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Judy Ann, Ryan Agoncillo Reveal The 'Priceless' Way That Keeps Them Connected To Their Kids

Judy Ann turned nostalgic as she talked about it.
PHOTO BYInstagram/officialjuday, Cherrie Juan for Smart Parenting

Before Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo tied the knot on April 28, 2009 and became husband and wife, they were parents first.

That's because the actress, also called by the monicker Juday, took under her care a baby girl she's named Yohan in 2004, when she and Ryan, her leading man in the fantasy series Krystala, were just starting their courtship.

By the time Juday's petition to adopt Yohan was granted in 2008, Ryan was already treating the little girl like his own daughter. He then filed and eventually granted his own petition for Yohan to carry the Agoncillo surname (read here).

Today, Judy Ann and Ryan have, aside from Yohan, 18, two younger kids: Lucho, 12, and Luna, 7. The couple continue to discover facets of each other as parents and enjoy simple joys as a family.

Ryan and Judy Ann on parenting

"The parenting style doesn’t change," Ryan tells Smart Parenting in an exclusive interview at the recent launch of McDonald's Happy Readers campaign. "The goals do. The child does. They have different personalities.

"The values don’t change. The same values we teach. The emphasis lang is different for each child. They have different personalities, very different age groups…Pero grounded pa rin, the principles have to be consistent."

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PHOTO BY Cherrie Juan for Smart Parenting

Judy Ann, on the other hand, has this to say: "Siguro ang isa pang nag-evolve is, of course, with different age groups, communication. The way we talk to them as they get older. They’re very smart kids, eh."

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Ryan interjects, "Too smart." His wife agrees, "Napaisip ako, oo nga. They’re not hard to talk to. They easily understand things. Sa sobrang bilis nilang makaintindi ng bagay-bagay, kinukwestiyon ko na ang sarili ko minsan. Tama ba ako? Parang may kulang. Naintindihan naman nila. Gets naman nila. ‘Ah, okay, tama naman.’

Judy shares this one parenting rule she and Ryan abide by: "Meron kaming hindi dapat ma-break ang sinabi ng isa’t-isa. Kailangan aligned kami. Dapat walang mabali. Otherwise hindi mabubuo ang disiplina."

One discovery since becoming a parent

Ryan says there's "no such thing as a cool parent," and goes on explaining, "It’s about as rare as a unicorn. That’s one thing I discovered. The words cool and parent are at the opposite ends of the spectrum."

The actor/TV host/restaurateur elaborates on his point: "Growing up, ‘Oh, I want to be a cool parent.’ But no such thing. You hope you’re cool in your kid’s eyes. But once you get down to do the work needed to be a parent, trying to be cool takes a backseat."

One discovery on spouse as a parent

Ryan can't hide his admiration for Judy Ann: "She’s a pretty awesome mom. That’s my discovery. I still admire her energy and strength as a mom. Strength as a mom, I’m not only talking about physical exertion, and her light hand as a parent."

He turns playful before his wife can return his compliment, "Gandahan mo, ang ganda ng sinabi ko sa ’yo."

Judy Ann plays along, declaring, "Na-pressure nga ako." She goes on describing her husband as a parent, seriously now: "Si Ryan kasi has this way of explaining things to the kids. Things like, kung masyadong malayo ang tinatanong nila, sisikuhin ko na ’yan. ‘Ikaw na d’yan.’

"He knows how to explain the meaning of these words sa mga bata na hindi s’ya nagsa-sound na mahirap intindihin. Lalo na kung medyo sensitive na ’yung subject. He can talk to our kids on a personal matter. Parang magba-barkada lang sila, and he’s so cool doing that."

"Kaya niyang maging dad na nagiging cool s’ya. Kaya din n’yang pigilan ang sarili n’ya, lalo na pag... ‘Okay, sa bahay na lang natin ’to pag-usapan.’  The kids get him. Alam nila ’yun. Alam nila kung kelan sila kakausapin nang seryoso, kelan sila magbibiro."

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Isang post na ibinahagi ni Judy Ann Agoncillo (@officialjuday)

One activity the whole family enjoys

Judy Ann reveals their family enjoys playing a game called Tickle Monster. "Naghahabulan sila, ganyan. Kung sino ang mahuli ni Ry, kikilitiin n’ya," she says, using her husband's nickname.

Ryan notes that the game never loses its magic: "Binibili pa rin naman nila kahit malaki na."

Judy Ann nods in agreement, "Gustong-gusto ng kids, lahat kami. Pero ako, I just like watching them play. Kasi hanggang kailan pa ba mangyayari ’to? Ano sila, naka-let go sa lahat. Balik sila sa pagkabata, lalo si Yohan na dalagang-dalaga na. Si Lucho, halos kasing-laki n ani Ryan. Pero akala n’ya ganyan lang siya kaliit."

"I love watching those moments," she adds with undeniable joy. "‘Yan ang tunay na priceless. Hindi mo makukuha ’yan sa Timezone or arcade. Those memories na talaga I wish I had…"

Ryan picks up from the tickle game to tease his wife: "Lagi naman kitang kinikiliti…" Judy Ann laughs along: "Lagi mo naman akong kinikiliti…" But reminds him to stick to the "wholesome" topic.

The former child performer, who grew up to be a top TV-movie star and lately chef and restaurateur, then turns nostalgic as she remembers her own childhood: "May mga bagay na how I wish I experience that when I was younger, having a dad at home nang lumalaki ako…’Yun ang sinasabi ko na it’s beautiful to watch having seen my children grow up. With a father."

Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram

Isang post na ibinahagi ni Smart Parenting (@smartparenting)

Read here for more family bonding activities.

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