort she’s already invested into ensuring they grow up to be responsible adults.
5. Being unable to provide their children with a good education
Janet’s worry over Rikco’s education stemmed from the fact that she wanted him to study more, as well as study things that he actually liked.
But she acknowledged that they have always had issues with saving money, only having enough to just get by most times.
“Having an education insurance helped, but we only got it to pay out one-third of [Rikco’s] studies,” she added.
Dr Awangku, the 61-year-old dad of our managing editor, Sade, was mainly afraid that he would be unable to send her overseas.
After all, coming from an extensive academic background himself, he understood how crucial a quality education was.
Though he lacked the provisions and funds to send her overseas to study full time, he was able to compromise by sending her on a six-month university exchange programme in Melbourne.
6. Their children being too naive to navigate the real world
Carrian shared that she worries about Claudia and her sister’s public relations and social skills.
“To be specific, I worry that they are too naive to face the real world, especially when it comes to our Asian culture.”
She added, “This is because they went through Western education and have a Western mindset about things.”
Dr Awangku mentioned a similar concern, stating that he worried Sade wouldn’t have been able to get a holistic education, one that he described as going beyond getting straight A’s.
To him, a proper education meant that she would be able to experience different cultures, learn various mindsets, be street-smart, and more.
7. Their children not taking care of their health
Janet pointed out that Rikco likes to eat, which isn’t a negative in itself, but it’s worrying if he doesn’t lead an overall healthy life.
“I always nag him to exercise, but he never does,” she lamented.
Dr Awangku also has several health-related worries when it comes to Sade, mainly in terms of her staying free of diseases and taking care of her diet.
He worries that she’s taking her youth for granted by not eating good food and avoiding vitamins and supplements.
Whether she’s able to continue affording good food and vitamins is another concern too.
Take charge of things you can control
By having proper planning in various aspects, it’s possible to overcome some of the common fears our parents mentioned.
For example, when it comes to finances, Joyce’s dad said that it’s worth seeking out a good financial planning consultant and discussing your options.
In terms of health, having a medical plan will come in handy, particularly if you’re not a government pensioner with public healthcare privileges.
An example of a medical plan is HealthInsured by Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia which can reduce the impact of expensive medical bills at private hospitals.
Parents that sign up for HealthInsured can get comprehensive medical protection, no overall lifetime limit, and extensive cancer coverage.
This includes genomic testing for Plan 200 and above to detect cancer risks and rare cancer types, and access to the most up-to-date cancer treatments at private hospitals.
On top of that, there is the zero deductible plan that gives you the flexibility of choosing deductible levels of either RM5,000, RM 10,000 or RM30,000 for Plan 200 and above, whereas Plan 150 only comes with an RM300 deductible per disability.
This gives you the flexibility to utilise existing medical coverage provided by your employers or existing insurance plans for additional peace of mind.
HealthInsured also streamlines the tedious paperwork during the admission and discharging process at the hospital, which can take up to a few hours at times.
With the COVID-19 virus expected to lurk about for another one to three more years, parents can opt to get medical treatment at home too with Allianz Care@Home for Plan 200 and above.
They are also entitled to the International Second Medical Opinion service that gives patients access to top international doctors to provide treatment recommendations on medical issues.
Having said that, do keep in mind that those that signed up for the Plan 150 will not be eligible for genomic testing, flexible deductible option, and COVID-19 coverage.
Understandably though, not everything can be controlled or planned for.
For such issues, our parents agreed that taking it one step at a time and having a little faith can go a long way.
And as their children, there’s nothing more meaningful to them than us showing appreciation for their hard work and sacrifices by supporting them in their golden years and living our best, healthy lives too.
- Find out more about HealthInsured medical plans here.