• Dawn Zulueta: 'Kids Will Remember the Time We Spent With Them, Not Toys or Money'

    The actress shares how she is raising her two kids to understand discipline and be responsible
    by Allan Olga .
  • You can be a disciplinarian and still be a cool parent. At least that is how actress Dawn Zulueta describes herself and her husband, Congressman Anton Lagdameo of Davao del Norte, as parents to their kids Jacobo, 12, and Ayisha, 8. (By the way, Dawn and Anton celebrated 20 years of marriage yesterday, December 27.)

    Says the 48-year-old actress, “As parents, my husband and I try to [instill] discipline. Yet at the same time, [we make it a] life na it’s fun pa rin, it’s fun to grow together, di ba?” 

    Dawn, whom we spoke to during the press conference of her movie with Vic Sotto, Meant to Beh, adds she and Anton teach their kids about the more substantial things in life. “I think most importantly for us, it’s making time for the family, kasi more than money — buying them whatever they want [like] toys — it’s time spent together that will remain, that will become the most lasting memories for our children.”

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    She adds quality time need not be expensive, and it can happen at the comfort of one’s home. “We always try to create memories for our kids in every way that we can. It doesn’t always have to be going out of town. Sometimes, it’s just spending time at a home. Even a simple game of Monopoly, I am able to teach my daughter how to add and subtract, [and] the same time, some kind of business sense, so we have fun when we play together.” 

    With two kids at the cusp of the tween and teen stage, Dawn says she is becoming more of a disciplinarian. “Because the kids are growing and I’m really having to start to set boundaries already,” she explains. “Siguro dahil nasa bahay ako more often.

     

    “Pero the way I discipline, di talaga ako namamalo. That’s not ever been part of our disciplinary actions: [it’s] always ‘Sit in the corner,’ ‘Face the wall for five minutes and think about what you did.’” 

    She swears that the face-the-wall punishment works on her kids. Usually, after this punishment, Dawn has a heart-to-heart talk with her children. “It works because pag may ginagawang masama ang mga anak namin, pag sinabi ko pa lang, ‘Sit in the corner,’ kung umiyak akala mo sinampal ko. Sabi ko, ‘Bakit sila ganyan?’” she said good-naturedly. “Pero gano’n katindi para sa kanila ‘yon. So alam ko di ko na kailangan paluin dahil yung fact nga lang na I discipline or we are disciplining them, parang overwhelmed na sila do’n and mas effective if you just talk to them.”

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    As for raising responsible kids, Dawn says parents should make their children feel involved in family matters early on. “I think it helps when the parents instigate it, to let their children always feel like they’re really part of a unit, and that they’re contributing to the family, not just see parents as the breadwinners and the ones who are supporting them.” 

    She believes in instilling these values to kids at a young age, “kasi as they grow, they feel like they have a stake in it. So, it’s always a unit.”

    Dawn cites an example: “Like in our case, when it comes to Jacobo and Ayisha, we always tell them that, ‘You have a responsibility in this family, and your responsibility is to study hard and get good grades and make sure you finish schooling, go to college,’ and all that. ‘If you can just do that, then you’re really contributing to the family.’”

    The actress recognizes that her kids can imbibe the value more when it has a practical application in their daily lives. “When it comes to traveling, for example, ‘You carry your own [luggage], ‘cause I’m not going to carry your bag. So you better think about the things you’re gonna pack in your bag and make sure it’s light ‘cause I’m not carrying it for you.’

    “Yung mga little things like that, it’s giving your children always some kind of responsibility, so they grow up grounded.”

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