Meet Junia Tan, author of “The NAKED Parent”. She is a “Modern Asian Mother”, happily married and a proud mother of 5 amazing kids, aged 3 to 14 years. Besides being an author, she is also an entrepreneur, parenting coach and a motivational speaker. Junia shared her story with us, her parenting journey and about her new book, “The NAKED Parent”. Read on to find out more.
Exclusive Interview with Junia Tan, Author of “The NAKED Parent”
1. Please share with us more about your background? What made you decide to write the book “The NAKED Parent”?
Junia Tan: Friends have always asked me to share my parenting methods but I have never thought there was any structure to my unconventional parenting style and preferred to be private. Since covid locked us in and I could not run my workshops, I decided to organize my thoughts in blog stories and through reiterations, a book was birthed.
2. Can you share with us more about your new book and what can readers expect from the book?
Junia Tan: The Naked Parent starts with going on an inward journey of what it means to be a human being. Stripping away social identities connects us first with ourselves, the most importantly relationship. Out of that flows every other relationship – with our spouses, kids, relatives, colleagues and the world.
As parents, we automatically parent the way we were parented which may not serve this generation. Most of us were brought up by parents from the Industrialised age and in a short 50 years, we have transited to the Digital Age. Today, we need different skills to navigate through completely different challenges.
This book gives parenting principles instead of methods because every family is different. Yet, if we master the principles, we can apply them across various situations in a variety of methods.
3. How long did you take to work on the book and what are the challenges that you have encountered in writing and completing the book?
Junia Tan: I rewrote it 4 times… over 8 weeks? I was at it non-stop almost 9 hours daily and loving it! I enjoyed how my thoughts deepen and structure became clearer. It morphed from a simple book of ‘true stories’ to one that is peppered with exercises and quizzes because my desire is that it will transform the parenting experience into a delightful one.
4. How do you raise and cope with five kids? What’s your daily schedule like?
Junia Tan: I have fun! Truth is, while I love being a mum now, that was NOT how it used to be. I was a reactive, short-fused mum who loved my kids, but I doubt they got to experience my love. I barely had time for myself.
Now, with my “Time Master” course, I wake up just before 6am for my morning regime where I top myself up spiritually, physically and emotionally. By the time the kids wake up we connect for awhile before kissing 3 of them off as they go to school. In an hour, #4 goes to school and its work for 4hrs till lunch with my husband and 2 youngest ones.
After sending the youngest for his nap, I get to work for another 2 hours till the 3 older ones come home. On alternate weeks, we go out for one-on-one lunch dates till around 4pm. Otherwise, they’ll automatically complete their homework and then enjoy earned screen-time privileges till dinner at 6pm.
After dinner is time reserved for unwinding where we talk, relax or play games (on nights I do not have my show). I target to sleep by 10pm so I’m refreshed for the next day.
5. Can you share more about your weekly Live-shows?
Junia Tan: “Experts Expose!” was created to bring different experts onto 1 platform for the busy parent. Instead of having to source or not having time to look around at alternative solutions, parents can tune in every Tuesday at 9pm for powerful insights to apply.
“Mums’ Confessions..” is a segment of intimate topics to discuss where we openly share opinions on controversial or less talked about realities for MUMs. We discuss topics like cheating partners, lying to kids, and if we should divorce. In a society where we’ve been trained to only show the pretty sides, I wanted a safe space of non-judgement real talk for mature adults. We’re NOT about what’s right or wrong, but the realities of life. Truth is many mums go through struggles independently. We’re here to say “you don’t have to parent alone”. It takes a village to raise a child and we’ll love to be that support for you.
6. How do you transform from a ‘tiger mum’ to ‘eagle mum’ who is blissfully in love with your kids now?
Junia Tan: There is NO one secret pill. ‘Eagle mum’ is a term I coined to create 4 main points about the modern mother. We all love our kids, but often, we are NOT present to those intense feelings of deep affection. The pressures of doing well in school, reacting to expectations of ideal standards, and parenting from out-dated authority models meant I was mostly in the right, and they had to listen to me. That meant I got alot of my way, with superficial connections. I mean I thought they were deep then, but compared to the laughter we have at home now… home use to be a battlefield of tense, upset moments.
Today, I’m embracing and loving the variety each brings to the home. I have (and still do) consciously remind myself to see them as sovereign beings with independent wills, intellect, giftings and purposes in life. When I parent from the 2 other models of authority in chapter 4, we connect at deeper levels, beyond the parent-child relationship. While they still look to me for guidance, there is a freedom where I encourage them to think for themselves and fail! Because how else do we build resilience?
So making mistakes is one of many things I celebrate to reinvent their relationship with failure. I want my kids to grow up knowing that failing is part of growing such that they pick themselves up over and over and over again. Carol Dweck’s growth mindset is something I use to empower them so they have the freedom to fail (and that includes grades). While I had high expectations in the past, today, my kids are much, much more than their grades to me. They are my teachers too.
7. Any interesting stories that you would like to share about your five lovely kids?
Junia Tan: So many. #1 at 14 years spent happy hours writing her book during covid cos she connected that she wants to be an author. I mean so many of us don’t even know what we want to do as adults. My heart is to identify each kids’ purposes at a young age and guide them towards that. Today, digital millionaires and increasing entrepreneurs show that times have changed and there are a myriad more routes to success than the prescribed doctor/lawyer/engineer professions. So, if she wants to be an actress, I’ll support her interest.
#2 creatively fixed her own slippers when husband and I could not once when we were out at the zoo and it broke. I’m still amazed at her creativity and determination. I know its a result of constant encouragement at home to use their creativity and resourcefulness.
#3 is strong and knows what she wants. She’s the one who gets lost and ask why I went missing!!
One day, she decided she did not have enough money to buy her sister a gift and announced at dinner that she was going to have a sale. I thought it was ridiculous that she attempted to sell her sisters her old stuffs and quietly watched. I started laughing when her sisters gamely gathered around her ‘sale items’ and went back into their rooms to actually get money! She successfully sold some things to her own sisters and cousins when they came over! I am always amazed at their ideas and am humbled to remind myself to be quick to listen, slow to speak, lest I quell their fire with my adult resignation.
#4 is the friendly, emotional one who follows her sisters’ pretend play as a spy, princess or is their accomplice in pranks. Determined too, she once went to school topless because she was mad and trying to prove her point! Another time, she went with NO shoes! While most parents balk at the thought, I see them as lessons I’ve learnt. She did eventually wear her top just before reaching school while hiding in the pram.. my helper told me.
#5 was said to be abnormal while in my womb. After a good cry, I refused to accept what the gynea said and held onto the picture of a perfect baby. Every 2 weeks when I went for my checkup, I would hear the same sightings from the measurements of his large bones. He was too tiny.. “At best, he’ll come out a dwarf” I was told.
He’ll be turning 3 this year, and I never saw a more handsome, healthy boy. Parents, you don’t have to believe what the experts say. Miracles happen when you hold onto positive images in your head. After all, we are magnificent beings capable of creating life.
8. What’s your advice to someone who aspires to be an author like yourself?
Junia Tan: Create a framework. Get clear on your intention for the book. For me, it was to connect, inspire and transform the lives of my readers in any way. Collect the experiences you have been through. I always believe in Buckminister Fuller’s words “you will have fulfilled your life’s purpose if you allow others to take the highest advantage of your own experiences.”
Life is too short to live with regrets. If you have a desire, do it. Publish an e-book! It’s almost free!
9. As a mother, what do you think are the challenges of being parents of young children today? How do you handle the challenges?
Junia Tan: So many challenges.. One would be screen time. Kids are growing up in this digital age where information is just a click away. It’s so easy for the time-starved parent to shove the ipad/phone to the child to buy some quiet moments, yet.. how do we balance between active screen time and passive screen time?
Active time is where kids are actively using the internet to source or create something versus passively watching. There is a huge difference because one has the child be in control of the information while the other is potential feasting ground for an addiction.
Consistency is the key. My kids know their work is to be completed before even asking for their screen time which, they earn. So, I created a chart where they get to earn points for different things. Every child has a different action where they get to decide the number of points they want to earn. The points can then be exchanged for a variety of things like screen time. So, 10 points is 20mins. I love it because they are actually the ones who decide the length of their screen time according to what they are willing to be responsible for. The more responsible you choose to be, the more privileges you unlock for yourself. No whining, tantrums or bargaining…cos the structure sets us all up for success.
10. Lastly, what are you working on now and any projects coming up that you would like to share?
Junia Tan: I do have my Youtube channel Modern Asian Mother, which I intend to start uploading parenting tips again, so stay tuned. Even better, tell me what you want to watch through the comments.
The liveshows will continue, so please tune in at 9pm every Tuesday and Thursday on Modern Asian Mother’s FB live. Do contact us if you’re an expert or a candid mum who is comfortable sharing authentically. We’re open to collaborate.
The other project that used to be every Saturday is “Dare to Bare?” True stories to inspire.
So, if you’ve got a story, we would love to feature you because your mess could be your message, your scars, your stars and your test, a testimonial to someone today. I always believe well-intended words mean nothing to someone who is going through post-natal depression. But, from another mum who’s been through IVF, attempted suicide or lost a child, your success story will carries its weight in gold because of identification.
You’ve seen the light, now bring back that light for someone who is still in their dark tunnel. We all need encouragements as we journey through this adventure called life. Why not share yours?
Finally, stay tuned to our 1st Summit in October where we gather influential thought leaders on the 1st ever Mothers’ Summit.
Thank you Junia Tan for taking our interview!
All the above images credit to Junia Tan
To find out more about Junia Tan and to purchase her new book, “The NAKED Parent”, please visit her website at https://www.modernasianmother.com/